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Lights Go Dark for Little Café-Paris

Ormwood Park café closes suddenly with no notice, employees unpaid

Perhaps that particular location is cursed.

Maybe it was ill timing of opening up a small business in a not-so-great economy, or perhaps a little of both.

Whatever the reason or reasons, Little Café-Paris, which opened in December in the Ormewood Square retail center, is now closed.

Employees who worked yesterday, had no idea, finding the café gutted of equipment and furniture when they arrived to work Wednesday morning.

"Goodmorning fans," read a posting on the eatery's Facebook fan page Wednesday.

"I arrived at work this morning, ready to work and make coffee.... and apparently, Samira, the owner, who arrived yesterday, came in the middle of the night, cleaned out the place, left employees unpaid and without any notice. It's been a pleasure serving you all."

Samira Messaoud, the Belgian-born executive chef who opened the French-themed coffeehouse could not be immediately reached for comment.

In a December interview with EastAtlantaPatch.com, she said opening a café had been a long-held dream. She decided to open the business when she spotted the site early last year while on vacation in Atlanta, visiting a friend.

"I wanted a change, and to do something different. It was like a dream for me to open a business," Messaoud said at the time of her decision to relocate to Atlanta. "I thought I could bring my knowledge and cooking creativity here."

When it opened, Little Café-Paris was well-received by Ormewood Park and East Atlanta Village residents who raved about its crêpes, coffees and sandwiches.

But its closure marks the third coffee-themed concept in that spot to open only to go bust in the last five years.

The café replaced the former Hot Spot, which closed earlier in 2010.

The Hot Spot, which closed not too long after an armed robbery, replaced the e2 Coffehouse, which relocated to Ormewood Square in 2005 from Decatur's Oakhurst neighborhood after a fire destroyed the strip center it was in.

Ormewood Square, home to the Spoon and Little Azio restaurants, Helmet hair salon and ABS gym, among others, is prominently visible at the corner of Moreland and Ormewood avenues.

But space the café called home is further down Ormewood Avenue and not in the line of sight of motorists zipping up and down Moreland Avenue.

Many motorists hankering for java would pull into the more visible McDonald's further down Moreland.

What's more, the marquee listing all the shops in Ormewood Square, still had the Hot Spot's sign hanging up.

Morieka V. Johnson April 06, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Wow. Very sad. She created a great space. I feel bad for the employees. They were always very friendly.
Marcia Killingsworth April 06, 2011 at 09:38 PM
I think it's a disgrace. The staff were wonderful always cheerful and efficient. And the food and drinks always prepared beautifully. To see them treated this way breaks my heart.
Ed Schneider April 06, 2011 at 10:31 PM
For the record, E2 Coffeehouse did very well in that space. The owners of E2 sold the business to new owners, who remodeled and changed the name to the "Hot Spot". They, unfortunately, were unsuccessful. I do wish E2 Coffeehouse would reopen because they seemed to have the formula to make it work! From what I hear, both unsuccessful ventures in that space were because of first-timers in their business.
Calray April 07, 2011 at 01:29 AM
I think maybe it should not be a coffee shop next time... great article though thanks for reporting on this!
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 07, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Thanks for those details, Ed.
Marcia Killingsworth April 07, 2011 at 10:05 PM
I never understood how E2 could stay in business. The service was lousy and the staff always surly... even to regular customers who tipped! I was thrilled when they closed and had great hopes for The Hot Spot,which didn't work out AT ALL, and then Little Cafe Paris, which -- from a food, drinks and service POV -- was wonderful.
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 07, 2011 at 10:43 PM
Hey, Marcia: Did you see today's story? Apparently the owner had a waffle business at Lenox Square that closed this week, too.
Mark Tinker April 08, 2011 at 05:10 PM
E2, Brew-te?
Péralte Paul (Editor) April 08, 2011 at 05:19 PM
That's too clever!

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