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Ghibellina chef Jonathan Copeland cooked his last meal at the 14th Street NW Italian restaurant on Wednesday. Now, he has his sights set on opening a place of his own.

“It was just time… I felt like I really accomplished what I wanted to accomplish when I took the job there,” says Copeland, who worked at Society Fair and Palena before helping to open Ghibellina more than two years ago.

Copeland plans to volunteer for Miriam’s Kitchen for now. He’s still in the early stages of putting together a business plan and looking for investors for his own restaurant. Although he’s staying mum on most of the details, he says the place won’t be Italian—or serve pizza. “It’s going to be casual,” Copeland says. He doesn’t want the place to be so chef-driven that he’s “stuck in the kitchen hammering away at a cutting board all day long, which is what I found myself doing a lot at Ghibellina.”

A rep for the restaurant says chef-owner Ari Gejdenson will be spending more time in the kitchen now that Copeland is gone.

“They’re in good hands,” Copeland says.

Photo courtesy Jonathan Copeland