The Essential and Bar La FĂȘte are switching locations

The Essential
Bar La FĂȘte location will become The Essential (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

“Sometimes the best things are unexpected,” begins the announcement Victor King and Kristen Hall, owners of The Essential and La FĂȘte, released last night. According to King and Hall, the two popular downtown Birmingham restaurants will be swapping locations.

Keep reading to learn more about the swap and what it means for the two restaurants.

Meet the owners

King and Hall became business partners when Hall’s business concept won REV Birmingham’s Big Pitch $10,000 grand prize. The two opened Feast & Forest in 2015, which closed in 2018 to make way for The Essential, a larger and more refined version of Feast & Forest.

Now, the two operate three popular, award-winning spots in downtown Birmingham– The Essential, Bar La FĂȘte and Bandit Patisserie.

The Essential needs a new home

The Essential
The Essential’s current home on Morris Avenue. (Sabrina Palmer/ Bham Now)

So, why switch locations? According to the statement from the two, The Essential which opened in 2018 has outgrown its location on Morris Avenue. If you don’t believe them, try getting a table at brunch.

In 2022, the two decided they want to find a larger location that can hopefully reduce wait times and make work easier for the staff.

“During this time of looking for a new home for The Essential, we were under construction on our most recent shop, La FĂȘte. It’s an expansive space on 1st Ave N, with a very comfortable dining room. It’s an incredible space to work in, with ample storage and a huge prep area. We took all that we learned at The Essential and built a space that was easy to work in.”

Victor King and Kristen Hall, owners of The Essential and La FĂȘte

Making the decision to swap

Bar la fete
Soon, the two restaurants will make the swap. (Sabrina Palmer / Bham Now)

Something wasn’t quite right, though. After some time, the owners realized that La FĂȘte, a French inspired bistro and bar, doesn’t feel at home in a large downtown space. They began looking for a “quaint, quirky place on a historic street”, something that feels like Paris.

Lo and behold, they already had what they were looking for. The Essential’s quaint spot on Morris Ave was exactly what they envisioned for La FĂȘte. Additionally, La FĂȘte’s large kitchen and dining room was exactly what they needed for The Essential.

With minimal construction and minimal downtime, we will be able to create restaurants that feel like themselves in a new space. We are so excited for the next season, knowing that we can provide each of our teams and all our guests what they need.”

Victor King and Kristen Hall, owners of The Essential and La FĂȘte

While there is no date set for the swap to be completed, we will continue to report as more information is released.

What do you think about the swap? Tag us @bhamnow and let us know!

Grace Howard
Grace Howard
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