The remaining location of casual Cuban spot El Libre is closing this weekend, a little over a year after its Uptown opening. In its place, Auction House Market’s Aloha Lei sushi will open its first restaurant.
El Libre announced that this Saturday, July 20 would be its last day via Instagram Wednesday, July 18, at the same time sharing Aloha Lei’s plans to open in the space. A comment left on the post by Aloha Lei wishes EL Libre owner Blake Lindberg well on an unnamed “new opportunity” and conveys excitement to get started in the space.
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Hey y’all... El Libre will be having its final day of service this upcoming Saturday and we’re excited to announce that @alohaleisushi will be taking over our space with their new Sushi and Grill concept. We are incredibly thankful for your patronage over these past 4 years and we will miss the communities we created at both our Uptown and Downtown locations. On to the next chapter. Much love.
Lindberg first opened El Libre in a tiny but charming French Quarter space in 2015 with business partners Konrad Kantor and Bruce Fowler. He closed it in late 2017, shortly after announcing plans for a larger Uptown location, when managing both spaces became “unfeasible.” Kantor went on to open his own Cuban bar and restaurant in El Libre’s former address in the Quarter, Manolito, with bartending heavy-hitters Nick Detrich and Chris Hannah.
Aloha Lei began as a stall in Auction House Market when the Warehouse District food hall opened in March 2018. The “sushi and grill concept,” as mentioned by Lindberg, would be the first restaurant for Tracey Davenport and her partner and husband, Dave Kirtland. Davenport has worked at Brennan’s and held sushi chef roles at Sun Ray Grill and Metairie’s Conola.
Eater has reached out to both Lindberg and Aloha Lei for more information and will update if we hear back.
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