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Charlie Trotter’s Serves Its Last Meal

Legendary Chicago chef Charlie Trotter calls it a career Friday night as he prepared to close his namesake gourmet restaurant for good. (CBS)

Legendary Chicago chef Charlie Trotter calls it a career Friday night as he prepared to close his namesake gourmet restaurant for good. (CBS)

Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — What may be Chicago’s most famous fine restaurant is no more.

Charlie Trotter’s served its final meals Friday night to some 300 invited guests.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker was there.

You couldn’t tell that an era was ending just by looking at Charlie Trotter’s fabled kitchen. Cooks were hard at work as usual, preparing another magnificent meal.

But the chef, who has turned the place into a culinary legend, was not to be found there. On Friday night, he was just one of the guests.

Trotter insists he has no regrets.

“I mean there are elements I will miss,” he said. “But you can’t do the same thing forever.”

The final menu was selected and supervised by Graham Elliot, Mindy Segal and some of the other chefs Trotter has inspired and trained over the last quarter-century.

Elliott said he was honored to come back to be a part of the last supper.

“It’s the last hurrah,” Elliott said. “This is sacred ground. It’s like culinary Cooperstown.”

One guest, John Gabrysiak, has eaten at Trotter’s more than 100 times over the years.

His most memorable meal?

“It was a pasta course, gnocchi, I believe. He sent over a white truffle and said, ‘Your birthday present tonight is – you can have as much white truffle on this course as you want,’” Gabrysiak recalls.

As for Chef Trotter, he plans now to study philosophy and travel around the world with his wife, Rochelle.

“It’s time to change it up. Otherwise, my head just might explode,” Trotter says.

Among the final menu items: corn bisque with marshmallow, chipotle jam and corn nuts.  There was also lemongrass salmon with red Quinoa salad.  And somewhere in all that, of course, was a quail’s egg.