* Artisans at the Ritz Carlton Naples is closed indefinitely. Currently the room is being used for private functions.
* L'Escalier at The Breakers is only open seasonally, from November through May
* The Restaurant at the Four Seasons Palm Beach is closed for the summer
* Only Victoria & Albert's at WDW is still open year-round, obviously kept afloat by tourist dollars brought in by the lure of Disney/Universal/Sea World.
It looks like Florida isn't alone. Tuscon's only Five Diamond restaurant won't be reopening after its summer hiatus. (from the Arizona Daily Star) The end of the article reads like a eulogy for fine dining:
It once was that when a restaurant garnered the AAA Five Diamond award, it was a near guarantee of customers. The award, given rarely, is a mark of sublime cuisine, service and ambiance.
But the closure of the Ventana Room follows a trend of five-diamond restaurants closing around the country.
In Phoenix, the tony Mary Elaine's at the Phoenician Resort closed and reopened as a steakhouse, albeit one with a James Beard Award-winning chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, at the helm. In Scottsdale, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort's five-diamond restaurant, Marquesa, closed two years ago. In Boston, Aujourd'hui, the fine-dining restaurant at the Four Seasons, closed late last spring.
I wonder how many will be left by November when AAA releases the 2010 winners. I wonder whether the era of conspicuous excess is coming to an end for good. And I wonder if the rich have finally stopped getting richer while the poor get poorer.