Photo of St. Jack courtesy Avila/EPDX
Aaron Barnett's acclaimed Lyonnaise bistro St. Jack has called it quits at its SE Clinton location. The Oregonian is first to break the news about the closure, which comes just days before St. Jack is set to open its much-anticipated NW location on Friday. (In August 2013, immediately following the expansion announcement, St. Jack assured east side fans that "We have no plans on shutting the original St. Jack. Not to worry.")
According to ChefStable's Kurt Huffman, the decision to close the Southeast location crystallized in the past two or three weeks. "As much as we love the neighborhood we were in, and the way it looked from the outside, the realities of what we were working in were just a nightmare," Huffman says of St. Jack's famously limited kitchen space and lack of air conditioning. "Once the real estate group that's bringing us over to NW showed us a space that Aaron really liked, we came to terms with how big it was going to be. We thought, all right, this is going to be a lot to chew, given the scale of the project: we're going from 45 seats to 90 seats, and that's a big animal. And the more Aaron thought about what he was finally going to be able to do in this restaurant, and once we digested everything and look into consideration the [Clinton] location and limitations of it, [we made the decision]."
St. Jack NW will open as scheduled this Friday, February 14. St. Jack made its Southeast debut in December 2010, and awards quickly followed, including Eater PDX's Restaurant of the Year Award in 2011 and an Eater Young Guns award for pastry chef Alissa Rozos in 2013. Whatever takes its place on SE Clinton will be a ChefStable project, though Huffman is currently in negotiations with the landlord to work out exactly what. More on that as it becomes available.
· St. Jack [Official site]
· All Previous St. Jack Coverage [Eater PDX]