Cayenne shut its doors on Sunday after some 24 years based in Belfast city centre.
Paul Rankin said that "disturbances around the flag protests" during the Christmas period had "confirmed" the decision to shut.
“We’ve enjoyed a very loyal and supportive relationship with our customers over all these years and hope that they will bear with us while we find the right location to reestablish our restaurant," he said.
“The lease at our current location has now come to an end and, given the change in the Shaftesbury Square area over the last number of years, it doesn’t make sense to undertake the necessary investment required to continue to operate there at this time.
"The once ‘golden mile’ of Belfast has suffered badly from a lack of regeneration and a general decline in popularity and appearance.
"Location is key in the restaurant business, particularly at a time of economic downturn, and our current setting is no longer sustainable.
"The disturbances around the flag protest, particularly during the Christmas period, also confirmed our decision."