Melbourne fine diner Ezard has shut its doors after more than 20 years in business.

Chef Teage Ezard confirmed the news on Instagram. “For many months, we have been evaluating, reshaping and planning for exciting new projects to come in early 2021,” reads the post.

“We have had a fantastic 20 years on Flinders Lane and I am very grateful for the experiences I have had and when I reflect back I feel very proud and honoured to have served so many happy people.”

The chef thanked current and past staff, as well as suppliers and customers.

Ezard told Good Food, he had now achieved what he set out to when he first opened his eponymous venue in 1999. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made already tough trading conditions even harder, Ezard said a number of reasons were behind the decision including the lease expiration.

The business is exploring casual dining options and “experiential ventures” with new projects on the horizon next year. In the meantime, Ezard’s younger sibling Gingerboy, which opened in 2006, will continue to operate and is set to reopen for dine-in trade on Tuesday 16 June.

Ezard was hit with allegations of underpayments in early 2019, when it was alleged both Ezard restaurant and Gingerboy paid chefs as little as $15 an hour through the use of excessive unpaid overtime.

A Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) spokesperson told Hospitality, “The Fair Work Ombudsman has assisted employees of Ezard and Gingerboy to recover unpaid wages and entitlements. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further. Any workers with concerns should contact us directly for assistance.”

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