If you like chef Andre Natera's roast chicken and lobster mac and cheese at Village Kitchen and Toko V, you need to reserve a table ASAP. The Highland Park restaurant will serve its final meal March 29.
Owner Brian Twomey posted an update on his Facebook page announcing the closure, following a report on SideDish.
"It's with a heavy heart that I announce the closing of our restaurant operations at Highland Park Village effective March 30, 2014," Twomey said. "It was a difficult business decision, but one that made the most sense. We've been actively looking for a new location for the restaurants over the past couple of months, and we've reached a win-win deal with our landlords to terminate the lease."
The space saw three concepts in its lifespan, beginning in April 2011 with Marquee Grill, which featured Top Chef contestant Tre Wilcox. He departed at the end of 2012, and Natera debuted his first menu in March 2013. First it was a high-end theme; then he revamped it in August 2013 as a more casual spot.
"We loved being here. It was simply a question of economics," Twomey said.
According to SideDish's Nancy Nichols, the space that Twomey and co-owner Mark Hearl had at Highland Park Village had the highest rent per square foot in town.
The closure marks another big departure in Highland Park Village, following the February announcement that the Tom Thumb store will close this year.
Meanwhile, Twomey expressed gratitude to the many people who helped create the restaurant and shared his own degree of personal involvement.
"For those of you in the industry, you know just how hard these things can be to get off the ground and keep them that way; and how many people's effort it takes to even find just a little bit of success," he said. "All I can say is THANK YOU to all who lent a hand. I've been blessed with the opportunity to partner with some of the very best at their chosen craft, and I look forward to the next leap of insane optimism.
"On a personal note, this restaurant was (is) one of my most passionate ventures, and one that took almost two years to launch," he said. "I spent hundreds of hours in meetings with architects, designers, our esteemed chefs and beverage gurus, artisan food makers, glassware and plate ware vendors, logo and branding designers, etc.
"I met incredible people that helped make an idea a reality, and enjoyed meeting all the customers that graced our door. I think that is probably the hardest, knowing that the 'business' side will work out just fine. It is still painful to leave something you created — no matter how logical the reason."
He predicted that the final night of service on Saturday, March 29, would be "one hell of a party."
"Andre is going to be doing some 'wrenching' in the kitchen over the next two weeks as we continue to firm up the next iteration, so come on by for dinner to see some unique things from him," Twomey said.