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Dante's Closes Doors after 43 Years: No More Jazz, No More Crocodiles

The iconic restaurant, Dante's Down the Hatch, has closed after 43 years.

Dante's Down the Hatch closed its doors July 30.
Dante's Down the Hatch closed its doors July 30.
There were, no doubt, crocodile-sized tears cried on Tuesday night as one world-famous Buckhead landmark closed its doors for good.

Dante's Down the Hatch, a restaurant in the heart of Buckhead known for its jazz, live crocodiles and beloved charismatic owner, closed to the public on Tuesday night after 43 years of business in Atlanta.

Customers said their goodbyes and celebrated the magic created by Dante Stephensen one last time.

The restaurant is closing to make way for a 10-story apartment high-rise building. Stephensen said he decided to sell the restaurant's property because he was facing rising property taxes on one of the city's most valuable pieces of property.

Atlantic Realty Partners, Inc., which sits directly in front of the restaurant on Peachtree Road, formed a joint venture with Behringer Harvard, a real estate company out of suburban Dallas, TX. The companies acquired the 2.2-acre site for $8.8 million.

Stephensen told Buckhead Patch he may reopen the restaurant in another location.
Vesta Smith July 31, 2013 at 02:00 PM
So sad, but I do hope he opens it in another location bigger and better!
HamBurger July 31, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Ms. Vesta, that is it, it is all over tonight. And, unfortunately, there will not be another. Thank you Dante, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and conversations through the years. Please pass the yellow mustard!

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