Award-winning Laforet will close on July 14
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Laforet, one of Pittsburgh's premier restaurants, is closing July 14.
Michael Uricchio, who co-owns the Highland Park restaurant with his brother, Robert, said they are retiring from the business and moving on to other ventures.
They're selling Laforet to Joseph Tambellini, executive chef at Franco's Trattoria in Dormont.
However, Michael Uricchio, 45, will continue to give cooking lessons to small private groups and Robert, 46, will continue his wine tasting events and wine cellar program.
The European-trained chef and his wife, Candace, originally opened Laforet in 1987. Six years later, they closed it. It was reopened with wine expert Robert coming on board.
Both men have been involved in the Pittsburgh food industry for 20 years, which includes the Vermont Flatbread Company and La Charcuterie.
That experience has served them well in operating their highly praised eaterie.
Laforet's many awards include Pittsburgh Magazine's Best Overall Restaurant, Best Chef, Best Service, Best French, Most Romantic and Best Dessert, Gourmet magazine's Personal Favorite and Wine Spectator Award of Excellent.
Michael Uricchio said their success is based on a simple philosophy of getting the best ingredients, including hormone-free meats, a good wine selection and dedication.
"We're one of the few restaurants where both owners are there every night," he said. "Everything's made from scratch."
However, such an operation can take a toll.
"It's no easy task and the hours are extremely long and you're always on your feet," Mr. Uricchio said.
"I'm to a point where I just want to spend time with my family," he said.
Mr. Uricchio has three children, ages, 4, 9 and 12, all of whom are involved in different sports and activities, he said. He also coaches a travel hockey team, which must sometimes trek as far away as Canada.
Mr. Uricchio said Laforet has a loyal clientele, who've expressed sadness at the closing but understand why he and his brother are bowing out.
First Published May 16, 2007 4:25 pm