After 29 years on Merchants Square, the Trellis Restaurant has been sold to David Everett, owner of Blue Talon Bistro on Prince George Street.
Trellis co-owners Marcel Desaulniers and John Curtis said in a statement released late Tuesday night that Everett will take over beginning October 30. “Until then, John and I will be actively involved with the restaurant, making sure that each person served has the best experience possible,” said Desaulniers.
The economy was not to blame for the sale, although the statement did point out the Trellis’ successful run began in 1980 during a recession.
Desaulniers, also Executive Chef for the restaurant, said, “Our lease renewal was coming up in a year, and we thought this would be an excellent time to pass the torch. With David Everett, the Trellis is in the brilliant hands of a skillful chef and restaurateur.”
“We are thrilled that David plans to maintain the Trellis tradition of excellence in food, wine and service,” said Curtis, who oversees the front of the house, the award-winning wine list and business operations. “We are grateful he recognizes the value of the Trellis brand and expertise of our current staff.”
Everett agreed to keep the current staff along with the seasonal menu changes. The restaurant will also continue to feature chocolate and its signature “decadent” desserts.
“I am honored that Marcel and John agreed to the purchase, providing me with the opportunity to continue such an iconic establishment,” Everett said. “The Trellis is a benchmark by which all other dining facilities in our area are judged.”
The Trellis has won numerous national and international awards. Desaulniers has written 10 cookbooks including the famous “Death By Chocolate,” published in 1992, named for his famous dessert. In 1993, the cookbook won the James Beard Best Baking and Desserts Cookbook Award. Marcel’s television cooking series, “Death by Chocolate,” based on his book premiered in September 1993 on The Learning Channel. He has also received a Julia Child Cookbook Award for Desserts to Die For and additional James Beard Awards for Best Pastry Chef and Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic, as well as being recognized on Food & Wine Magazine’s Honor Roll of American Chefs.
Desaulniers will be switching gears slightly, opening a new company called MAD About Food which will focus on quality control, cost containment, and menu development for the restaurant and hospitality industry. His daughter Danielle (also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and who has honed her skills at top restaurants in New York City and San Francisco) will be his partner in the business.
Curtis, who owns the Bookpress, plans to spend more time on community activities, according to the statement. He recently retired as chairman of the Williamsburg Community Foundation and is active with other arts, health, and civic boards. “Helping our community to be a phenomenal place to live is one of my greatest passions,” he said.
The Trellis recently started the new fall menu – the 116th menu since the restaurant opened in November 1980. Since that time, Desaulniers and Curtis have served over 6 million meals.