The head chef of the popular omakase restaurant Sushi|Bar ATX announced her departure to open her own restaurant. Ambrely Ouimette, who has been with the Holly Japanese restaurant since it opened in Austin in 2021, left this past June.
Ouimette is currently looking for a space in Austin for a new omakase restaurant, according to an interview with Statesman. There are no further details at this time; she tells Eater that she doesn’t “want to say too much yet.” She has been making sushi since she was 16 years old (she is now 33).
A rep for Sushi|Bar shares that, currently, there is no head chef of the restaurant group, but that the rest of the team remains intact. “As her travel increased, the chefs who trained under her were the familiar faces that Austin diners would see in the restaurant over the past year,” they shared.
Sushi|Bar opened in Austin in 2021 as a pop-up at the casual East Austin cafe Bento Picnic. Founding chefs Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee left in 2022 to start their own omakase restaurant, Sushi by Scratch Restaurants, which is when Ouimette became head chef.
Now, Sushi|Bar is owned by Adept Hospitality, which is under the umbrella of Adept Private Equity. The group had been working on expanding the restaurant into other cities throughout the country. The first of these was in Miami September 2022) under Ouimette, There are planned locations in Dallas and Chicago too.
In Austin, Sushi|Bar expanded from its original private dining room location Bento Picnic to take over the entire space when the business closed in February 2023.