Corbett's closure: What does it mean for the fate of Louisville's dining scene?

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Corbett’s An American Place is becoming more relaxed. Rachel Aretakis/Wochit

For nearly 10 years, Corbett’s, An American Place was a staple among Louisville’s fine dining scene, ranked alongside Jack Fry’s and Varanese as one of the best places to go for a birthday or anniversary celebration.

It was a restaurant that seemed capable of withstanding the great changes within the current food industry, maintaining customers even as many shucked formal dining in favor of casual fare.

But over the weekend, Corbett’s closed, leaving us to wonder what the fate could be for our other favorite white-linen restaurants.

In February, Courier Journal spoke with chefs across the Louisville dining scene to get a handle on which direction the food city was heading.

Overwhelmingly, the chefs said fast-casual restaurants with counter service were on the rise while full-service restaurants with servers were on the decline.

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However, until Corbett’s, it seemed fine dining restaurants — a step above basic full service — were safe from the crush.

Earlier this year, Jack Fry’s received a permit to expand. And Volare finished a light building remodel.

“You see institutions continue to better themselves,” former Jack Fry’s chef McClain Brown said in February. “Like Seviche, they did an overhaul and continue to grow. It’s good to see the cannons stick around.”

Chef-owner Dean Corbett has not released a reason for his restaurant’s closure. But in March, he told Courier Journal that he was implementing a lounge space in an effort to draw more casual customers.

“We were at the top of the scale for years,” Corbett said in at the time. “… We were a destination dining spot for upscale, special occasion dining. And we’re kind of feeling a mentality shift with the customers that they want to be able to get in and out a little bit quicker.”

For the time being, Corbett’s will continue to be open for private dining events. And the chef’s other restaurant, Equus & Jack’s, will take on many of the folded restaurant’s employees.

Reach reporter Bailey Loosemore at 502-582-4646 or bloosemore@courier-journal.com.

 

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