Famed San Francisco chef cuts ties at 2 restaurants, new project in works – SF Gate

Celebrated San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardins is no longer overseeing the menus at Arguello and the Commissary, two restaurants housed in historic buildings in the Presidio.

Des Jardins said Thursday the decision to end the partnership with Bon Appetit Management Company and the Presidio Trust, which owns the properties, was due to a change in the leasing structure.

“The Presidio Trust decided to change the leasing deal and didn’t want to go forward with the previous structure we had,” said the James Beard Award-winning, French-trained California chef. “Obviously there were other circumstances due to COVID but at the end of the day that was the driver.”

The Presidio Trust confirmed in a statement it’s transitioning to a new leasing structure and is seeking new tenants to reopen the restaurants as soon as possible. The trust owns the restaurant names and it’s unknown whether these will carry over in new partnerships.

“We look forward to expanding food offerings for our park visitors when the pandemic eases,” the Presidio Trust said in a statement. “Future opportunities include two restaurants at the brand new Presidio Tunnel Tops which opens in October.”

The trust also ended its partnership with Des Jardins and Presidio Foods Catering and is announcing a new partner next week that it said will “serve its venues and catering customers in the current pipeline and for the future.”

Both Arguello and the Commissary opened in the Presidio National Park in 2014 and have been closed since the city of San Francisco issued a stay-at-home order in March 2020. Des Jardins said the two restaurants and catering business employed about 200 staff.

Arguello served Mexican specialties drawing from Des Jardins’ heritage in the converted officers’ club at the Presidio, and Commissary specialized in Spanish-influenced California cuisine.

Des Jardins said she plans to reopen Public House, which she operates in partnership with Bon Appetit, at Oracle Park and School Night, the cocktail bar in the Dogpatch.

“I have another project in the works,” said Des Jardins, who competed on season 3 of “Top Chef: Masters.” “I’m not ready to talk about it.”

Des Jardins bid farewell to her flagship restaurant, the elegant Jardinière, in 2019; the Hayes Valley establishment helped define a new style of fine dining in San Francisco when it first opened in 1997, according to the New York Times.