After a tumultuous few months, it looks like Jack's Cafe will close its doors for good.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Matt Perry, the Nicollet East Harriet Business Association (NEHBA) president, broke the news via Twitter writing, "Jack's (46/Bryant) formerly Java Jacks is closing this Friday (4/27). As far as I know, a non-food business will be replacing it."
We visited Jack's Cafe in February, after chef Kevin Kathman, who got his start under famed chef Thomas Keller at French Laundry before coming to work at Barbette and other local restaurants, was hired to take control of the kitchen and bring his refined touch to all areas of Jack's menu. The ambiance, experience, and light-handed plates of gorgeously sculptural food all showed great promise, and confidence in the revamp of the former coffee shop was running high.
But just a few weeks later, Kathman abruptly left Jack's after staff and vendors complained that Jack's owner, Jerry Nelson, was late making payments and that checks they did receive bounced. On further investigation, Kathman says he found receipts and documentation indicating Nelson was using restaurant money to pay for personal expenses.
The same day Kathman and his kitchen staff decided to walk out, the restaurant sent an email to its list subscribers stating "neighborhood favorites" were back. Since then, Jack's has struggled with its identity, pushing private room rental, interior suite office space, offering grab-and-go lunch, and going back to highlighting the coffee bar.
As recently as April 12 the restaurant announced "new faces in the kitchen," but unfortunately its efforts to reinvent weren't enough to keep the neighborhood eatery afloat.