Leading chef Kevin Thornton to close Dublin restaurant

Chef widely regarded as one of country’s best makes ‘sad decision’ to shut business in October

Celebrated chef Kevin Thornton is to close his restaurant on Dublin's St Stephen's Green at the end of October.

The chef, widely regarded as one of the best in the country, said the shock loss of his Michelin star last September had prompted him to make the "very sad" decision to shut up shop for good.

He plans to focus on cooking masterclasses from his Rathmines home and is developing a high-end corporate and wedding catering enterprise.

Thornton's lease in the five-star Fitzwilliam Hotel expired in July and, while he was given an option to renew it for seven years, he decided to go in a different direction. He and his wife Muriel spent some time looking for an alternative space but have been deterred by city centre rents, which they described as "bonkers".

Key money

They have also been put off by some landlords looking for “key money” of as much as €165,000 simply to secure a lease.

He told The Irish Times he had come to terms with the loss of his star, which he likened to being "stabbed in the heart", and said he had used the setback to decide what he wanted to do. "Negative energy doesn't produce anything good so why dwell on it if you don't need to?"

Restaurant vouchers

The restaurant will close on October 29th and Thornton said he was anxious word got out quickly to allow anyone with vouchers to use them.

“We were going to stay open until Christmas Eve but I have been working 18 hours a day for the last 30 years and I decided to take the break earlier,” he said.

The accounts for Conted Limited, trading as Thornton’s Restaurant, show it has been in trading difficulties in recent years. The latest available are for the 16 months to the end of 2014. They show at the end of that period the firm had accumulated losses of €25,750, down from accumulated losses of €79,260 at the end of the previous period.

The two directors, Kevin and Muriel Thornton, received pay of €222,541, having been paid €173,694 in the previous 12-month accounting period.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent