Grace’s closure is an example of the sometimes complicated relationship between chefs and restaurant owners.
Closure of Michelin darling, Grace, is a hard hit on Chicago’s restaurant scene.
After a five-year run, Grace, one of two of Chicago’s highest rated Michelin restaurants, closed abruptly on Wednesday.
The drastic decision took place after head chef Curtis Duffy and general manager Michael Muser confirmed they were parting ways with the restaurant.
A joint message from Duffy and Muser’s respective Facebook pages briefly mentioning their reasons for the decision and expressed much gratitude to the committed staff that helped the restaurant achieve culinary heights:
“...We pushed ourselves and our colleagues to emulate the qualities befitting of our restaurant’s very name. Time and time again, they rose to the occasion. It is, therefore, with heartfelt gratitude that we announce our departure from Grace," read the statement. "While incredibly difficult to step away, it became evident that our evolving goals and aspirations were no longer aligned with the restaurant and its future, making this change necessary.”
Kevin Pang, a former reporter for "The Chicago Tribune" and co-director of the 2015 documentary “For Grace,” and Carrie Nahabedian, head chef at Naha and a friend of Duffy and Muser, told “The New York Times” this was the outcome of an ongoing contract dispute with Michael Olszewski, the restaurant’s owner and real estate investor.
Duffy and Muser were looking to purchase the restaurant in order to have “complete financial and creative control of Grace,” but when a third-party investor pulled out of the deal the men’s hopes and efforts were dismantled and the duo was faced to say a proud goodbye to their first restaurant.
In their joint statement, Duffy and Muser expressed their hopeful outlook into the future: “As this chapter ends, another begins. We plan to spend quality time with our families as we develop our next project. The future holds much in store.”
A spokeswoman for Olszewski told “The New York Times,” that there had been other problems with Duffy and Muser resulting in the relationship to turn sour. One involved Duffy’s departure from the restaurant in May and return in September and another the firing of Muser earlier this month before his departure was announced Wednesday.
The closure of Grace resulted in 40 staff members left jobless.
Read more at “The New York Times.”