Buckhead Ritz Dining Room closing

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A heartbreaking wallop to Atlanta’s fine dining offerings: The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead is closing October 1. With news that the restaurant’s current executive chef, Arnaud Berthelier, was resigning, the company simultaneously decided to close the restaurant, with no immediate plans to open a different concept in its place.

“Dining habits have changed over the years, and there are very significant costs to running this kind of restaurant,” said Sandra Ryder, area director of public relations for the local Ritz-Carlton properties. “We want to deliver experiences that our guests want. We want to pay tribute to a room with a twenty-five year history, but we also know that it’s time [to close it].”

Other Ritz-Carlton properties around the country have opened less formal restaurants that headline local or national celebrity chefs. When asked about this possibility, Ryder said the company had yet to make any such decisions about the Buckhead location. “We have the luxury of time on our side,” she added.

Beloved maitre d’ Claude Guillaume will continue in his umbrella role as the hotel’s assistant food and beverage director.

The restaurant will be open Wednesday-Saturday for the next few weeks.

Below is the full press release.

THE RITZ-CARLTON, BUCKHEAD BIDS FOND FAREWELL TO THE DINING ROOM

ATLANTA, GA.—September 10, 2009—When the vintage silver Christofle serving cart is rolled to the side, the crystal sconces darkened and the beveled glass French doors latched after dinner service on Thursday, October 1, it will be for the last time, announced Jon McGavin, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. The renowned restaurant is closing after a 25-year reign, during which it garnered more accolades than any restaurant in Atlanta, and earned national recognition for The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead.

“We are enormously proud of The Dining Room, and the talented professionals whose passion for perfection created extraordinary dining experiences for our guests,” said Mr. McGavin. “Few restaurants sustain this level of excellence for such a length of time, and The Dining Room will always have an honored place our hotel’s history.”

For more than two decades, the traditional décor graced with museum-quality 19th century art and antiques provided a convivial setting for Atlantans popping the question, celebrating life’s milestones and sealing business deals alongside celebrities, fashion designers, rock stars and titans of industry. Among many memorable moments, Francis Ford Coppola introduced his eponymous wines to delighted guests in 1999, and The Dining Room was the refined setting for a comedy spoof on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2007.

“We greatly appreciate the significant contributions of our distinctive and esteemed chefs, Guenther Seeger, Joel Antunes, Bruno Ménard, and especially our current chef, Arnaud Berthelier,” said Mr. McGavin. “Their names will always be synonymous with The Dining Room.”

The Dining Room was the only restaurant in the Southeast and the first of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. to receive the prestigious Mobil Five Star Award in 1997. Although the restaurant maintained its notable awards and industry acclaim, a change in dining habits and rising costs in recent years became increasingly challenging. The elegant and lengthy dinner service features a la carte and tasting menus that change daily, paired fine wines from a 600-bottle cellar with a storied inventory that includes decades-old European reds; tableside service; lavish cheese and petits fours courses; and a unique after dinner tea presentation.

“The expenses involved in providing this level of service are very high,” said Mr. McGavin. “But more importantly, our singular focus is to deliver experiences that our guests want, and people want to dine differently today. Now it is time to pay tribute to this grand dame of fine dining. Then we will consider what is next.”

The Dining Room is open Wednesday through Saturday through Thursday, October 1, with seatings offered from 6 to 9 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (404) 240-7035 or by visiting www.opentable.com.

The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead is located in fashionable uptown Atlanta, the city’s most prestigious residential neighborhood. For information or room reservations, please call (800) 241-3333, the hotel at (404) 237-2700, a travel professional or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/buckhead.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 72 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe with future openings including Dubai International Financial Centre, United Arab Emirates; Dove Mountain, Tucson, Arizona; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Lake Tahoe, California. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes outstanding customer service. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free in the U.S. 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company web site at www.ritzcarlton.com.

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