Smith Street one-hat restaurant Huxtable will close on February 28.
Co-owner Dante Ruaine says the combination of intense competition on the strip and the demands of their burgeoning spin-off business, Huxtaburger, prompted their decision to close.
"It's been emotional," he says. "Without this business, none of the other stuff would have followed."
Along with partners Daniel Wilson and Jeff Wong, they'll be rostering themselves on for shifts over the next few weeks to farewell Huxtable regulars.
Since opening in August 2010, the smart-casual restaurant has helped start a wave of gentrification on the strip – and a mania for jalapeno and cheddar croquettes.
Ruaine estimates they've sold 85,000 croquettes. "Someone making bechamel for the croquettes probably has RSI."
The croquettes, along with Korean barbecue pork ribs with spicy slaw, were menu fixtures from the start.
The partners will now focus on their Huxtaburger chain, which has grown to five outlets – Collingwood, the CBD, Prahran, Hawthorn and Eastland (Ringwood).
Ruaine has not ruled out another restaurant venture in the future. "If it's anything, it will be in the CBD."
Huxtable is the second Smith Street restaurant in a week to announce its closure.
Adam Liston has sold Northern Light, at 102 Smith Street, which will close in late March. He plans to open a bar-eatery in Bourke Street, Melbourne.