French American Brasserie or F.A.B., located on Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard in downtown Atlanta, closed last night, Saturday December 17th. Oddly, the reason provided was so that owners Fabrice Vergez and Cindy Brown could focus on their new restaurant, F&B, set to open next spring at the new Ritz-Carlton residences in Buckhead. This past August, when the Buckhead eatery was first announced, rumors swirled that it was a replacement for the downtown eatery, a rumor the owners vehemently denied.
Strangely enough, Chef Tomo Naito also announced he would open a second location of his popular Japanese eatery Tomo at the Ritz-Carlton residences, saying at the time that his popular eatery by the same name would remain open on Cobb Parkway in Vinings. It, too, closed ahead of the Buckhead eatery which opened this past October.
F.A.B. itself was the replacement of sorts for Brasserie Le Coze, a restaurant that from 1994 until 2006 operated in the Neiman Marcus wing of Lenox Square before the retailer expanded, requiring the restaurant to close. F.A.B. opened as part of a new development downtown on Ivan Allen in early 2007. Sadly, it was never as popular as its earlier Buckhead incarnation.
Restaurants in general have not fared well in the area, as Panchero's Mexican Grill and Au Bon Pain both closed and Mellow Mushroom and BLT at the nearby W Atlanta - Dowtown hotel continue to struggle.
F&B has a far better chance at success in Buckhead, though a lot has changed since it left. Buckhead has since seen Au Pied de Cochon come and go (November 2004 - August 2011) and Buckhead Life open their wildly successful French brasserie Bistro Niko at 3344 Peachtree, adjacent to the Sovereign building in the heart of Buckhead.
What are your thoughts? Did you miss Brasserie le Coze and not a fan of its new location? Do you think the location was the restaurant's problem downtown or has their food been outdone by newcomers? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.