Changes Inbound at Seven Lamps as Operating Partner Drew Van Leuvan Departs

'Seven Lamps is not closing, she is going in a different direction,' Van Leuvan said after posting a cryptic Instagram message last week. 'I am going to take a bit of time to clear my head and find balance.'
Drew Van Leuvan Departing Seven Lamps
Photo: Drew Van Leuvan

Drew Van Leuvan is resigning his post as executive chef and operating partner for Seven Lamps, sparking changes for the eight-year-old Shops Around Lenox Buckhead eatery. “Seven Lamps is not closing, she is going in a different direction,” Van Leuvan told What Now Atlanta (WNA) in an email Monday after posting a cryptic Instagram message last week that had readers speculating the future of Seven Lamps (shown below). “I am going to take a bit of time to clear my head and find balance.”

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It’s unclear how Seven Lamps will change without the culinary direction of Van Leuvan, but the restaurant’s remaining partners are no strangers to Atlanta’s foodie scene — it’s the group that also operates Cypress Street Pint & Plate, Howell’s Kitchen & Bar, Atwoods Pizza Cafe, and others. Reps for the group on Monday did not immediately respond to a request for comment but Van Leuvan did say that Robert Rambo from Fifth Group was hired to take over his responsibilities. “I know the goal is to keep fighting” and “[Robert] is a good person and seems extremely excited to develop The Lamp into his own style.”

In reflecting on his decision to leave Seven Lamps, Van Leuvan penned the below letter — available in its entirety as shared with WNA — citing the financial hardships brought on by the novel coronavirus as the leading factor.

The environment we are living in has changed my life and that of the restaurant forever. Once the full impact of the pandemic hit, I began to realize the enormous challenge that lay ahead in trying to maneuver Seven Lamps through it successfully. As most restaurants did, we took an enormous financial hit and had to learn very quickly to do business in a completely different way than we ever had before. We were losing money and it was my responsibility as Operating Partner to find a way to get the restaurant into a-positive financial position. We were forced to let go of a large percentage of our staff, some of whom had been working with me for more than a decade. We tightened our belts and found a way to operate the restaurant creatively to avoid losing money, but it was not sustainable. My partners and I had a serious conversation about the future of the business. Ultimately, the conclusion was that it is best for me to step aside so that Seven Lamps can go a different direction and I can focus on the next chapter in my life. It was a very difficult decision — in a way, it’s like saying good-bye to your child.

It’s going to take me some time to figure this out, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I am extremely proud of this restaurant and the family we built together that so many have grown to love. Several members of our original team coined the phrase “Lampers for Life.” Whether I’m there every day or not, that is most certainly the case for me. Seven Lamps has been such a special part of my journey, and I will be forever grateful to all of the people who brought her to life and made her so special.

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Photo: Instagram/Official
Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak