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The Trellis to be sold to Blue Talon owner

The Trellis  After 29 years, 6 million meals and a constellation of honors, The Trellis Restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg has been sold.

The new owner, David Everett, owner of The Blue Talon Bistro , promises to maintain the current staff, seasonal menus and accent on chocolate and decadent desserts that have made the restaurant a destination for epicures.

The Trellis co-owners, Marcel Desaulniers and John Curtis, will turn the restaurant over to Everett at month’s end. In 2004, Everett opened the Blue Talon Bistro, a Colonial Williamsburg eatery that specializes in "serious comfort food." Before that, he was the top chef at Ford’s Colony Country Club.

blutalonwilliamsurg The Trellis will be "in the brilliant hands of a skillful chef and restaurateur," said Desaulniers, who has known Everett since the 1970s when they worked in food service for Colonial Williamsburg.

"He’s got a long history here in Williamsburg, he’s a good marketer, and people know him," Desaulniers said.

The Trellis opened in 1980, amid a recession.

trellis2 "It was a slow climb," Desaulniers recalled, until the 1983 Summit of Industrialized Nations brought world leaders – and national and international press – to the area.

"That’s what seems to really have gotten the ball rolling," Desaulniers said.

In Merchant s Square, the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, the restaurant continued to draw diners from around the world. In 1988, Desaulniers wrote "The Trellis Cookbook " so tourists could attempt to re-create Trellis meals at home.

deathbychocolate Then came "Death by Chocolate," the cookbook that won the James Beard award and catapulted Desaulniers and The Trellis to fame. The namesake seven-layer dessert, at $6.75, remains on the menu.

"It’s really the tail that wagged the dog for so many years," Desaulniers said. "People make pilgrimages to Williamsburg to have Death by Chocolate."

They still can.

When Desaulniers, 64, leaves the restaurant, he’ll turn his attention to Mad About Food, a restaurant consulting firm he will run with his daughter, Danielle Desaulniers, who like her father is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and experienced restaurateur. He doesn’t rule out another cookbook but does rule out retirement.

"Sixty-four is the new 44," he said. "Maybe even 34."

trellis bar John Curtis, Desaulniers’ partner, is owner of the Bookpress bookstore in Williamsburg and recently retired as chairman of the Williamsburg Community Foundation. He will turn his attention to community activities.

Under the ownership of Curtis and Desaulniers, the Trellis has won numerous national and international awards.  Executive Chef Desaulniers, who has written 10 cookbooks, helped put the Trellis on the culinary map with Death by Chocolate and the eponymous TV series on The Learning Channel.  He is also the recipient of a Julia Child Cookbook Award for Desserts to Die For, and James Beard Awards for Best Baking Book (Death by Chocolate), Best Pastry Chef, and Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic.  Desaulniers was also recognized on Food & Wine Magazine’s Honor Roll of American Chefs.

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Click for details on how to Get a FREE bottle of wine when you dine at the Trellis  Thru Oct 2, 2009

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