Brother-and-sister team Howard and Anita Hsu, owners of Sweet Auburn Barbecue, are preparing to open a Mexican restaurant in the new Westside Village development (2260 Marietta Boulevard) in May. Named Amar Bien, or “love well” in Spanish, the 2,500-square-foot restaurant expands on the pair’s original concept—a West Coast-style burrito joint called Gezzo’s that’s been in Henry County for 17 years.
“We are big supporters of living a healthy lifestyle and eating well so you feel well,” Anita Hsu says. “Amar Bien is Gezzo’s grown up. Everything will be made from scratch with more vegetarian options.”
Though diners order at the counter at Gezzo’s, Amar Bien will offer table service for lunch and dinner. Cam Floyd—formerly of Estrella and the Iberian Pig—will be the executive chef. Three-quarters of his menu will feature vegetable-based dishes in the Yucatan style.
“We’re trying to be as plant-forward as possible,” Anita says.
Offerings may include black bean, plantain, and cashew cheese tamales; squash ceviche; pork cheek empanadas; chilaquiles; and enchiladas. Grain bowls made with rice or farro will be topped with a sous vide egg, steak, fish, or chicken. There will be six or seven types of tacos, including fried plantain, cauliflower, carne asada, and Mexican mushroom. Diners will be able to watch fresh tortillas being made in the open kitchen.
Amar Bien will have a full bar with drinks that utilize fresh local herbs and ingredients that Anita Hsu says can benefit the body, such as turmeric.
The space will have a SoCal vibe with white-washed wood and a color scheme of rusty yellows, soft pinks, and blues, inspired by the sunset. There will be a 1,600-square-foot patio, in addition to a mezzanine for private dining.
“We’re excited about the neighborhood,” Howard Hsu says.
“There are a lot of young families there interested in eating holistically for the body and yet still want something delicious,” Anita Hsu adds.
Operating restaurants runs in the Hsu family—their parents owned Hunan Village in Stockbridge, and brother Ron Hsu opened his first restaurant, Lazy Betty, last year. Anita and Howard Hsu are both managing partners at Lazy Betty, and Anita Hsu hints that the three siblings may work on another project together in the future.
“It’ll be something very authentic to the three of us, has a lot of history, and pays honor to our family,” she says.
Though she’s not ready to reveal any more details of that collaborative project yet, Anita Hsu says Atlantans can look forward to getting a first taste of Amar Bien during pop-up dinners at Sweet Auburn Barbecue this spring.