Chef Traci Des Jardins Is Closing Groundbreaking Flagship Jardinière

by Caleb Pershan | Eater San Francisco

After more than two decades, it ends next month

Foundational Hayes Valley fine dining restaurant Jardinière will close next month after 21 years in business. The restaurant is “pretty healthy,” but “not thriving” chef/owner Traci Des Jardins told the New York Times, who broke the sad news.

Jardinière’s final dinner service will be held on April 27. After the restaurant closes, Des Jardins will turn her attention to her other restaurants — The Commissary and Arguello, partnerships with the Presidio Trust, as well as Mijita, School Night, and Public House.

Des Jardins, a James Beard Award-winning chef, opened Jardinière with then business partner and swanky restaurant designer Pat Kuleto in 1997. Hayes Valley was downtrodden; off the beaten path. She was just 32 years old, but exuded confidence and charisma.

And Jardinière was a hit: In its early days, amid a heady, booming economy, dinners were “balls-out crazy,” according former executive chef Robbie Lewis. Portions were gargantuan; matched only by tips. The restaurant weathered economic downturns and upswings, and all the while, Des Jardins promoted an impressive list of chef alumni.

“I’m so proud of this place and what it is and the food we serve and the service and the people who work here,” Des Jardins told Eater SF.

Rather than revamping the restaurant, which she considered doing over the last three years, “I’ve examined [the idea] very carefully, and at the end of that process, I said, ‘this restaurant is awesome.’ It opened in this graceful, amazing way, and I don’t want to change it, I want to close it the way I opened it.”