A year and a half after opening Lusca in Brookwood Hills, chefs Angus Brown and Nhan Le are planning to shut its doors and move on. The duo will open a 40-seat, walk-in-only restaurant called Ama in the Paris on Ponce space, reports Atlanta Magazine, and then convert the Lusca building into a catering facility.
Lusca has been a hit since it opened in April 2014. It was a 2015 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, and GQ critic Alan Richman named it to his list of 25 outstanding restaurants for 2015. Shortly after the restaurant opened, Brown told Eater Atlanta he and Le, who gained their local notoriety at late-night East Atlanta eatery Octopus Bar, wanted to change the way diners in Brookwood Hills and Buckhead though about food.
"I think a lot of restaurants in Atlanta are like that, where you get one certain crowd, especially here in this neighborhood, Buckhead, at some of these restaurants across the street. We want to have the kind of place where everybody's there," Brown said in May 2014. "We see everybody here, and it's not just the people in this neighborhood, and that was important to us. When we came over here, that was something that we wanted, something we were definitely hoping would happen."
However, in his interview with Atlanta Brown hinted the goal of drawing diners from across the city was more difficult than anticipated: "We had really hoped that going over there [in Brookwood Hills], that we'd change a lot of things. We had hoped that we'd have people coming from other parts of town, and we're seeing that people are still stuck in their neighborhoods."
Ama, which will focus on wood-grilled seafood, is reportedly on track to open as early as January 2016 at 716 Ponce de Leon Place NE. The name Ama apparently is a reference to pearl divers, which sticks with Brown and Le's nautical theme.