8Arm permanently closes on Ponce de Leon Avenue

Restaurant was initially slated to close in October
The bartenders at 8ARM have everything they need inside the shipping container bar that serves the patio area.

Credit: Henri Hollis

Credit: Henri Hollis

The bartenders at 8ARM have everything they need inside the shipping container bar that serves the patio area.

Popular Ponce de Leon Avenue restaurant 8Arm closed over the weekend, more than a month earlier than was initially projected.

The closure was announced on social media and was confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Skip Engelbrecht, who co-owns the restaurant with Nhan Le.

In June, the restaurant announced via social media that that closing day would be Oct. 8. “We’re not sure what the long-term future holds for our adorable little building, but it will not include 8Arm,” the post said. The land 8Arm was located on was sold to development company Cartel Properties.

In July, 8Arm ended its food program and opened its kitchen to pop-ups and residencies from local chefs including Michael and Shyretha Sheats of The Plate Sale and Molli Voraotsady of SoSoFed. Cleophus Heathington of Ebi Chop Bar, a 2022 James Beard Award finalist, was set to have a residency at the restaurant in September.

Former 8Arm executive chef Maricela Vega completed a pop-up at the eatery over the weekend.

Engelbrecht said the decision to close early was due in part because “we wanted to go out with Maricela. She’s our family, and we wanted to make sure she was the last chef in that building.”

He said he and Le also wanted to avoid creating confusion by opening on different nights during different weeks, depending on the availability of the chefs with whom they were working.

8ARM Executive Chef Maricela Vega. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Credit: Henri Hollis

icon to expand image

Credit: Henri Hollis

“It started to get confusing, and we just thought it was time to go upward and forward,” he said.

8Arm’s last night of business “was cool,” he said. “We could have pulled the party button, but we wanted to go out quietly with friends and the employees that mean a lot to us. We wanted it to be sweet more than a rager.”

Le opened 8Arm in 2016 at 710 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, along with Angus Brown, who died in 2017. The restaurant morphed several times after Brown’s death, first under the direction of Vega, who created a vegetable-forward menu that garnered her a James Beard Award nomination and received a three-star review from former Atlanta Journal-Constitution food critic Wendell Brock.

8Arm also debuted several sister concepts in its space including Ink Cocktail Bar, 8Arm Wine and outdoor kitchen and bar Sidepiece.

Most recently, the restaurant reinvented itself as a Japanese izakaya under chef Hiro Endo.

In addition to 8Arm, Le and Engelbrecht own the recently-opened Poncey-Highland seafood concept Fishmonger that is expanding with a second location in Kirkwood’s Pratt Pullman District in October. The pair are also planning to open comfort food concept Small Fry in the Atlanta Dairies development in the coming months.

Engelbrecht said many 8Arm employees will be moved over to jobs at Fishmonger. Joshua Fryer, who served as 8Arm’s general manager and beverage director, is working on opening wine bar Long Snake. He did not immediately respond to the AJC’s request for more information.

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