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Star Chef Trotter Closes Vegas Restaurant; David Burke Quits his Desert Digs

From Robin Leach, Las Vegas Sun: It’s the first star chef restaurant closing brought on by the recession. Charlie Trotter has decided to close his award-winning fine-dining palace Restaurant Charlie and its C Bar in the Palazzo.

Newlyweds Charlie and his bride Rochelle sent me the sad email verdict this morning, but they promise to try it again when the economy bounces back. Their decision comes just three weeks after their marriage on an island near the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

“It breaks our heart,” they told me in a personal note. “After many months of consideration, we -- along with our business partners -- have decided to close Restaurant Charlie.

“We can only be happy and proud of the success of this project over the past two years. The restaurant opened with rave reviews, including obtaining the top ranking as Best New Restaurant in Las Vegas, and we also won the first Michelin Star in less than one year.

“We are all aware of the economic crisis, which has tanked many markets -- and Las Vegas has been particularly hard hit -- especially in the mid-upscale luxury market, which is where our restaurant was categorized. We are proud of the team we had there and definitely look forward to perhaps opening the restaurant in another location sometime in the future.

“In the meantime, we are busy organizing our lives as newlyweds and very optimistic about our future both personally and professionally! Thanks for all of your support!”

Charlie’s gourmet dining palace was hailed as “beyond brilliant” and a spectacular gem for foodies. Critics lavished praise on his meals, service and the restaurant’s beautiful furnishings. Many celebrities dined there over its 24-month life. He was loved and admired by the Las Vegas food community, particularly for his generous charitable support and also his unceasing willingness to participate in numerous local food-related events.

My observation is that, sadly, restaurant goers in this wretched economy want basic meat and potato dinners rather than ultimate excellence in food. It’s sadder to even wonder how many other top of the top-line restaurants may have to follow suit.

Vegas DeLuxe wishes Charlie and Rochelle good luck and a happy married life back in their Chicago home.

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