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Jardinière Chefs Leave San Francisco for Seattle

Keeping talent in the city is proving difficult

Ellie and Morgan Mueller (right) with The Butcher's Table wine director
Ellie and Morgan Mueller (right) with The Butcher's Table wine director
The Butcher's Table

Chef Morgan Mueller, who was credited with reinvigorating Jardiniére's menu a few years back, and his pastry chef/life partner Ellie Mueller have left the San Francisco restaurant where they met for the greener, more rainy climates in the Pacific Northwest. As Eater Seattle reports, the Muellers will open The Butcher's Table, a high-end, modern steakhouse with a focus on American Wagyu beef raised by the restaurant's owner the Sugar Mountain and their subsidiary Mishima Reserve.

Sugar Mountain proprietor Kurt Dammeier believes his new team has a chance to set themselves apart in the Emerald City: "Not that there aren't great chefs here," Dammeier, told Eater Seattle, "but there aren't very many great chefs who are used to working in a bigger format, in a bigger kitchen, with lots of people and lots of moving parts." While Jardiniére may have set the tone for Hayes Valley, Dammeier sees the Muellers' new project setting the tone for Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood — one that, like San Francisco, is currently seeing a huge influx of tech workers.

In a similar move, chef Suvir Savan — who was supposed to open Indian restaurant American Masala in Mid-Market — has just opened Tapestry in New York City, a globally-minded concept with influences from France, India, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, and more.

While it's unclear exactly why the Muellers left SF, Savan himself pointed to the "unanticipated complications and endless delays" of opening a restaurant in San Francisco, something that has been at the forefront of many recent industry discussions around the topic. Between health inspector shortages, no dedicated city restaurant permitter, and the rising costs (and shortage) of labor, it's becoming ever clearer that San Francisco isn't the friendliest of cities to restaurateurs.