Say it isn’t Tru.

After 18 years of raising the bar on fine dining, showcasing world-class chefs and winning myriad prestigious culinary awards and accolades, Tru (676 N. St. Clair, Streeterville) will serve its final dinner on October 7. Surprised by the news, I reached out to Rich Melman, the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises founder, to find out what happened and what will be the fate of the stunning space.

Why close it?

It was time. I don’t think I want to be doing 4-star dining in the future. At least, not in the immediate future. The nice thing is that we can keep the restaurant's staff in the company, which is what I wanted to do. So the timing is right.

Do you have plans for the space?

Tru is going to be….I will tell you more soon. But we are going to put in a new concept. We’ve got a cute thing. We will start working on it immediately. Should be ready in February or March.

You recently closed Intro and now Tru. You say you want to step away from that 4-star dining world. What about Everest?

Everest is going to stay around. I don’t see that changing. As long as Jean Joho is working it. It’s his baby. It's been amazingly successful all these years. It’s the hardest place to get to. But you are right. And I think a city like Chicago needs places like Everest and like Alinea—but not more than five or six. I don’t like to eat that any more. I don’t want a four-hour meal. It’s just not what I want to do any more.

Is your Tru chef, Anthony Martin, staying with Lettuce?

No. He is doing something else. I wish he was [staying with me]. I made him what I thought was an interesting offer, but I think he is going to try a different business. That’s what he indicated to me when we first started talking about this closing. 

(Chicago reached out to Anthony Martin via text. He had this to say about bringing his association with Tru to a close: "Tru has been a huge part of my life for the past nine years. I have always had a fantastic relationship with Rich/Lettuce. I’m really looking forward to taking my next steps professionally as well as personally. I have a lot of exciting opportunities in my future. I will keep you posted." And as soon as Melman and Martin reveal more details about their plans, we'll keep you posted, too.)