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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

SF's Cost of Doing Business Helped Doom Jeanty at Jack's, Says Chef Philippe Jeanty

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 10:54 AM

SF institution Jeanty at Jack's closed Friday night
  • SF institution Jeanty at Jack's closed Friday night
Chef Philippe Jeanty blamed the cost of doing business in San Francisco for Friday's closure of Jeanty at Jack's, one of the city's oldest restaurants. The announcement that the Sacramento Street restaurant would cease operating came late Friday afternoon, surprising many. This morning, Jeanty suggested to SFoodie that the bleak economy -- coupled with city-mandated business expenses -- combined to kill off the eatery.

"I went back and forth on it," said Jeanty, who was not present for Friday night's final dinner service in San Francisco. "Just the way the economy is going, and the specific things that the politicians are doing in San Francisco, just makes it too expensive to do business there." The chef cited Healthy San Francisco, as well as the city's 2007 paid sick leave law, and the minimum wage boost (to $9.79 per hour) that took effect earlier this year. "The politicians seem to come up with something new every week," said Jeanty, who said he plans to focus his attentions on Bistro Jeanty, his brasserie-style restaurant in Yountville. None of the San Francisco staff is transferring to Yountville.

According to former SFoodie contributor Robert Lauriston, the restaurant opened in 1864 as Jack's, and was rebuilt in the same location after the 1906 fire. In the 1990s, Jack's was shuttered for a restoration that lasted nearly two years, closing again in December 2000 when the building was put up for sale. It languished on the market in the years after the dot-com bust, but Jeanty eventually purchased the property in early 2002 for $2.9 million. The French-trained chef reopened it in early 2002 as Jeanty at Jack's, with a menu that fused Parisian brasserie cooking with classic San Francisco recipes.

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