Anani Lawson, whose vaunted work history includes a total of 10 years as sommelier at two of America's greatest restaurants, arrived in Sacramento amid plenty of fanfare in January, taking the reins at Enotria and pledging to transform it into a Michelin-starred restaurant.
But his arrival also came with questions about why a man with such a distinguished track record a former maitre d' and sommelier of the famed French Laundry and Per Se restaurants would settle down in a city where the vaunted Michelin Guide doesn't even rate restaurants.
Now there are even more questions as Lawson's tenure as general manager of Enotria has ended abruptly.
Lawson did not return a phone message for an interview, but in a brief text message, he stated: "Family emergencies have come up where I couldn't spend that much time in Sacramento on a full-time basis. Enotria is in good hands and will prosper due to the efforts of their entire team."
Executive chef Pajo Bruich initially confirmed the news about Lawson's departure via a text message Friday night. In an interview Saturday morning, Bruich said the personnel change should not be seen as something negative.
"Anani and I are great friends and hold a tremendous amount of respect for each other," Bruich said. "He has decided to be closer to his daughter and re-evaluate what his desires are currently. I fully support his decision."
Call The Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson, (916) 321-1099. Follow him on Twitter @blarob.