After 24 years serving Atlanta, the Brickery has closed.

In its final hours, the Sandy Springs restaurant that was opened by Bruce and Sally Alterman in 1992 was visited by an influx of mourning patrons who braved the rain to have one final taste of the Brickery’s comforting food.

“We expected to sell an awful lot of fried chicken and Caesar burgers to people who were coming in for their last fix,” Bruce Alterman said. “What we didn’t anticipate was the degree to which this restaurant has been important to them. When you feed a community for 24 years, you become part of their lives.”

Maxine Perlman (right), Sheri Libby (center) and Roberta Sirzyk (left) enjoyed one final lunch together at the Brickery Dec. 23

Maxine Perlman (right), Sheri Libby (center) and Roberta Sirzyk enjoy one final lunch together at the Brickery on Dec. 23

The shopping center at Roswell and Hilderbrand roads that houses the restaurant is being torn down to make room for a multiuse development in Sandy Springs’ downtown overhaul. Rather than search for a new location, the Altermans decided to close.

The restaurant’s catering operation, which under Sally Alterman’s leadership has long served the High Holiday, simcha and shiva needs of nonkosher members of the Jewish community, has also ceased operation.

And so it was fitting that in the Brickery’s final hours, patrons visited to eat a shiva meal inside the very place that has provided comfort in times of mourning for countless members of the Jewish community.

“I’m going to miss it something terrible,” said Maxine Perlman, who ate lunch at the Brickery with friends Sheri Libby and Roberta Sirzyk on the establishment’s final day. “I’ve been here probably three times in the past week to have all of our favorites. Everyone is wondering where they’re going to go.”

Equipment and furniture from the iconic restaurant will be auctioned off Jan. 5, putting a final stamp on the Brickery’s 2½-decade run.

For now, the Altermans, who are both 65, have decided to retire. There are no plans for another project, just family time and some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

“Sally and I have six grandchildren,” Bruce Alterman said. “We have a lot of hobbies, and I like my wife. We’re going to go invent the next chapter. When and if the circumstances present themselves, we are just wide open to anything that may make sense, but I don’t know what that may be.”

Now that the Brickery has closed, the Altermans have an opportunity to add an exclamation point to their legacy. The day after announcing its closing, the Brickery learned that its iconic Caesar burger was voted best burger in Atlanta as part of a nationwide contest run by Hellmann’s and Best Foods mayonnaise. Despite losing its home, the burger will compete for top national honors at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February in Miami.

“We’re going to be a burger without a home,” Bruce Alterman said. “It’s a riot.”

Photos by David R. Cohen