Anh Luu, owner and executive chef at Kerns neighborhood Asian-Cajun dining institution Tapalaya, is putting the restaurant up for sale and moving back to New Orleans at the end of the year, a little more than two years after she took ownership.
Luu made the announcement this morning on Facebook, saying that she wanted to give longtime customers plenty of time to say goodbye and stuff themselves with as many meals as possible.
"I wanted to give my 'family,' whom I love, time to come into the restaurant as often as possible before we close," Luu wrote, "to eat, celebrate, connect and share the love."
The decision to sell wasn't easy. The same month Luu took over the 11-year-old business in 2017, her mother died in a car crash. She pushed forward with the ownership transition in her honor, and the menu even shifted slightly to better reflect some of her mother's Vietnamese recipes. But the last two years spent focusing on managing Tapalaya meant that Luu hasn't had time to properly grieve.
"Owning the restaurant where I designed one-of-a-kind cuisine based on memories from my childhood has meant the world to me," Luu wrote. "However, the shock of losing my mother so tragically at the same exact time has taken its toll on me emotionally. I am still in utter shock that she is gone and I have never had the time to grieve her. I need that time now. I plan to return to my home city of New Orleans to fully focus on healing."
Luu's mashup of Vietnamese and New Orleans flavors will be served until Sunday, Dec. 22.
Related: Restaurant Guide 2015: Tapalaya