Modern Mexican Restaurant El Jardin Expected To Unveil In San Diego's Liberty Station This Friday, June 29

June 25, 2018

One of the most vilified cooks in Top Chef history is almost ready to unveil her modern Mexican restaurant. From former Bracero chef Claudette Zepada-Wilkins and the hospitality group behind Breakfast Republic, El Jardin is anticipated to open in Liberty Station by week's end, offering an elevated, Abuela-inspired menu of regional Guadalajaran cuisine.

Johan Engman's Rise and Shine Restaurant Group - the hospitality collective behind Fig Tree Cafe, Breakfast Republic, Feast & Fareway at Coronado Municipal Golf Course, as well as incoming North Park Breakfast Company, Norpa Kitchen, and Casa Rustica & California Taco Club in Carmel Valley - is nearly ready to unveil its largest and most ambitious concept to date. El Jardin will celebrate Mexico’s vibrant flavors, offering 8,800 square feet of indoor and outdoor dining space in Point Loma's Liberty Station. The restaurant will include a 3,300 square foot bar and interior dining room as well as a 5,500 square foot, firepit-dotted outdoor patio.

Inspired by the flavors she experienced growing up between San Diego, Tijuana and Guadalajara, as well as during her travels throughout Mexico, Chef Claudette has constructed a menu of modern and traditional, regional Mexican dishes dedicated to the matrons of cooking. Dishes will be prepared using local products, including fresh caught seafood and organic produce from the restaurant's own onsite garden. Highlights from the menu include Res en Salsa Verde - confit beef belly served with chicharron, braised beef tongue, charred salsa and olla beans - and the roasted bone marrow and crispy octopus with lemon-lime vinaigrette, avocado crema and black bean puree. Housemade flour and corn tortillas will be made onsite to order. The bar will offer craft cocktails, local and Mexican beers, and a curated wine list that includes a large selection from Baja's Valle de Guadalupe wine country.

Before joining Rise & Shine in January 2017, Chef Claudette held a position as Chef de Cuisine, helping open and lead Little Italy’s highly-anticipated and now-defunct Bracero Cocina De Raiz in 2015 under the guidance of famed Baja celebrity chef Javier Placencia. Before that, she worked at hotspots such as at Sea180 and East Village’s Jsix, and has a plateful of experience as a sous chef, butcher, owner and pastry chef. Zepeda-Wilkins also was a contestant on Top Chef Mexico, followed directly by the most recent run of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 15, where she earned a less than savory reputation with her other cheftestants.

El Jardin is located at 2885 Perry Road in Point Loma's Liberty Station and is expected to open for dinner service this Friday, June 29. For more information, visit and check out the menu below.