More on Vatra/Kitchen 56 Changes

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Bill DeGroot, the industry pro who was brought in to help revamp Arcadia's Vatra Grillhouse this past fall, confirms that he's still in the picture as a consultant for the new Kitchen 56, and that chef Peter DeRuvo has indeed left the picture for "a bigger opportunity" that hasn't yet gone public. DeRuvo's last day was New Year's Eve.

(As I mentioned yesterday, the unconfirmed word on the street is that DeRuvo will fill Claudio Urciuoli's post at Prado.)

DeGroot tells me that he decided to shutter the restaurant and actively search for a new chef. 

"I'm testing out four great candidates right now," he says, predicting that he'll name DeRuvo's replacement in the next week or so.

The restaurant's ownership remains the same, but otherwise, they're "almost working with a clean slate," DeGroot adds. He's also bringing on an "awesome" new GM.

Vatra Grillhouse got negative feedback from the get-go, both for poor service and terrible food quality. DeGroot promises that the upcoming changes -- a whole new staff and new menu -- will make Kitchen 56 "play well to the neighborhood."

Considering that the kitchen has a wood-fired grill, grilled foods and pizza will still be a focus of the comfort food menu, but whomever gets the chef gig will have "a lot of leeway" in shaping the concept. Entrees will primarily be priced under $20.

The beverage program will feature handcrafted cocktails that use fresh ingredients but "aren't too highbrow," DeGroot explains, and the wine list -- a mix of American brand and boutique labels -- will be aggressively priced. 

Meanwhile, the restaurant's interior will get a tweaking and softening in time for an early February opening.

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