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Dec 10, 2012 02:03 PM

The End of Rover's

Will be looking forward to the next journey:

DECEMBER 10 2012

Dear Friends of Rover's

December 10, 2012
Seattle, WA 98112

Dear Friends of Rover’s:
After 25 years, Rover’s chapter is coming to an end in April.
Kathy and I are very grateful for all of you who have supported and shared with us some of your most precious moments over the years. Words are hard to find to thank all of you for believing in our vision and for your constant appreciation of our craft, so we will start with a big “Merci”!
Looking back at Rover’s ascent in the hospitality and culinary world over the years, it is still unbelievable, and even startling.
We have an enormous amount of gratitude for all the people who have participated in building this legacy, especially the customers, the employees and our purveyors.

We are turning over a new leaf, and we are moving onto exciting projects. We will keep you informed as things develop.
Sincerely Yours,
Thierry & Kathy Rautureau
Rover’s / LUC
PS: To correct some misinformation, here is a little clarification for all:
Rover’s is not moving; it is ending a 25 years legacy.
We are not putting Rover’s up for sale; we are turning the lights off.
LUC is not affected by these changes.
Yes, we are working on a new project we cannot talk about at this moment, but stay tuned with The Chef In the Hat….

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  1. This is just downright sad! Another trusted friend exits stage right.

    Really dislike the changes to Chowhound.

    1 Reply
    1. re: firecracker

      I could not agree more, with both points.

    2. Hi, frackle:

      Since you are the Channeler of Thierry...

      Thanks, Thierry, for the memories. I greatly enjoyed your food, and wish I could have afforded to dine there more than once a year. IMO, you priced yourself out of an exploding market. I hope it was good for you while it lasted. And I hope we meet again, perhaps over my coal-fired cookstove?


      7 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Which exploding market is that?

        Fine dining has been imploding for the last few years, one of the motivations to open Luc, and surely a factor here. Fine dining also takes more time and energy. No matter how many hours the cooks put in, TR puts in more, with a smile. If anyone deserves a vacation, it is this guy.

        1. re: babette feasts

          Hi, Babette:

          That would be the exploding market of number and value. Hence (in a way) the implosion of what you call fine dining. It is a finite space.

          I'm not critical of Thierry--he's a great guy, very talented and extremely hardworking. He's deserved every bit of his success, and all our thanks. I hope for everyone his well-deserved vacation is short.

          Apropos of your handle, what I am lamenting is my (admittedly limited to an average of 1x/year) experience that I had no epiphanies at Rover's akin to what your namesake revealed to Martine, Philippa, Lorens et al. in far-off Jutland.

          But I also greatly value your opinions, and so will defer to your greater experience at Rover's.


          1. re: kaleokahu

            Epiphanies can be hard to find. I'm not sure I had any in two visits to the dining room, but there may have been some revelations in the kitchen.

            I really respect Thierry's commitment to keeping Rovers fine dining. He did experiment with brunch for a while, and instituted the 4 course bistro menu to be more affordable, but at the core he stuck to his vision.

        2. re: kaleokahu


          I am a big fan of your posts, but I don't think evidence exists that the closure is a result of financial failure. Do you know something we don't know?

          The owners are clear in the announcement that they don't wish to sell, and that they are birthing a new project after a 25 year run of the original concept. That doesn't seem (to me) like the end of an operation that failed (after pricing itself out of an imploding market).

          Maybe I am missing something, but I never had the impression that Rover's was under-booked.

          1. re: Gizmo56

            Hi, Gizmo:

            No, no special knowledge here about the circumstances. I hope the operation was hugely profitable.

            But I sense in closings like this (cf, Le Gourmand, Adriatica, Labuznik) a mix of ennui and foresight, and my focus was on the latter. There's been a quantum leap in the sheer number of better restaurants, many of whose chefs are good, and several who have Thierry-like talent. A powerful case can be made that cuisine is now predominantly a media-driven fashion trend, and the Hot/Not distinction gives owners the vapors (and eventually a bankruptcy lawyer). Who could blame Thierry for what might be an early trade-in?

            I also have the sense that we may be seeing more of Thierry on TV.


            1. re: Gizmo56

              Hi Again, Gizmo:

              You be the judge making the evidentiary ruling on the following fact just learned: Rover's is accepting the 2013 Passport Lifestyles card, basically a BOGO. I think it is generally recognized as true that participating better restaurants, e.g., Etta's, Ray's Boathouse, Il Bistro (all of which I like), etc. participate because they are not full houses.


              1. re: kaleokahu

                I will be the first to agree that is certainly a negative indicator, Kaleo. Thanks for the information.

                It surprises me, but I'm not at Rover's often enough to really know how the patronage is holding up. That is certainly a big clue.

          2. Oh, the memories. My friends, my family and I wish you all the very best. Your restaurant, your vision and your impeccable hospitality are/were legendary.
            I hope your future endeavors, whatever they may be, are met with great health and prosperity.
            You will be truly missed.

            1. What a shame. Rover's carried the torch for high-end French in these murky waters. Each of my meals there was impressive. I will have to book a dinner before April.

              1. Every time I dined at Rover's I always marveled at how much work must have gone into each dish. The complexity and depth of flavor was always stunning to me. Loved eating there but I certainly can understand why Thierry Rautureau might be ready for a new chapter.