Was down in Apalachicola yesterday for the 4-course Christmas Day dinner at Avenue Sea. Overheard that the "chef was leaving" so asked a waiter to confirm. Indeed, December 31st will be "Avenue Sea's last day" after which the chef David Carrier and one of the servers is leaving for Chicago "for a few months" to try a new venture there. According to the server, David intends to return sometime in 2009 to start a new restaurant "either in Apalachicola or perhaps Tallahassee."
For those of you in the know, Avenue Sea under Chef Carrier was perhaps the best restaurant in the state west of Jacksonville (Chef being of French Laundry pedigree and all). Indeed, the meal I had there on Christmas (with David Carrier spotted in the kitchen) was definitely better than any restaurant I've had anywhere near Tallahassee. It would be a huge loss if Carrier decides to stay in Chicago, but it could redefine Tallahassee cuisine if he decides to open up back there upon returning, if he returns.
In any case, if any of you Tallahasseeans (or folks from Panama City, etc.) haven't yet tried Avenue Sea, make sure to get down there before Dec. 31st. This is a place you'll regret not having tried. If you already know Avenue Sea, you might want to check it out one last time before this part of Florida loses a culinary giant.
Avenue Sea Restaurant
51 Avenue C, Apalachicola, FL 32320