Chow Bella

End of an era: Michael's at the Citadel closes

High hopes: Chef Michael DeMaria and business partner Brandon Maxwell at the future site of two new restaurants

So it was true after all.

A month ago, I'd gotten word that chef Michael DeMaria would be closing Michael's at the Citadel to make way for a new restaurant venture. When I contacted him about it, though, he told me that lease negotiations were still ongoing and that he had nothing in the works, no plans to close the North Scottsdale eatery he and partners Brandon Maxwell and Harlan Berman opened in 1997.

But according to a press release this morning, today marks the official end of DeMaria's lease there. Now, he and Maxwell will focus on two new developments that will occupy 6,500 square feet of the plaza level at the new Centerpoint Condominiums in Tempe, just off Mill Avenue.

Trattoria M will showcase DeMaria's signature Italian cuisine, and will feature a wine cellar and "wine aficionado room," a lounge bar with casual dining, and a private "chef's table" room, in addition to the main dining room. And right next door, Centro will be a sprawling market and deli, where you'll be able to grab a coffee or some gelato, a bouquet of flowers, or a fresh loaf of bread, along with grocery staples.

Along with his new businesses here, Chef Michael is working on a TV reality show pilot, and is also developing a second Trattoria M, two other restaurant concepts, and a satellite catering business in Park City, Utah.

Trattoria M and Centro are scheduled to open in the spring of 2008.