RouXbarb, a popular West Knoxville restaurant, will close New Year's Eve. Its award-winning owner, Chef Bruce Bogartz, has accepted a position as a corporate chef.

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Chef Bruce Bogartz has decided to close his west Knoxville restaurant RouXbarb on New Year's Eve.

Copper Cellar restaurants announced Monday that Bogartz will join their team as corporate chef. Bogartz started his career in restaurants as a dishwasher at Copper Cellar in Knoxville, which inspired him to become a chef.

"My first restaurant job was at Copper Cellar nearly 30 years ago," Bogartz said in a Copper Cellar release. "It's where I was first drawn to the kitchen. To come full-circle like this is pretty amazing."

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But before Bogartz closes RouXbarb's doors, the chef is working with employees to find new positions. He will officially start as corporate chef for Calhoun's, Copper Cellar, Smoky Mountain Brewery, Chesapeake's, and Cherokee Grill Steakhouse on Jan. 2.

Bogartz said this opportunity is a dream come true.

"This is an amazing opportunity," Bogartz said. "I'll get to apply the creative approach that people and food critics loved at RouXbarb to a larger, well-established brand with multiple locations. It's the kind of opportunity a chef dreams about."

Before opening several restaurants in Knoxville, Bogartz was a chef for Warner Bothers Record Company for six and a half years. At one point, he was even a chef for Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith.

When he moved back to the area, Bogartz opened his own restaurant in the L&N building. He also worked for Regas at a restaurant called Harry's. Next, he opened Bogartz, which closed five years later. He then left, came back, and eventually opened RouXbarb. Bogartz also opened a barbecue restaurant in West Knoxville called RouXbarbeque, which closed in April 2010.

Copper Cellar restaurants operates 17 locations in Knoxville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Maryville and Lenoir City. The restaurant chain has been in business for nearly 40 years.

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