Cook-Out is quickly expanding across the metro area, with a third location planned on a high-traffic strip of Washington Road near Interstate 20.
The parcel at 2910 Washington Road in Augusta is under contract to the fast-food restaurant. The North Carolina-based chain opened its first Augusta location in summer 2013 on Walton Way, followed by a second location in late 2013 on Jimmie Dyess Parkway. The Cook-Out corporate office said the third site should open “sometime after December.”
Most recently home to Crazy Turks Pizza Bar & Grill, the 3,500-square-foot building on Washington Road has housed several other restaurants in the past two decades, including Hardee’s, Fazoli’s and a daiquiri bar and grill.
This impending transition doesn’t appear to be a smooth one, though.
Crazy Turks owner Meisam Shodja, who operated his Italian restaurant in the space since 2011, is facing eviction for not paying rent to longtime property owners B.N. Kuppuswamy, of Washington, Ga., and local businessman T.R. Reddy. The notice has not yet been received or filed in Richmond County Magistrate Court, a court employee said Friday.
Shodja closed the restaurant Sunday and is in the process of clearing out the building, but he said he plans to appeal the eviction, which will likely prolong the real estate transaction.
Shodja said he’s put nearly $120,000 in renovations into the building, such as installing ceramic tile indoors and adding an outdoor patio, and wants compensation for his work.
“I’m just going to drag it out as long as I can because he should reimburse me for part of the remodeling I did,” said Shodja, who added that there are still two years on his lease. “All I’m asking is for him to reimburse me for part of my remodeling, which actually increased the value of his building.”
Shodja, who was notified four months ago of the pending sale to Cook-Out, admitted he withheld three months’ rent. In lieu of making the $5,500 monthly payment, Shodja said he asked Reddy to keep his $10,000 security deposit instead.
Shodja said he believes he’s being forced out of the property so it can be sold.
According to Reddy, Shodja had been behind on rent several times dating back to when he opened the restaurant in 2011. Reddy said he had no other choice than to issue the eviction.
Reddy said he offered to renovate another building on Wrightsboro Road for Shodja to move into, but he declined.
Crazy Turks will reopen in Augusta’s medical district, said Shodja, who is selling the restaurant rights. The restaurant will go into the old WifeSaver building at 15th Street and Laney-Walker Boulevard and should be open within the next two months.