The Dining Room to close doors

The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead is shutting down Oct. 1, a victim of high operating costs in a down economy and changing dining habits of its patrons, according to Jon McGavin, general manager of the hotel.

During its 25 years of serving hotel guests and upscale local diners, The Dining Room gained more accolades than any restaurant in Atlanta. It was the only restaurant in the Southeast and the first of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC to receive the prestigious Mobil Five Star Award in 1997.

The small, second-floor restaurant, which sported a hunt-club décor, maintained its awards and industry acclaim, but a change in dining habits and rising costs in recent years became increasingly challenging, according to the announcement by the hotel. A dinner for two at The Dining Room could easily exceed $300, a luxury many diners would forgo in the recent down economy.

“We greatly appreciate the significant contributions of our distinctive and esteemed chefs, Guenther Seeger, Joel Antunes, Bruno Ménard, and especially our current chef, Arnaud Berthelier,” said McGavin. “Their names will always be synonymous with The Dining Room.” Actually, Berthelier had his resignation the week before the announcement of the restaurant closing.

The hotelier said it has no immediate plans to open a different concept in its place.

Spa Sydell files for Chapter 11 protection

Sydell Inc., operator of Spa Sydell, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Atlanta’s first day spa, the company was founded 27 years ago by Arthur and Sydell Harris and now operates six locations.

The company reported assets of $5 million and liabilities of $4.3 million, including $1.8 million owed to BB&T.

Launched in 1982 in Buckhead as Sydell Skin Care Salon, the company did so well that the family opened a second 2,800-square-foot location at Cobb Galleria in 1984 and expanded its services to include massages and manicures. By 1990, customer demand necessitated moving the Buckhead branch, now called Spa Sydell, across the street to a 3,800-foot new location at Buckhead Plaza, which the company has since expanded twice. The Galleria Spa Sydell also moved to Cumberland Mall that year. A third Perimeter location opened in 1995, followed by Gwinnett Place (1997), Alpharetta (1998), Midtown at Brookwood Plaza (2001) and Forum at Peachtree Parkway(2003).