Chef Michael Harr at the opening of City Burger in May Credit: Andrew Metcalf

Chef Michael Harr, who has been at the helm of Food Wine & Co. in Bethesda since February 2011 announced Thursday he’s leaving the restaurant and its sister restaurants—Fish Taco and City Burger.

Harr made the announcement on Twitter, saying, “I would like this minute to express my deepest gratitude for all my loyal followers and clientele.”

He said he’s moving on to the next phase in his career.

“Chef Michael is a really talented and amazing chef,” said Francis Namin, who co-owns the restaurants. “He’s done a lot for us. But our company is heading in a different direction so we need someone with the ability and experience to handle a multi-unit restaurant group.”

 Harr recently spearheaded the opening of the restaurant group’s latest concept—City Burger—a fast-casual burger and milkshake spot that opened on Wisconsin Avenue in May. Under Harr’s direction Food, Wine & Co. has grown into one of the most popular Bethesda restaurants. Tom Sietsema gave it a nice review in The Washington Post last year and its truffle burger made Washingtonian’s list of the 25 best burgers.

“He was wonderful,” Namin said. “His cooking really helped us grow at Food Wine & Co.”

Namin said chef Sam Henderson will replace Harr as the restaurant group’s executive chef. Henderson currently works in culinary operations for Aramark, but previously worked at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston as well as the one in Georgetown, according to Namin.

Namin said Henderson will start on Sept. 8.

The business is in the midst of an expansion of its City Burger and Fish Taco concepts, according to Namin, and needed a chef capable of overseeing the operations of multiple restaurants.