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Omnivore - One of the city's best to close

After 10 years in business

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I ran into the owner of one of the best mid-priced restaurants in the city yesterday and got the mind-boggling news that he is closing after more than a decade in business. He has already accepted a real job elsewhere.

I promised not to reveal the restaurant's name at this time. The closing won't take place for a few months and will be formally announced later this month.

Why the closing? It's the economy, of course. "It's so hard to make a living in this business now," he said, "that you can end up hating it."

In order to bring in diners, he said, restaurants have to offer half-price coupons, special menus and other incentives. "Meanwhile," he said, "Clark Howard is on the radio saying, 'Sure you can still go to your favorite restaurant. Just order one entree and split it.'" Another common practice: skip an appetizer and fill up on free bread.

Atlanta's fine-dining scene has all but disappeared. I hope we're not going to be seeing more of the same among second-tier restaurants while the hamburger and hot dog continue their Godzilla-like takeover of the landscape.