So much time and attention are given to a restaurant’s opening: Who’s the chef? How will the menu be different than everything that’s come before it? Who’s designing the space? Will there be craft beer or craft cocktails? We fill reservations books. We rush in to review. We Instagram furiously. But when a restaurant closes? The process is colder, quieter, and far less bombastic.
On today’s show — the last in our six-week series on Endings — chef Chris Jaeckle joins to share the process of closing his Italian-Japanese restaurant, All’onda. Opened to much critical acclaim in New York’s East Village, he and his partners closed it two-and-a-half years later. How did that process break down, and how did it make Jaeckle feel?
About Chef Chris Jaeckle
Chris Jaeckle, co-founder/executive chef of Uma Temakeria knew early on that he wanted to be a chef. Originally from Long Island, New York, Jaeckle attended Westbury Vocational School for the Culinary Arts throughout high school and he furthered his culinary career at Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island.
After graduating from Johnson & Wales, Chris began his New York City career at An American Place, and followed that experience with 7 years in Union Square Hospitality group, splitting his time between Tabla and Eleven Madison Park.
His interest in Asian flavors then drew Jaeckle to Morimoto, where he served as sous chef. Working to prepare sushi rice and compose temaki family meals for the staff, Jaeckle developed the precision and reverence for the process required of Japanese cuisine, experimenting with the many possible flavors and textures of temaki.
Chris joined Michael White and team at the Altamarea Group. Under Jaeckle’s direction as Chef de Cuisine, in 2011 Ai Fiori was awarded a Michelin star as well as a three-star review from The New York Times.
In 2013, he moved on to open All’onda as proprietor and chef, which has been heralded by Thrillist as one of New York City’s 11 Best Restaurants of 2014. Jaeckle was also named as Eater’s 2014 New York City Chef of the Year.
Jaeckle’s passion for Japanese cuisine led him to open Uma Temakeria. Which is the nation’s first fast-casual style eatery featuring fresh, customer designed temaki, cone-shaped “hand roll” sushi.