Charlie Trotter Honored on Eve or Retirement

City gives legendary chef honorary street

Renowned Chicago chef Charlie Trotter closes his restaurant Friday after 25 years, but not before the city gave him a farewell gift.

City officials unveiled the "Honorary Charlie Trotter Way" Thursday near Armitage Avenue and Dayton Street.

Trotter announced on New Year's Eve that he was closing his acclaimed Lincoln Park restaurant during a party celebrating 25 years in business. His take-out business, Trotter's To Go, was supposed to remain open but closed in July.

Trotter attended the ceremony with his mother, his wife and his staff.

"I love what I do, I pinch myself every day that I get to do this for a living, but on the other hand, one must change their way," Trotter said.

Trotter may be hanging up his apron, but his legacy lives on in the many chefs that have passed through his kitchen -- accomplished chefs in their own right like Grant Achatz, Graham Elliot and Giuseppi Tentori.

"They were nine long years, but in a good way, because I learned so much," said Tentori, who is the executive chef at Boka and GT Fish and Oysters.

"He pushed me harder than I could ever push myself, and he gave me so many opportunities that I never know existed," said Sarah Worsham, executive director of the Art Smith Company.

The chef says he plans to go back to school to get a master's degree in philosophy.

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