Ferndale's Torino, known for its prix-fixe tasting menu by applauded chef Garret Lipar, has served its last dinner.
"This week were visited by the health department and together we have determined that it is no longer possible to continue serving a menu of our caliber due to the current size of our facility," the statement said on Friday, adding an apology to diners who have been unable to get a reservation.
Torino owner Noah Dorfman clarified his social media post to The Detroit News.
"The health department was doing their normal inspections and they came across an epiphany all of a sudden that they felt we didn't have enough cold storage space," Dorfman said. "There were two decisions, in their opinion. We could dumb down our menu and pre-make our food, which was something we did not agree with."
Dorfman said the other option was to close, which is what he decided to do, along with Chef Lipar and beverage director Ian Redmond.
"Instead of letting them rip apart everything and dictate what we're going to do, we just decided we were going to stop."
Dorfman also addressed rumors that he and Lipar and Redmond were not getting along — "our relationship is stronger than ever" — or that Torino was forced to close by Oakland County Health Department.
Health department officials declined to disclose any details Monday when contacted by The Detroit News.
"No one shut us down. It wasn't dirty or anything like that. In fact, they told us our restaurant was one of the cleanest restaurants they've seen. Everything was being done perfectly, but this cold storage issue was a huge issue for them.
"Anyone who knows about Torino knows our kitchen was smaller than most people's closets and the level of food we were able to do was unbelievable and we were proud of that."
Torino was often booked days in advance and a credit card was required to hold a reservation.
In February, Lipar was one of four Michigan chefs named as semi-finalists for the 2015 James Beard Awards —considered the Academy Awards of food by many.
Dorfman declined to discuss whether his next venture will be in southeastern Michigan or not. He did seem discouraged by some people complaining about Torino's prices.
"If we were in any other city we'd be charging $200," he said. (A multi-course tasting meal at Torino was priced around $90.)