Queensland’s most celebrated fine dining restaurant – Urbane – will close its doors permanently at the end of December. The same is true for its neighbouring sister restaurant, The Euro.
The decision to close the celebrated restaurants, which have consistently received the industry’s most prestigious accolades, has not been done lightly – but out of necessity.
Urbane and The Euro owner, Andrew Buchanan, has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The nature and progression of the condition has meant running two very demanding dining establishments has now become too much.
“I knew there was a time coming where I would have to draw a line in the sand. That time came this week. It breaks my heart, but it is time to call it a day,” Andy said.
Urbane and The Euro will open for the last time on December 25 to serve Christmas lunch. Staff, suppliers and stakeholders were told of the decision yesterday.
“There are going to be some tears over the next month all around,” Andy said. “We have the most incredible loyal customer base – some of which have been with us from the beginning – so saying goodbye is going to be really very tough”.
Andy said running restaurants in the current climate in Brisbane was very tough – which had further impacted his MS.
“It is no secret that it is a very very tough environment for restaurants in Brisbane at the moment,” he said. “With so many new restaurants and entertainment precincts opening up, the slice of the pie for existing restaurants is getting smaller. It is a relentless pressure that everyone in the industry is having to work through. Unfortunately, that pressure has a big impact on me physically, and this time I am not able to push through.”
Andy was first diagnosed with MS five years ago. MS is a condition of the central nervous system, interfering with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Andy said the progression of his symptoms meant he needed to step back from the high-pressure high-stakes task of running a multi award-winning eatery.
“It is not something I have shared or drawn attention to. However, the physical symptoms of MS are now obvious and make running the restaurants tough,” he said.
“I would like to thank the incredible team I work with – both in the kitchen and on the floor – who have gone above and beyond to support me and give 150 per cent every day.”
Urbane first opened its doors 18 years ago and developed an enviable reputation as one of the country’s best fine dining restaurants. During its time it has been continuously celebrated and awarded coveted accolades including being rated by Gourmet Traveller as the 12th Best Restaurant in Australia in 2014, 3 Chef Hats in The Good Food Guide in 2018, and Gault&Millau Australia's 14th Best Restaurant and 4 Chefs Hats in 2019.
Andy said he was proud of the prestige that Urbane continued to enjoy.
“Urbane has taken us on the most incredible journey and I am so proud of its evolution and its long-held mantle in the industry,” he said.
“We are also honoured to have nurtured some incredible talent in the kitchen who have gone on to do great things in their career under their own steam.”
Innovative and celebrated chefs who have been at the helm of the kitchen at Urbane and The Euro include its present Michelin star-rated chefs Andrew and Amelie Gunn, as well as Alejandro Cancino, Ryan Squires, Kym Machin, Ben Williamson, Alanna Sapwell, to name a few.
For the month of December, Urbane will do an extra service on Wednesday night to give everyone an opportunity to enjoy fine dining at its best.
Revered bistro, The Euro, was added to the stable 10 years ago with the massive renovation to the building, which saw a super kitchen constructed to serve both restaurants.
“Euro added such a wonderful dimension to the business,” Andy said.
“It quickly became a city favourite with a diverse clientele and many regulars enjoying the more casual atmosphere with an exceptional dining experience.”
Andy said the December closure date would give staff, suppliers and customers time to tie-up business, look for other employment opportunities and say a proper farewell.
“We will be contacting everyone with gift vouchers to make sure they are redeemed or refunded by the time we close. The month will also mean we can finalise accounts with suppliers and make sure we can help our staff as much as we can.”
The closure of the restaurants will open up the opportunity for a new operator to launch a venture in the premium location within a premium fit-out.