ATLANTA - An iconic restaurant in Buckhead has shut its doors for good after serving the community for more than six decades.
Large crowds gathered outside the Zesto on Piedmont Road Sunday for one final goodbye.
Owners Jimbo and Leigh Ann Livaditis say the property was sold to an undisclosed buyer after they faced some difficulties staying open - including the ongoing labor shortage.
"I've been eating at Zesto since 1959 since it was down there where the gas station is now," longtime customer Winstone Elston said. "Their foot-longs made me who I am today."
This closure follows another closure of the Atlanta fast-food chain last December. In that situation, the Zesto on Moreland Avenue in Little Five Points closed for good after temporarily closing earlier that year when a large tree fell onto the restaurant.
"We've been here the longest of anybody continuously running, so I think everyone just wants to get one last taste of nostalgia," owner Jimbo Livaditis said on Sunday.
Zesto started in 1945 as a subsidiary of the Taylor Freezer Corporation in Illinois. Named after the company's "Zest-O-Mat" soft serve machines, John Livaditis opened the chain's first Atlanta location on Peachtree Road in 1949 and expanded the menu to include hamburgers - including its famous Double Decker.
The owners say the Zesto locations on United Avenue, in Forest Park and a franchise in Tyrone will remain open.