The beloved “Chef in the Hat” Thierry Rautureau announced on Monday that he’s permanently closing his downtown French restaurant Loulay Kitchen & Bar.

With this closure, the James Beard Award-winning chef, who left an indelible mark on Seattle’s French dining scene, will no longer run any restaurants in Seattle since he also announced earlier this summer that he will close his Madison Valley bistro Luc on Aug. 28.

In both cases, Rautureau cited the financial strain of the pandemic as the reason for closing.

“Covid has been hard on a lot of us, and Loulay is no different. After been closed for over a year, we have decided to let it go,” Rautureau posted on his website on Monday. “We are very sad to have come to this decision and really want to thank all of you for your support over the years.”

Rautureau, who got his “Chef in the Hat” moniker from the fedora that never seems to leave his head, made a splash in the Seattle fine dining scene with Rover’s, his award-winning restaurant that ran for 25 years in Madison Valley until it closed in 2013.

Fans can check out his new airport project, Lou Lou Market & Bar, set to open in the fall at concourse B in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Rautureau could not be reached for comment on Monday afternoon.

In the note to his fans, the chef said he and his wife Kathy will take time to reflect on the future: “In the meantime, Kathy will stay focused on her floral design at flowerworks-seattle.com, and I will finally take the time to work in our garden. We have done the restaurant life for the last 34 years in Seattle and are looking forward to watching the next generation take it over and run with it.”