A pioneer of the Emeryville food cart scene is heading for the exit. Jon Kosorek says Saturday is the last night for Jon's Street Eats, a cart that since August 2009 has served up Kosorek's brand of New American street food. The former chef of Fork in San Anselmo and executive chef at Jeanty at Jack's in S.F., who also spent time at Terra in St. Helena, is taking a job as chef at an existing restaurant in the Napa Valley, a place Kosorek says he can't yet divulge the name of.
Kosorek has spent nearly four years trying to open his own brick-and-mortar in Oakland, but found the starting costs too steep. "It's about finding the funding and finding the location," Kosorek tells SFoodie. "The places I was looking at needed $200,000 just for the lease, and by the time you opened you'd need $500,000-$600,000," he says. In July he told SFoodie's Tamara Palmer that he was seeking investors for a brick-and-mortar, even as his cart was growing in popularity.
Being on the street brought its own difficulties, most of them bureaucratic.
"When I started there was nobody really doing it in Oakland," he says, outside of the vendor zone in Fruitvale. Emeryville proved more hospitable, though by September, some restaurant owners accused Jon's and other mobile vendors of unfair competition. Now, Kosorek says, he's focusing his energies on getting back to Napa, where he got his start back in 1997 at the CIA at Greystone.
"I'll be going from the street to listening to crickets and drinking wine on the porch at night," says Kosorek, who says he's like to sell his cart to the right vendor. "If I don't find that person, 'll probably just keep it," he says.
The last outing for Jon's Street Eats is Saturday night at Piedmont Avenue and 51st Street. Anyone serious about acquiring Kosorek's cart should e-mail him at email@example.com.