James Beard Award winners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne will close their first-ever restaurant together Lucques on Melrose Avenue after 21 years of business. The modern California restaurant helped influence a generation of chefs and restaurants with a suave brick-lined dining room and gorgeous back patio. The restaurant will close on May 6 but will continue with lunch, dinner, and bar service until then. Lucques first opened in September 1998, at a time when LA’s dining scene was making the transition to a mostly celebrity-focused affair to one oriented around local ingredients and global flavors.
Former LA Times critic S. Irene Virbila called Lucques, “Mediterranean filtered through a California sensibility, sensuous and direct.” Until it closes in about two months time, Lucques will continue to serve classics like bluefish wrapped in pancetta, chorizo-stuffed lamb, and chocolate churros, giving diners enough time to stop by the beloved restaurant one last time (or a couple more times).
Lucques’s influence essentially extended the Alice Waters and California mentality of pristine seasonal produce, sustainably-sourced proteins, and elegant wine. The refined level of service eschewed a traditional fine dining approach that laid the groundwork for a new era of casual dining in Los Angeles. Asked why they had so much staying power at the restaurant’s 20 year anniversary in 2018, Suzanne Goin told Eater, “I think part of our success was not trying to anticipate what people want and not trying to hook onto a trend or a movement, and more really doing what felt right to us. People feel that. “
Lucques garnered multiple accolades throughout the years, with Goin receiving a Best Chef: West nod in 2006, then later the coveted Outstanding Chef award in 2016. Caroline Styne received Outstanding Restaurateur in 2018 while Goin’s cookbook Sunday Suppers at Lucques received a James Beard for Best Cookbook from a professional point of view in 2006. Goin and Styne will continue to operate AOC on West Third Street and Tavern in Brentwood, as well as the Larder Baking Company and The Larder at Maple Drive. The duo also operate the food and beverage at the Hollywood Bowl.
In addition to regular service until May 6, Lucques will host its final Sunday Suppers — which were reasonably priced three course dinners meant to be more inviting for local diners — as well as a Chi Spacca Cookbook dinner with Nancy Silverton on April 26, 2020.