Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Lucia's Wine Bar
We are so used to fiery shenanigans and lockouts at the end of a restaurant’s cycle that it seems we’ve forgotten about grace. After 30 years in business, Lucia’s in Uptown has been sold. Shockingly, Lucia Watson wants to retire at some point and enjoy the world she has helped make more delicious without the worry of shift schedules and ice machine breakdowns.
No one begrudges her that. What was a bit shocking was that she sold to a group of investors who also own Stella’s Fish Café. Apples to oranges, to be sure. While they’ve promised no changes, that they want to run the business in the same manner as she did, we, the eating public, are skeptical. Call us gun-shy from the experience of new owners who say they’ll surround themselves with the experts, only to blow right past the expertise when the bottom line becomes questionable. And, we’re still freshly hurting from Nye’s.
But it’s not like she pulled a rabbit out of a hat and named it Emperor, she’s been working on this deal for nearly two years. She didn’t want to shut it down and sell it off, she sought a deal that would help the generals she’s leaving in place: chef Ryan Lund and GM Heather Asbury. That’s what succession planning looks like folks, and I wonder who else in the 20 to 30 club has thought through it this much. So I’m going to trust and offer support, because I do want it to continue as it is. I want to have a Lucia’s in Uptown, and if it stays successful and we reward them for doing right (instead of punishing for other wrongs in other locations), maybe we still can.