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UC San Diego’s Theatre District is Site
of Region’s First Wolfgang Puck Restaurant

Judy Piercey | September 22, 2008

Jai Restaurant ribbon cutting (Photo / Victor W. Chen)
UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox (left) looks on as chef Wolfgang Puck and philanthropist Joan Jacobs cut a ribbon to open Jai, a new restaurant on the campus' theater district.

Austria-born über chef Wolfgang Puck regretted never having the opportunity to go to college. But on August 20, he announced “Now I can say I go to UC San Diego!” at the official opening of Jai by Wolfgang Puck in the university’s Theatre District, next to the La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Forum.

The internationally renowned chef noted, “Jai is the perfect addition to a city that already celebrates diversity and a variety of cultures. Both the menu and dining room design are fun, contemporary and rich with flavor—just like La Jolla Playhouse. We are excited to partner with them to offer San Diegans the opportunity to enjoy fresh Asian cuisine along with the performing arts.”

Thanks to the diligent work of UC San Diego friends Joan and Irwin Jacobs, fomer La Jolla Playhouse managing director Steven Libman and many others, theatre patrons can enjoy an Asian fusion menu at Puck’s first restaurant in San Diego. Joining in the restaurant’s August ribbon cutting ceremony were Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, Chef Puck, Joan Jacobs, San Diego City Council President Scott Peters, San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and Ralph Bryan, chairman of the La Jolla Playhouse Board of Trustees.

Jai Restaurant (Photo / Victor W. Chen)
A patron samples Kurobuta spareribs.

Yoshinori Kojima, executive chef for Jai and former executive chef at Puck’s Red 7 in Los Angeles, ensures a world-class dining experience by fusing rich Asian tradition and flavor with contemporary culinary trends. Working closely with Puck, Kojima has created a diverse menu with dishes ranging from miso sake broiled butterfish to crispy Cantonese duck.

Beyond the plate, guests at Jai can enjoy a modern ambiance designed by architect Martin Vahtra of PROJECTS architectural and interior design firm. Vahtra also designed Red 7 for Puck plus Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club in Las Vegas, and the Time Hotel in New York City.

Jai (pronounced “Jay”), whose name draws both on the Thai word for “heart” and references the Chinese good luck dish, is a part of Wolfgang Puck Catering. In addition to the full dining experience offered at the restaurant, there is also a “grab and go” menu featuring paninis, sandwiches, salads, pastries and more at the WP Cafe located adjacent to Jai in the Theatre District. Jai offers full on- and off-site catering throughout San Diego.

Jai is open 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Mondays; WP Café is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., weekends during theatre matinees. For reservations and additional information, call (858) 638-7778.

Jai filmstrip
See what other restaurants are opening on campus.

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