Those in the industry have been waggling tongues about this one for awhile, but there hasn't really been anything concrete to report, until today.
I sat down with Jack Riebel last week and he confirmed for me that, as of today, he is no longer a part of the day to day operations of Butcher & the Boar and his ownership shares have been bought back by the other partners. Peter Botcher will be taking over as head chef. Riebel will continue on in his consulting role with the Joe's Garage project, which has undergone some ideation changes and will NOT be called Triton when it eventually launches this summer. After that, he's open to whatever comes and has a few irons in the fire already. For right now, he and his wife are traveling.
The staff was told shortly before New Year's Eve, and if you look at the website's sum up of the year, the last line "We're here for you and that's one thing that will never change" seems a bit telling. Riebel said the split was friendly, that they all remain friends (in fact Tim Rooney happened to walk by the off-campus table we were sitting at, and the two hugged, smiled, and laughed), and it just seemed like the right time for everyone.
To be quite frank, I think B&B has lost a force. Riebel is one of those chefs who works, and works hard, in his kitchen. All year you've been able to see him cooking on the line, which is harder and harder to find in top restaurants. I think Botcher is a nice guy, and I'm open to see what he does, especially in the wake of the place being named a Top 20 New Steakhouse by WSJ ... but he has big shoes to fill.