Well known Savannah Chef Roberto Leoci has closed Leoci's Trattoria at 606 Abercorn - it won't reopen - and will be leaving his position at Pacci Savannah inside The Brice Hotel within 60 days to make a move to New York City. "I'm going to miss everybody," Leoci said. "Savannah is very special to me and always will be." Leoci came to Savannah from Miami to work in what, at the time, was Savannah's best Italian restaurant, Il Pasticcio, at the corner of Bull and Broughton. While he was there, he got to know a young lady, a student at SCAD, who enjoyed sitting at the bar after school working on her homework assignments. Roberto and Lacie Leoci were married in 2005 with a plan to open their own restaurant. Leoci's Trattoria opened on Abercorn Street downtown in December 2009. The Leoci's model was a mom and pop trattoria. Small and manageable. The kind of place where the regulars were greeted by name. "I want to have the kind of place where I am in my dining room every night," Roberto said at the time. "Savannah is the right size to have a great neighborhood trattoria." With only 40 or so seats inside, reservations were a must. It was the kind of popularity that fed off itself. A line of products including cured meats, jellies and jams followed. The Leocis set out to make Roberto a household name. There wasn't a camera or a microphone he shied away from. Charity function? Absolutely. Food and wine festivals up and down the East Coast? No problem. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more. He was everywhere. There was a line of frozen pizzas he promoted at Costco stores. There were privately catered events in Florida. All of it pulled his attention farther and farther away from his bread and butter, his restaurant. Leoci's Trattoria became a shadow of what it had been. At the same time, Kimpton Hotels was opening a new property on Bay Street at Houston. They wanted a local figure to head their restaurant. Leoci got the job. All the while, Roberto and Lacie Leoci prepared for divorce. "The struggle was over two years," he says. "I tried hard to hide it well and keep the smiley face." That divorce was finalized the first week of December. Meanwhile, Leoci's Trattoria cruised on reputation and unsuspecting tourists not realizing that it wasn't the spot it once was. Leoci's Trattoria shut its doors the first week of December with a sign on the door: "Closed for renovations." It will never reopen. Roberto Leoci is moving to New York City. His line of products, he said, will live on in this area. "We are in Whole Foods and in Kroger here. They are produced in Statesboro. That will stay," he said. "But I am bringing more production with me to the Tri-State area." Leoci's tenure as executive chef at Pacci Savannah will end in March as well. "I've never lived in New York. I know a ton of people there," he said. "I'm not going there to be rich. I'm going there to show what I can do. I'm like that guy getting on the bus to go to Hollywood to see if I'm gonna make it." Taking over at Pacci Savannah will be Dusty Grove, an extraordinarily talented chef who understands not only the vision for "coastal Italian" cuisine, but also the Savannah marketplace. Grove has had a heavy hand in that kitchen already and was a major influence on its new menu, which rolled out in December. That property is in very good hands. This all sounds like quite an obituary. Not at all. Leoci sees this next chapter in his life as a celebration, as well he should. As he tells it, this is where he wanted to be all along, rubbing elbows with celebrity chefs from coast to coast. He thinks New York City will offer him an easier path than he had here. Meanwhile, this city will remember Roberto Leoci as a popular, if not generous and talented, chef who ultimately grew eyes a little bit bigger than Savannah would stomach. Few will question his talent. But it doesn't matter who you are or in what field you ply your trade. If your desire isn't in lock step with that talent, then it's time to go. Truth be told, some of the best meals I've had in Savannah were at Leoci's Trattoria, and that is saying something. Unfortunately, some of the worst meals I've had in Savannah were at the same spot. That's unfortunate. Leoci said he is in the process of finalizing his plans on where he will be and who he will be working with, so he can't talk about them now. "My heart will always be here. I'm gonna miss everybody," he said. "I'm sure everyone can understand - you need a break sometimes."