Chef Layla Walk and beverage director Cole Younger Just are parting ways with Last Word. The duo had been taking "some much-needed time off," but Just says he and Walk "have returned and are officially on the market."
In a phone conversation with Eater Atlanta, Just said he and Walk are leaving on good terms, and they both wish Last Word the best going forward. He indicated uncertainty surrounding the restaurant gave the duo some motivation to move on. Walk and Just are looking for new jobs in executive chef and beverage director positions, respectively.
"We just want to take what we've learned from Last Word and keep going on our paths," Just said.
For the last few weeks, Last Word has transformed into the home of chef Andy Tran's Ramen Crush pop-up. When owner Bernard Moussa announced the move in February, he told Eater Atlanta he wasn't planning to close, but was "considering lots of options" for the restaurant's future beyond the pop-up. "As with any business you have to adjust. It's a tough business, and you have to always be creative and adjust to things." Ramen Crush is scheduled to end its run at Last Word next week.
Just had served as beverage director at Last Word since it opened in November 2014. Walk joined the restaurant when she took over the kitchen from former co-executive chefs Eddie Russell and Matt Palmerlee in April 2015.
Once chefs Angus Brown and Nhan Le, who worked with Tran at the recently shuttered Lusca, open their forthcoming coffee shop 8 Arm this spring, Ramen Crush will serve dinner out of that space on an indefinite basis. Brown and Le will serve breakfast and lunch fare during the day. They're also working on Ama, a small grilled seafood restaurant that should open adjacent to 8 Arm this summer.
Eater Atlanta has reached out to Moussa for more information on Last Word's future.