Malarkey's Gabardine Closes Its Doors in Point Loma | Enlightened Hospitality Losing Steam in San Diego

January 8, 2013

In the wake of the 'soft' opening of Herringbone at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles on New Years' Eve, we've received information from a Gabardine insider that the Point Loma seafood house has shuttered early on in 2014, closing its doors for good after service this past Sunday, January 5.  Chef Brian Malarkey and nightlife entrepreneur James Brennan's Enlightened Hospitality Group has seemingly lost its stronghold on the San Diego restaurant scene, with 5 restaurants dwindling to 3 in less than a year's time.  Has the fabric brand of restaurants become too big for its britches or "too LA" for San Diego in 2014?!?

Chef Brian Malarkey
Chef Brian Malarkey was all the rave about town in 2012. Looking back, the former Top Chef alum could do no wrong, opening 5 successful restaurants in the span of a year and getting a prime time role as judge/mentor (with the likes of Anthony Bourdain) on ABC's The Taste, which his team ended up winning.  It seemed like the sky was the limit for San Diego's 'favorite chef,' but 2013 wasn't as kind to Malarkey.

Gingham, his La Mesa BBQ fusion restaurant, closed and was taken over by The Cohn Restaurant Group to make a second Bo-BEAU.  To make matters worse, his judgeship wasn't renewed for the second season of The Taste, and his San Diego restaurants didn't fill as many seats as they once did.  We had suggested that the group spread itself too thin with the opening of a Herringbone in LA and Searsuckers in Austin, TX and Scottsdale, AZ (which also closed this week after being open only a little more than a year).  Were we right?

Now with news that Gabardine will soon close its doors, it's becoming apparent that the Malarkey name doesn't carry the weight it once did in America's Finest City.  Is it that other eateries are catching up to the casual/classy trend of social dining taking over San Diego? Or that maybe the Malarkey brand is merely shedding dead weight in order to focus on successful locations in other cities, as we've also heard rumors of a fabric restaurant to open in San Francisco?

Will the Malarkey empire fail or thrive? We can't wait to see the answers that 2014 brings. Regardless, cheers to new beginnings!

Gabardine on Urbanspoon