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Friday, June 5, 2009

Ex-Jeanty at Jack's GM Faces Potential Hurdles in Efforts to Revive Historic Eatery

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 2:55 PM

click to enlarge Can the old Jeanty at Jack's give rise to a new Jack's? - RAZORPSYCHE VIA FLICKR
  • razorpsyche via Flickr
  • Can the old Jeanty at Jack's give rise to a new Jack's?
Efforts by the former general manager of shuttered Jeanty at Jack's to open a similar restaurant in the historic building are looking 50-50, according to Luc Chamberland. "I think there's still a possibility we can work something out," said Chamberland, the former GM, though he acknowledged being at the whims of a bleak market.

On Monday, Chamberland met with ex-Jeanty at Jack's chef and owner Philippe Jeanty. Jeanty owns the three-story Victorian at 615 Sacramento. The restaurant closed May 22 after months of declining business. He reportedly wants to sell the property for a figure Chamberland described as between $3 million and $4 million. For his part, Chamberland is seeking to lease the building and open an oyster bar featuring historic dishes from the original Jack's with what he called "a new twist." To do that, the former GM would need to find what he called a "strategic partner."

Chamberland told SFoodie he'd like to take two of the three floors of the old Jeanty at Jack's, reducing capacity from 140 seats down to 60. The one-time manager of the Hog Island Oyster Co. at the Ferry Building and Nick's Cove on Tomales Bay said the ideal mix of diners for what he plans to call Jack's Oyster Bar would be 40 percent business customers, 40 percent local residents (with an emphasis on a younger, more diverse clientele), and the rest made up with private events.

The original Jack's existed in the building on Sacramento from 1864 until the 1990s. It was revived, only to close again in 2000 when Jeanty acquired the property. Jeanty at Jack's launched in 2002.

"That is San Francisco history," Chamberland said of Jack's. "The building belongs to Philippe, but the restaurant belongs to San Francisco. We've got to somehow keep this place alive."

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