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Open for less than a year, the Lawrence—a highly anticipated Midtown restaurant and bar by Top FLR veteran Darren Carr and Dinner Party Atlanta founder Patrick La Bouff—is already on its third chef. Shane Devereux (also from Top FLR and its sister gastropub/club Sound Table) was the opening chef. Then Jonathan St. Hilaire, previously a pastry chef and owner of the now-defunct Bakeshop, took the reigns in November 2012. Now, St. Hilaire is gone, and Jeff Sigler, who worked alongside Richard Blais at Element, is in charge.
Since opening in April of this year, the Lawrence has been quietly evolving in their dimly lit corner of Midtown. At first, the restaurant was open just a few days a week, now they're open every day but Monday, including brunch service on Sunday. The menu has continually changed, bringing seasonal dishes in and out and adding a bit more emphasis on chef Shane Devereux's affinity for French cooking. And now bartender Eric Simpkins, who initially served a very abbreviated selection of classic drinks, is rewriting their drink list to include a lengthy, inventive array of cocktails.
Patrick La Bouff is easy to pick out among the already-teeming crowds at the Lawrence. He's the guy with tousled hair somewhere between the color of straw and honey, usually wearing jeans and a bow tie, scuttling between tables and bodies and appearing everywhere at once. He may be sorting through the next wave of reservations on his iPad, surveying the dining room for empty seats, and then bussing a vacated two-top. There he is conferring with the chef in the kitchen, now behind the bar, now delivering appetizers, and immediately at the front again, greeting new arrivals. When he sees a familiar face, his normally taut smile relaxes for a moment into a lopsided grin.
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