After less than two years, James Beard Award-winning chef Jonathan Waxman’s eponymous restaurant in Ghirardelli Square, Waxman’s, is no more. A representative for Ghirardelli Square confirms that both Waxman’s, and his newly opened fast-casual chicken spot JBird, have both permanently closed.
In August, Waxman launched a fast-casual chicken restaurant in what was formerly the cafe portion of Waxman’s, focusing on the signature roasted chicken at his NYC flagship Barbuto, fried thighs, and more. According to Yelper Robert E., JBird has been closed since Labor Day at least.
JBird was intended as a “permanent pop-up,” according to the Waxman’s team, a test run of the chef’s popular chicken concept, and a stop-gap moneymaker during Waxman’s closure for renovations, which started August 1.
Waxman’s opened in March of 2016 as an anchor tenant for Ghirardelli Square following its purchase by Jamestown, the development group behind projects like Chelsea Market in New York and Atlanta's Ponce City Market. It was intended to leverage NYC-based Waxman’s history in the Bay Area (he grew up in Berkeley, and cut his teeth at Chez Panisse under Jeremiah Tower) and celebrity chef status to bring locals (and tourists) back to the square, which has lost its cache in recent years.
Located in the Mustard Building, overlooking the Square and the Bay, the restaurant tackled a complicated opening in an historic space, as well as the pressure of bringing back a once vibrant area for dining. Its massive size — a 6,500 square-foot space divided between a 110-seat restaurant and a 75-seat fast-casual cafe and an outdoor patio for 60 — made it an ambitious project for the out-of-the-way location.
JBird’s addition in August took over that cafe space, whittling the restaurant down significantly, and turning the patio into a “rosé garden” for fried chicken enthusiasts. Renovations to the main dining room at Waxman’s were intended to give the room a cozier feel, while extending and revamping the bar area.
No word yet on what will might go into the vacant space in the historic Mustard Building. Eater has reached out to Waxman’s team for more information on the closure; stay tuned for more details.