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Midtown 'Rite-of-Passage' has Succumbed to Development

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A Midtown mecca for drunkards, cheapskates and anyone else with late-night munchies has succumbed to the neighborhood's unyielding wave of development. The Midtown Checkers on Spring Street, a popular fast-food destination for years, has closed in recent days, several devoted (and devastated) patrons report. Indeed, calls to the Midtown Checkers went unanswered this morning, and the location no longer appears on the company's online store locator. The closure doesn't come as a surprise, as the 24-hour drive-thru has been bulldozer bait since The Hanover Co. announced plans last year for a six-story, 332-unit apartment building on the site. The Houston-based builder filed for permits last month to move forward with demolition. In memoriam, we're left to contemplate the legacy of a suburban-style, urban eatery that meant so much to so many.

For all the loyalty Midtown Checkers inspired, especially among club-going revelers, its 2.5-star Yelp rating suggests it wasn't universally adored. While one Yelper called it a rite-of-passage for Midtown life, others lambaste the uneven food quality and the service as being chronically slow. One patron went so far as to photograph a pile of vomit — and to blame it on the restaurant's two-for-$2 spicy chicken sandwiches. Scenes like that never seemed to stop people from making out on the concrete picnic tables outside Checkers, the ones with the quintessential, plastic umbrellas. Love it or hate it, Midtown Checkers didn't fit the mold of what this section of Atlanta so desperately wants to become: a walkable, cosmopolitan sponge for disposable income.

Instead of Big Bufords and Spicy Chicken Cheezer sandwiches, expect 14,000 square feet of retail to face 10th Street when the mixed-use community opens. It's a safe bet Checkers won't be occupying any of that space.