Nikki Cooper, second generation owner and operator of Two Jack’s Nik’s Place, announced on Instagram on July 9 she sold the remainder of her lease at the 45-year-old Lower Haight restaurant. July 14 will be the last day of service for the legendary business. She writes that she’ll begin a new chapter in her career as a program director for the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, and that Two Jack’s Nik’s Place staff will get the opportunity to work at the 984 Gilman Avenue sister location Two Jack’s Seafood in the Bayview. The news is a heavy blow considering everything Cooper has done with the restaurant since taking ownership in 2006.
Opened in 1977, Two Jack’s Nik’s Place is known for decadent Southern food like snapper burgers, catfish filets, and jambalaya. In 2013, Cooper was awarded a Certificate of Honor from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, in recognition of carrying on her family’s business and bringing live jazz back to the neighborhood. Cooper steered the restaurant to its August 2016 Legacy Business recognition, and in 2017 she brought her garlic bread prawn po’boys to NBC’s “Today Show.” To complete her victory lap, in 2019 the NAACP named her Entrepreneur of the Year. She also wrote Chocolate Covered Gratitude With Blessings on Top, a children’s book, and shot a cooking video with Danny Glover — no big deal.
Neither Cooper nor any representative for Two Jack’s Nik’s Place could be reached before publication. A new restaurateur will enter the space after July 14 and, according to Cooper’s post, “bring a new and vibrant energy to the Lower Haight.”