Copper Cellar announced today that Bruce Bogartz is closing his RouXbarb restaurant Dec. 31st and will join Copper Cellar as corporate chef overseeing culinary operations for all Copper Cellar brands. Press release after the break...
Chef Bruce Bogartz Named Corporate Chef for Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants
RouXbarb Restaurant on Northshore Drive Will Close December 31
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — December 23, 2013 — Chef Bruce Bogartz started his career as a dishwasher at Copper Cellar restaurant in Knoxville. There, he realized that — in spite of the crazy hours and frantic pace — he wanted to spend his life in a kitchen. That was 25 years ago.
Since opening his popular RouXbarb restaurant on Northshore Drive five years ago, Chef Bogartz has built a cult-following. His focus on fresh, local ingredients and seasonal food made him part of the farm-to-table movement before there was a farm-to-table movement. Bogartz will close RouXbarb on New Year's Eve to become Corporate Chef for the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants.
"This is an amazing opportunity," Bogartz said. "I'll get to apply the creative approach that people loved at RouXbarb to a larger, well-established brand with multiple locations. It's the kind of opportunity a chef dreams about."
The Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants operate 17 locations in Knoxville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Maryville and Lenoir City and includes the Copper Cellar, Calhoun’s, Chesapeake’s, Cherokee Grill Steakhouse and Smoky Mountain Brewery restaurants. For nearly 40 years, the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants have been known as "the taste of Tennessee".
Bart Fricks, Chief Operating Officer for the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants, said Bogartz is a special kind of chef who represents the future of the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants. "Bruce Bogartz understands the delicate balance between maintaining the core of our menu — the things people expect because we have been doing them better than anyone else for decades — and the new things that deliver a great, memorable culinary experience for our guests," Fricks said.
After serving as a Copper Cellar dishwasher, Bogartz graduated from the Philadelphia Culinary School. He worked as an Executive Chef for Warner Brothers in Aspen, CO and as a chef for HGTV before opening RouXbarb in 2008. His creations have received critical acclaim from Southern Living Magazine, Garden & Gun Magazine, the James Beard Foundation, AAA, and countless Tennessee publications. Chris Chamberlin of The Southern Foodie named RouXbarb one of the "100 places to eat in the South before you die" and the restaurant was featured in Garden & Gun Magazine as a "top 50 things in the South to eat". Bogartz was voted Metropulse "Best Chef" the last six years in a row.
Details of Bogartz's move to the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants include:
• RouXbarb Restaurant (130 S. Northshore Dr, Knoxville) will close December 31, 2013
• RouXbarb employees were notified and Bogartz is working with employees to find new jobs for them
• Bruce Bogartz will become Corporate Chef for Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants effective January 2, 2014
• Bogartz will serve as Corporate Chef for Calhoun's, Copper Cellar, Smoky Mountain Brewery, Chesapeake's, and Cherokee Grille Steakhouse.
Bogartz says the move to the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants is like a homecoming for him. "My first restaurant job was at Copper Cellar nearly 30 years ago," Bogartz said. "It's where I was first drawn to the kitchen. To come full-circle like this is pretty amazing."
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