The owners of Wright’s Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe in Dunwoody announced Feb. 12 the restaurant had immediately closed, shocking a community where the restaurant had been an institution for more than 30 years.

Matt Wright, manager and member of the family that owns the restaurant, posted a farewell message on Facebook, but did not explain the reason for the abrupt closure. The landlord of the restaurant’s location at Shops of Dunwoody at 5482 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road said he was surprised by the announcement, but later said Wright told him declining sales led to the decision.

A simple “closed” sign was posted to the family-owned restaurant’s door. No one answered calls made to the restaurant. An email was not immediately answered.

The announcement of the closure was made public by Wright at about noon Feb. 12 with a post to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Matt Wright, left, with his father, John Wright. (File)

“I will miss this place, but the memories I’ll take with me will be about the people… It’s always the people! The relationships with customers, vendors, employees, family….we were and are truly blessed. So many of you ‘customers’ are family and always will be. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of these great years, we love and appreciate you all,” Wright said in the post.

Michael Lowery of Brand Properties, the leasing agent for Shops of Dunwoody, said he did not know why the restaurant closed. “I did not have any information about that,” he said, and directed calls to the executive office.

Scott Meadows, president of Brand Properties, which leases Shops of Dunwoody, was also surprised when he learned of the closure from the Reporter.

“I was there a month ago and did not know,” Meadows said. In a later interview, he said Wright told him that sales at the restaurant had been “declining for awhile.”

“They made the quick decision to close,” he said. “We hate to see them go. They’ve been a tremendous asset to the city and to our center for a long, long time.”

Amanda Scoles, owner of Under the Pecan Tree in the Shops of Dunwoody and a neighbor of Wright’s, said she was sad to see them go.

“I don’t know anything,” she said. “We miss them!”

Matt Wright’s father, John Wright, opened the restaurant in 1984 on Jett Ferry Road before relocating it to the Shops of Dunwoody in 1988. For more than 30 years, the restaurant had been an institution in Dunwoody, where locals packed the small indoor dining area and the spacious patio to eat one of the many signature sandwiches, such as the vegetarian Glenda’s Garden with alfalfa sprouts and avocado, or the Rebel Reuben, a turkey sandwich on pumpernickel bread.

In a 2015 interview, Matt Wright said the privilege to serve longtime regulars and Dunwoody families at “an old Dunwoody place” was a point of pride.

“When we started doing this, there weren’t many lunch places [in Dunwoody]. None of the chain folks,” Matt Wright said. “We were one of the few places. We’ll have people who will eat here this week that have been eating here 30 years. It’s pretty neat.”

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.