Cameli's Pizza Will Close Its Ponce de Leon Location in Late April 2017 After 20+ Years
Monday, March 20th, 2017
The original Cameli's Pizza location at 699 Ponce de Leon Ave, founded by brothers George and Joe Cameli in 1996, will close its doors at the end of April. After 21 long, eventful years, the landlord of the property, DEL Development, has refused to offer any concessions, insisting on a "market value" extension of the lease. The redevelopment of the Kroger on Ponce has made the parking situation unbearable and sales have declined sharply since construction began just after the Kroger on Ponce closed for business on October 29, 2016. The development has also taken away the Beltline access to the businesses at Ford Factory Square. Neither the developer, New City Development (aptly named), nor the landlord has ever offered Cameli's any information regarding the project or offered any concessions for the obvious disruption of business. Although Cameli's has the right to extend its lease for another 5-year term, doing so would be unsustainable considering the condition of the property and the negative impact the redevelopment has had on the business.
According to owner and long time in-town resident, George Cameli, "it's a bit of a kick to the gut to be pushed out of our place in Ponce's history. Twenty-one years ago we fell in love with this kooky part of Atlanta. We felt at home on Ponce, even the crazy characters we often are entertained with. We truly enjoy the people of this area who have grown up with Cameli's Pizza and have shared their lives with us. I hope that we will continue to be a part of the lives of our incredible customers." Keeping a sense of humor about it, he continues "I'll miss those weirdos on Ponce but at least I still have the local weirdos at our L5P location to make us feel at home."
George is hopeful. "There is a future for Cameli's Pizza. We will maintain our location in Little Five Points at 337 Moreland Avenue which opened in 2012. This location has plenty of its own parking, ample seating to accommodate our transplanted Ponce customers, and a killer rooftop bar and patio that offers spectacular sunsets and a skyline view of downtown. And of course, the same menu our customers enjoy."