Celebrity chefs David Burke and Charlie Trotter are walking away from the Las Vegas restaurants that bear their names, Nation's Restaurant News reported.
Burke announced last week that he was ending his affiliation with the restaurant David Burke at The Venetian, a joint venture with Orlando-based E Brand Restaurants. E Brands chief executive Rashid Choufani said the recession was to blame for the split.
"Celebrity chefs in restaurants there today, with this economy, it's a little hard," he told NRN. "It was hurting our concept."
Choufani told NRN that the glut of big-name chefs opening Vegas venues with high price points didn't make sense in today's tougher economic climate. In its place, E Brands will open the more moderately priced E.B.'s Timpano Tavern, a scaled back version of the company's Timpano Chophouse and Martini Bar restaurants.
The restaurant will remain open as David Burke until the conversion, expected in four to six weeks, NRN reported.
Charlie Trotter, chef of Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and a forthcoming Manhattan venue, reportedly shuttered Restaurant Charlie and Bar Charlie in the Palazzo hotel and casino.
Rochelle Smith Trotter, Trotter's wife and spokeswoman, told The New York Times that "they considered changing the concepts to adapt to the economic downturn, but decided not to compromise the integrity of the operations that bear his name," NRN reported.
Yet not all high-priced Vegas restaurants are folding as the economy suffers.
Rick Moonen's rm seafood at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino has given itself a more upscale face, Joel Robuchon is looking to raise prices this year and sales are up 20 percent at Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak, NRN reported.