The Spence, the Midtown restaurant that celebrity chef Richard Blais opened in 2012, closed its doors for good over the weekend. The final day of service was Saturday, a representative for Concentrics Restaurants, The Spence's parent company, confirmed.
"The Spence proved to be an exciting concept just as we had hoped," Concentrics founder Bob Amick said in a statement provided to Eater Atlanta. "We weren't actively looking for buyers, but when we were approached the deal made a lot of sense. We are not at liberty to discuss who the buyers are at this time as it's still confidential.
"However, we wish the new owners all the best as we look toward focusing on three new Atlanta concepts (Nexto and two hotel properties with details to be announced soon) as well as several concepts across the country opening in 2016 to 2018."
Further information on the "hotel properties" Amick mentioned was not immediately available. Chef Mihoko Obunai is partnering with Concentrics to open Nexto in Old Fourth Ward at 822 Ralph McGill Blvd. NE. The ramen shop is currently on track to begin service in August.
A couple of years after moving to San Diego and significantly reducing his role at the restaurant, Blais officially vacated The Spence's executive chef position in March 2015. The Top Chef lifer and Atlanta expat was replaced by Wesley True, who spent just three months in the kitchen before Concentrics decided to part ways: "We were huge fans and very supportive of Wesley from day one but, unfortunately, we did not get the same in return." True was quickly hired as executive chef at The Optimist, and he appeared on Season 13 of Top Chef.
The space at 75 Fifth St. NW could soon be occupied by some more names well known to the Atlanta restaurant scene. A tipster with an ear to the ground tells Eater Atlanta the owners of The General Muir and West Egg Cafe may be eying it to open second outposts for Fred's Meat & Bread and Yalla, their Krog Street Market stalls. Partner Jennifer Johnson confirmed the idea of expanding Fred's and Yalla with joint locations is being considered, but said "there's nothing concrete worth sharing right now."