Wednesday, July 1, 2020

[EXCLUSIVE] Buckhead Life Shutters Two Popular Concepts

Buckhead Life Restaurant Group (BLRG) has permanently closed its Lobster Bar Sea Grille restaurant in Miami Beach.  The restaurant, located at 404 Washington Avenue, opened April 1, 2017, and is now marked permanently closed on its Google page and has been removed from the BLRG website.  Lobster Bar Sea Grille is the second big name restaurant with ties to Atlanta to have closed in Miami following the late 2017 closure of Antico Pizza's South Beach outpost on Collins Avenue.   
Sources close to the seafood restaurant indicate that more than $5 million was spent converting the former China Grill restaurant to the posh seafood concept.  The design of the 10,000 square foot restaurant was created by Atlanta-based award-winning Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry and Oliver Carter & Associates.  

In addition to Lobster Bar Sea Grille, BLRG's private event venue 103 West in Buckhead, is also likely permanently closed despite being marked only "temporarily closed" on its website.  The current climate is not one that fosters much interest in large private dining events, so it made sense for it to be closed during the pandemic, but planned redevelopment around the property likely made the site a target.  103 West's neighbor Yebo (111 West Paces Ferry Road), previously relocated to the former Bar Americano at nearby Andrews Square  The pandemic surely did not cause the closure of 103 West, but more likely accelerated the inevitable.  

A representative from BLRG supplied ToNeTo Atlanta the following statement regarding the closure(s). 
"The pandemic has had a significant effect on the entire restaurant and hospitality industries. Due to the major impact of COVID-19 on the event and entertaining industry, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group has decided to temporarily close 103 West.  Unfortunately, Lobster Bar Sea Grille in Miami Beach will not re-open due to these significant economic effects of COVID-19."
Lobster Bar Sea Grille is the only restaurant that the Atlanta-based group has closed in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Several of the group's Atlanta and south Florida restaurants were shuttered for several weeks due to local ordinances, but all but the Buckhead Diner have reopened for dine-in/carry-out service, with Kyma even undergoing an extensive renovation.  The Diner, with its intimate seating and close quarters, is not well suited for "social distancing," and while sources tell us it will reopen soon, it may look and feel different than before.    

Buckhead Life and other local and national restaurant groups have turned to delivery services such as DoorDash to help fill the hole left from huge reductions in on-premise dining.  

According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant and food service industry likely lost nearly $120 billion in sales during the first three months of the pandemic.

Lobster Bar Sea Grille and 103 West now join Veni Vidi Vici (2015),  Nava (2012), Bluepointe (2011),  and Pano's & Paul's (2009) as shuttered BLRG concepts.  

Following the closures, BLRG will continue to operate seven restaurants in Atlanta: Atlanta Fish Market, Bistro Niko, Corner Cafe, Chops Lobster Bar, Kyma, Pricci and Buckhead Diner, and three restaurants in South Florida: City Fish Market and Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton and Lobster Bar Sea Grille in Ft. Lauderdale.  

Are you surprised that Buckhead Life closed Lobster Bar Sea Grille in Miami?  What is your favorite Buckhead Life restaurant?  When was the last time you dined in a restaurant/when do you plan to dine in again?

Please share your thoughts below.   


Anonymous said...

Never had a bad meal at any of the BLRG restaurants.
I've been eating out regularly since restaurants were allowed to reopen and will continue doing so to try and help some of these restaurants and their workers. They have been pretty empty and I'm sure they are all suffering. We've been tipping extra heavy.

Unknown said...


Anonymous Miami Beach said...

Always had great meals and service at the Lobster Bar Sea Grill in Miami Beach. Bobby, the manager, and the staff were great. Now that they had to close, I’m stuck with a $250 gift card that I can’t use unless I go to Ft Lauderdale or Boca.

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