The Big Messy: Ahnvee Closed
SoBe's take on New Orleans: D.O.A.
BGM Management, run by Al Boatright and partners Brionne Gillion and Kareem Memarian, tore down Templo, Club Deep, and Ruby Lounge, at 619, 621 and 623 Washington Avenue respectively, in order to build out the 9,000 square foot Ahnvee Restaurant & Lounge. Tom Azar was lured as executive chef from Emeril's. There was an opening party in June. Then an announcement that it would be open 24 hours a day. Then another opening party at the beginning of August. Then news that Azar had left. Now there is paper over the storefront windows and a telephone number that is no longer in service. Jeez, this makes the Christabelle's Quarter fiasco almost seem like a success. I mean Ahnvee's heyday was, literally, a day.
Short Order saw it coming, as we wrote after Ahnvee's August premiere: "Let's not jump to the conclusion that this is just another misguided project aimed at a demographic that doesn't exist (wealthy people who enjoy eating red beans and rice). I mean, maybe they're just kidding about the Wagyu. On the other hand, it's probably not a great sign that of 9 photos sent to us, only one was of food -- and it doesn't look very Cajun or Creole."
God forbid they would have just tried opening a regular old Cajun joint with funky atmospherics, down home cooking, cold beers, lively music (maybe a little Clifton Chenier and Professor Longhair), and affordable prices. But noooooo....it had to be about two sound stages, and seven-foot tall banquette seats with screens built into them, and Swarovski crystal pendants, Wagyu steaks, this type of chandelier, that type of glassware, and "10 beautiful models that will be called Ahnvee's Angels".
As of this writing we're not certain that Ahnvee is permanently down -- but if it is, good riddance!
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.