Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan says he’ll reopen JuneBaby, his critically acclaimed restaurant that closed suddenly last summer when a majority of the staff walked out after The Seattle Times published an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct and unwanted touching.
On Friday, seven months after closing his restaurant in June, Jordan announced via Instagram that he is ready to reopen the Ravenna soul food eatery:
“As someone who has been taught to stay the course through all of life’s obstacles, I’ve always kept moving, growing, and learning. I’ll continue to do just that, but with a clear lens, and renewed purpose. The future is unknown, but i do know it’s time to reopen JuneBaby — a small, Black-owned family restaurant that is my livelihood and my purpose …
Over the past few months, I have spent countless hours with community and industry leaders who have provided mentorship, tough love, and guidance. We have worked endlessly to ensure JuneBaby has a rock-solid foundation in place to reopen.”
Ahmed Suliman, who helped Jordan open his first restaurant, Salare, in 2015, called Jordan’s Instagram statement “disgusting.”
“Great, it’s all about you again. Really? There’s 25+ people that you didn’t apologize to. As it stands, I hope no one goes to JuneBaby,” he said.
“I never want any person to close their business that they worked hard to open or lose food on the table for them or their family, especially a person of color, let alone a Black person who is one of the pillars of the community. I can’t discount all the good things he did for the community, but he could’ve said sorry to all the people he wronged,” said Suliman in a phone interview. “I just hope that people continue to remember and they don’t look up to him. There are other people of color that they can look up to … People make mistakes. They just need to say sorry.”
Jordan did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
The Seattle Times investigation into the accusations of sexual misconduct detailed the accounts of 15 women, including four who said Jordan groped them at work.
One said Jordan put his fingers between her buttocks through her clothes during her shift and tried to kiss her while on a business trip. One said he touched her crotch, and another said he slapped her on the behind. A fourth woman said he massaged her waist. A fifth woman said Jordan, her boss, subjected her to an unwanted kiss outside of work. Their accounts indicated that the actions took place between 2012 and 2017.
Ten additional women said Jordan, as recently as 2019, made sexual comments or frequently touched them in unwanted ways.
“He runs a business, and he needs to do what he thinks is best for his business. I would just hope that moving forward he reflects on what had happened and does things differently,” said Suzi An, a former employee and one of the women who accused Jordan of inappropriate behavior.
On the same day the story was published, Jordan issued a statement via his social media platforms that included a denial. In early July, he deleted that statement and issued a second apology, writing “my initial response was rushed and filled with the obvious emotion of defending myself which was not my intention,” and acknowledged that it had lacked “depth, empathy, compassion and humility.”
By the fall, all apologies had been deleted from Jordan’s Instagram.
Jordan had announced in June he would be closing his first restaurant, Salare, citing issues stemming from the pandemic. The restaurant had been set to shutter permanently July 3, but closed the same day as JuneBaby. Lucinda Grain Bar, Jordan’s boutique cocktail bar/lunch spot, had been closed since March 2020. An Instagram post from early June announced that a wall separating JuneBaby and Lucinda Grain Bar had been torn down, joining the two spaces, which would reopen for indoor dining together on June 16. Further plans for Lucinda have yet to be announced.