Ryne – Donovan Cooke’s modern-French neighbourhood diner in Fitzroy North – has closed.

The celebrated Melbourne chef and restaurateur took to Instagram this afternoon to share the sad news with his online community.

“After much deliberation and reflection, we’ve made the tough decision to close Ryne,” the post reads.

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“We’ve experienced enormous highs and lows over the last five years, and this is not an easy decision to make. We do so with the comfort in knowing that we have had some of the best customers through the door and enjoyed every minute of it.

“Thank you to all our staff, supporters, suppliers and friends. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

When the St Georges Road diner opened in 2017, it was the first time the storied chef had fronted a restaurant in 14 years. And in its six-year tenure it’s remained one of the more upmarket places to dine on the strip, with Cooke serving beautifully presented French fare in a surprisingly intimate space – despite it being set in a big pitched-roof warehouse with timber rafters.

Prior to Ryne, Cooke worked for seven years in the background at The Atlantic, a high-volume restaurant at Crown casino. And between 1997 and 2004, he and his then-wife, Melbourne dessert queen Philippa Sibley, opened and ran Est Est Est, Luxe and Ondine, which were all sexy, refined and at the top of their field.

At other stages in his 35-year career, the Englishman ran kitchens at The Waterside Inn, The Savoy, Harveys and The Restaurant Marco Pierre White, all in London.


Additional reporting by Nick Connellan.