As covered in the Detroit Free Press late this afternoon — and, earlier, Eater Detroit — Ferndale's Torino will close permanently after Saturday night.
It's a strange and unexpected end for the restaurant one local magazine had just declared the best of the year. A joint message from owner Noah Dorfman, chef Garrett Lipar, and beverage director Ian Redmond was posted on the eatery's website. It read:
This week we were visited by the Health Department and together we have determined that it is no longer possible to continue serving a menu of our caliber due to the current size of our facility. The overwhelming response to our concept and team has been beyond anything we could have imagined and we sincerely apologize to anyone who has been waiting to dine with us or unable to get a reservation. We look forward to the future and continuing to share our passion for food and drink with all of you.
We want to thank everyone for all of the encouragement and support during the last two years. It has been a wonderful journey with our amazing team and each of our loyal guests. We have contributed to a reinvention of the dining experience in this region, and we know the best is yet to come!
Contacted in person by a reporter from Eater Detroit, Redmond said "the eatery could no longer move forward in the small space with its closet-sized kitchen."
Despite the joint statement, and the way everybody is sticking to the same story, it's a tale that's sure to leave many scratching their heads in this town. Owner Noah Dorfman developed a reputation as an owner who was extremely protective of his restaurant. Chef Lipar had generated national attention. It would seem that a successful restaurant stymied by technical problems or space constraints could retool, relocate, find new investors … anything but tell the public and the press, "It's over."
At this point, however, whatever more there is than that which meets the eyes will have to wait. In the meanwhile, it seems diners have just 24 hours to enjoy our very best restaurant.