It helped make Ludlow famous for its culinary expertise, but from next week the lure of the Merchant House will be lost forever.
When Shaun Hill first proposed to transform a prominent Jacobean building in the centre of Ludlow into a restaurant he was met with a storm of protest.
There were fears the drains wouldn't cope, there would be parking problems and a petition was put together in an attempt to scupper the plans.
It would have been a grave mistake if the town had listened to its residents because months later it was basking in the glory of having its first Michelin star.
Mr Hill had his way, converted the Grade II listed building into a tiny restaurant and had whipped up a storm with culinary critics, including the Michelin inspectors.
Since then, the Merchant House has been named 14th best restaurant in the world and has lured other culinary talents to the town, including Hibiscus and Mr Underhill's at Dinham Weir, which has one Michelin star.
But next week the much-loved Merchant House will close forever and be turned back into a house.
Despite Mr Hill's attempts to sell the building as a restaurant, after more than six months on the market no one wants to take it on - even for the relatively reasonable price tag of £550,000.
"I have quietly come to terms with the fact it is not going to happen. It is a pity, it makes no difference to me personally, but it would have been nice for the restaurant to carry on," he said.
"I will stay here in the medium term, it is a bit large and it will be funny coming down to what was the aftermath of a business and find there are sofas where tables used to be.
"We have had a lot of nice letters from people who have come here over the years saying that they are sorry it is closing and wishing us the best, it is quite touching.
"I close on February 26 and I have received planning permission to return it to a house and come March 1 that is what I will do.
"People came and looked but they were really the sort of people I didn't think would make a go of it. This place would only really work for a couple - one has to cook and the other does front of house."
Mr Hill was hesitant to admit his restaurant had propelled the town's reputation for food onto the world stage, but it is clear the success of the Merchant House helped.
"Now and again we get awards, one was naming us 14th best restaurant in the world and that is absurd," he said.
Mr Hill bought the Merchant House in the spring of 1994, turning it into a restaurant later that year.
He has been a one-man band in the tiny kitchen of the Merchant House since leaving his post as head chef at Gidleigh Park in Devon ten years ago. His ambitions to open a larger premises has led to him putting his restaurant on the market, although he hasn't decided where to move.
"Almost certainly I will do another restaurant and my expectation is I will do something slightly nearer to Birmingham or Coventry."