After a whirlwind couple of months, Kevin Kathman promptly packed up his knives--and staff--and left Jack's yesterday morning. Our review was published just two weeks ago. The implication when Kathman took over the kitchen was that he would one day take over ownership of the entire restaurant.
The first clue that something was amiss came yesterday when members of the media were alerted to a "new" menu begining tonight, featuring "neighborhood favorites."
Jason DeRusha is reporting on the newly minted TC Taste blog (guess calling it Dara & Co. would be out after this) that he spoke with Kathman, who expressed his displeasure by sharing some ugly accusations.
According to DeRusha, Kathman claims that the owner of Jack's, Jerry Nelson was running personal expenses through Jack's.
When I had dined at Jack's, Kathman had noted that the entire dinnertime staff had come in under his supervision. He was hoping to up the service and quality on every level by using a staff of his choosing. It looks like their loyalty to him continues, as he took the entire kitchen staff and four others with him when he walked out.
Nelson responded to us by saying, "Although the food was good, Kevin Kathman's kitchen model was not sustainable, and that forced us to make a change. In addition, we heard many suggestions to our neighborhood customers that they wanted more casual opportunities." The new menu reflects those changes in the burger and pizza options, replacing Kathman's more ambitious items.
Kathman's menu, born from the mind of a French Laundry alum, was incredibly ambitious for a neighborhood bistro. Kathman had also only just recently come to a sudden parting of ways with Kim Bartmann after working at Cafe Barbette and helping her open the Harriet Bandshell's Bread & Pickle and Pat's Tap.