In a surprise post on Instagram, chef Traci Des Jardins announced Saturday that her highly-anticipated El Alto restaurant served its last dish just a day earlier, after only six months in business, as first reported by Palo Alto Online. Des Jardins wrote, in part, “It has been incredible to operate in Los Altos where the interest, excitement, and reception to the restaurant blew me away. It was a wonderful experience to again work alongside Chef Robert Hurtado, as well as the amazing kitchen and front-of-house staff that worked to bring this concept to life.”
A spokesperson for Des Jardins and Bon Appetit Management Company declined to comment on the reason for the closure Monday morning, and a message on the El Alto website confirmed the closure with a note reading, “Thank you to all that have supported the restaurant through this time, especially our wonderfully supportive guests and our staff.”
El Alto opened on March 24 and offered “seasonally and ingredient-driven Mexican cuisine” that delved into Des Jardins’ childhood near Fresno and her maternal grandparents who immigrated from Mexico. El Alto was one of the restaurants attached to the year-old State Street Market, a massive food hall with an all-star lineup of chefs including Des Jardins, Srijith Gopinathan of Ettan, and chefs Meichih and Michael Kim of Maum.
The James Beard Award-winning Des Jardins has led a number of successful restaurants in San Francisco, many of which have shuttered in recent years. Her most well-known, Jardinière, focused on French-influenced cuisine and shut down in 2019 after 21 years in business. Mijita Cocina Mexicana at the Ferry Building followed and closed in January 2020, after its lease was up; Commissary and Arguello in the Presidio both shuttered permanently in 2021, after furloughing 130 employees at both restaurants in March 2020. Hurtado previously worked with Des Jardins at Arguello before joining her as chef at El Alto.