Charlie Trotter's Online Auction for Final Items Draws Bargain Prices

By Paul Biasco on February 14, 2013 5:57pm | Updated on February 15, 2013 1:10pm

LINCOLN PARK — The remaining unsold items from the acclaimed Charlie Trotter's restaurant are again for sale, but prices remained at rock bottom toward the end of the opening day of bidding.

In an online auction that went live Thursday morning, most of the 744 items from his now-shuttered restaurant at 816 W. Armitage Ave. had no bids on them. Most had opening prices of $10, including China, cookware and tables, and there is no reserve price on any of the items.

A Jade wood-burning range on wheels had a $23 bid on it, while a sub-zero wine cooler had a $70 bid. Among the highest-priced items was a "Viennese secessionist settee," which had a bid of $110 Thursday afternoon.

Bidding ends at 5 p.m. Feb. 25.

In December, Trotter halted the proceedings of a live auction at the closed restaurant after only about 10 percent of the 1,500 items he had then put up for sale were actually sold. 

Other items were receiving bids that were far less than Trotter thought they were worth, including the famed "chef's table" that had been in the kitchen of the restaurant but went for just $400, according to the Tribune.

"Charlie Trotter changed the way restaurants did business in his 20 years. The guy is a driven man, and the [original] auction was hard on him," said Scott Bowers, president of Auction Consultants, which is handling the current auction. "It was emotional for him, and it’s his stuff so if he wanted to do that it was his prerogative."

However, Bowers said this auction will continue to the scheduled end Feb. 25 regardless of the final bids.

After 25 years and countless awards, Trotter closed the restaurant and said he planned to go back to school to get a master's degree in philosophy at the University of Chicago this spring.

The last meal held at Charlie Trotter's was a pop-up reception in November for fellow chef Norman Van Aken in honor of Van Aken's book, for which Trotter wrote the forward.

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