It’s been a wild month for chef Josef Centeno, who announced last night on social media that he would be closing his downtown Culver City restaurant Amacita tonight until further notice. Centeno has also lost his genre-bending Downtown LA restaurant Baco Mercat this month, while also seeing his tasting menu restaurant Orsa & Winston be named the Restaurant of the Year by the LA Times.
In a note posted to Instagram last evening, Centeno says that Amacita will close following Friday service and remain dark “for the foreseeable future.” The post adds:
We’re figuring out ways to adapt while the months ahead are still uncertain. We’ll miss all of you, our Culver City neighbors, but it isn’t goodbye. We’re evolving...
The post also notes that the “soul” of Amacita will continue on at Centeno’s other Downtown LA restaurant, Bar Ama, which is also now home to some of Baco Mercat’s most beloved dishes, which run on special there. Everyone from New York Times California critic Tejal Rao to LA Times co-critic Bill Addison spent time raving about dishes at Amacita, particularly the lush queso, which can still be found at Bar Ama.
Prior to operating as Amacita, the corner location in Downtown Culver City was actually an offshoot of Baco, called BacoShop, which sold even more casual versions of the famed baco sandwiches and other vegetable-focused sides.
Since the pandemic, Centeno and his staff have worked tirelessly to continue moving forward, including feeding healthcare workers across the city for weeks on end. It’s unclear if, or when, Amacita will reopen, though given the current state of affairs between the pandemic and resulting economic slowdown, it’s hard to imagine an immediate return.