The award-winning Michelin-starred West Stoke House, near Chichester, West Sussex, has closed after seven years in business.
Owner Rowland Leach, who ran the eight-bedroom restaurant with rooms with his wife Mary, said that while the operation was busy, it did not make enough profit to make a living.
"We have had an absolutely fantastic time here, but it just wasn't viable," he said. "In a way we were a victim of our own success. We were busy, with 40 weddings a year and a successful fine-dining restaurant, but the figures didn't add up."
Head chef Darren Brown recently announced that he was leaving West Stoke House to join the 10 in 8 Fine Dining Group to head up the New Angel restaurant in Dartmouth, Devon. Many of the rest of the 17 staff have already found new jobs, with five of the team joining the Leachs in their new venture, a delicatessen-restaurant in Chichester.
Joel Massey, senior sous chef at West Stoke House is to join the business as head chef, while Mike Abrahams, junior sous chef at West Stoke House, has been appointed sous chef.
Leach added: "We came into the industry seven years ago after a career in advertising and we have now got the bug for it and want to take what we have learnt from West Stoke and put it into our new business, which will not be a fine-dining restaurant, but will be all about beautiful, simple food and fabulous baking."
The new venture will open in early March 2011 in a Georgian property, with a contemporary interior, following a six to seven-week refurbishment. West Stoke, a former dower house to the Goodwood estate at the foot of the South Downs, is to return to a private residence.
By Janet Harmer
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