Meanwhile, chefs such as Achatz — of award-winning Chicago restaurants Alinea and Next — became so avant-garde, Trotter's menus seem almost dated. And the very organic and seasonal philosophies he'd spearheaded had become commonplace.
In 2012 — and in keeping with his reputation for bold, unexpected moves — Trotter closed his iconic 120-seat restaurant. His plan? Return to college to study philosophy.
"The one thing it will do for me is let me wipe a certain slate clean. And while I'm studying and reading and applying myself to something else, if I decide to come back to the restaurant world, I think I'm going to bring a different perspective," he told The Associated Press in an interview last year.