|Photo from The Luminary's Facebook page|
"French inspired Southern bistro" to shutter
The Luminary, the chic, upscale restaurant from chef Eli Kirshtein, confirmed earlier today it will close after dinner service on March 31st. The restaurant opened in early August 2014. The closure follows last year's closures of The Spotted Trotter, Frankly and Cockentrice and the reconcepting of the full service Craft Izakaya to the quick serve Makimono earlier this year.
Superica from Ford Fry is now the last remaining original full service restaurant from the property opened in 2014.
An Atlanta native, Kirshtein got his start in the culinary world with Buckhead Life Restaurant Group's Buckhead Diner where he was trained by Kevin Rathbun, eventually landing the gig of Executive Chef at the now shuttered ENO by Zaza in Midtown. Kirshtein was also a contestant in Top Chef season 6.
I first got word of The Luminary's planned closure earlier this month when I learned privately that the restaurant was actively for sale. At that time, I elected not to go public with this news out of respect for the restaurant, its investors and employees.
With the news now public that the restaurant is in fact closing, it's worth noting that the writing has been on the wall for weeks that things were not going well for the restaurant.
On February 25, Facebook member Julie J. left a review on the restaurant's Facebook page that started:
"Horrible. Honestly the worst restaurant I have been to in several years."
This review was one of many critical of the restaurant's poor service.
No restaurant management responses were left to the various comments on the restaurant's Facebook page, which was last updated February 18th.
Yelp.com user Kristin B. was one of the most recent to review the restaurant on March 6th when she left a 2 star review.
"I'll be shocked if they make it till the spring. Went with a Groupon, so the price was right, but a Thursday night dinner should not take 2.5 hours. The foie gras Dutch baby appetizer was fantastic, but by the time our entrees came an hour later, we were so hungry we would have eaten shoe leather. Dessert was dry, crumbly, and not at all sweet. Next!"
Kristin's previous review from late 2014 was a 4 star review.
I was provided the following statement from Chef Kirshtein regarding the restaurant's closure:
"I am so proud of the staff, purveyors, and partners of The Luminary, and all we have achieved together. The dedication, commitment, and effort everyone has put forth over the last two and half years has been truly humbling, and I couldn't be more appreciative of the community support we have received. It's becoming more and more difficult to run a successful restaurant in a city with such a high level of saturation. With costs increasing across the board, the challenges became too great for us. I always sincerely and deeply love the city of Atlanta and the people in it. Being born and raised here and having the ability to continue my career here is a dream come true. I look forward to cooking for Atlanta again - sometime soon!"
Are you surprised that The Luminary is closing? Do you think Groupon is the kiss of death in the restaurant world? What would you like to see open in place of The Luminary at Krog Street Market?
Please share your thoughts below.