Suzanne Tracht is a driving force in the Los Angeles culinary scene and has built one of the most beloved and successful restaurants in Los Angeles, JAR (short for Just Another Restaurant). A beacon of stability that draws inspiration from classic American comfort cuisine, JAR is a pilgrimage for foodies and wine lovers from across the country. Opening in 2001 with the help of her longtime Chef de Cuisine Preech Narkthong, Tracht’s modern American chophouse continues to receive acclaim for its timeless setting, exceptional steaks, braises, and seasonal sides—including her sumptuous signature pot roast. Dubbed “The Queen of Meat” by locals and critics alike, Tracht is at the at the forefront of female chefs and restaurateurs in a classically male-dominated industry.
With a retro-modern décor and flair of a timeless Supper Club (you’ll remember it from the scene in La La Land when Emma Stone ditches her date to meet Ryan Gosling for dinner), JAR has become an indelible part of the city’s culture. Utilizing the finest local ingredients, Chef Tracht delights in taking classic chophouse dishes—deviled eggs, blue cheese wedge salad, and prime steaks—and updating them for a California sensibility. “Traditional steakhouses don’t base their menus on the season, but it’s the backbone of our dishes at JAR, we source everything,” says Tracht. The menu offers seasonal appetizers and salads, with an emphasis on braises, grilled meats, and seasonal seafood, supplemented by an array of sides and traditional sauces. During the holidays, JAR is as well-known for Passover Seder as it is for Thanksgiving dinners which feature Tracht’s chopped liver with schmaltz and her matzo balls in lemongrass consommé.
Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Tracht started her culinary journey as many chefs do—from the bottom up. As a teenager, she held an apprenticeship under her mentor Chef Siegbert Wendler at the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. After completing her apprenticeship, Tracht relocated to Southern California to work in the kitchen of the prestigious Hotel Bel-Air. In 1992, she became chef de cuisine at Nancy Silverton and Mark Peel’s famed Campanile. After several years there she left to embark on her first solo venture as executive chef at the Cal-Asian restaurant, Jozu. In its debut year, Jozu ranked number two for “L.A.’s Best New Restaurants” in Los Angeles magazine. Tracht then branched out on her own to develop the steakhouse concept, JAR. “I wanted to create a steakhouse that felt nostalgic and familiar, like those I enjoyed with my family growing up, but with an updated modern menu and feel,” says Tracht. “A place where there’s a sense of community both in and around the restaurant.” Tracht was named among Best New Chefs by Food & Wine in 2002 for her achievement with JAR.
Garnering widespread attention for years since its opening, JAR regularly wins praise from the press, including the late, great Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold where JAR has held a coveted spot on his eponymous “101 Best Restaurants in LA” every year since the list’s inception. “Tracht’s gift lies in her ability to reproduce the old tastes within a modern context,” wrote Mr. Gold, “so that the sautéed pea tendrils with garlic make as much sense as the creamed spinach, the duck-fried rice as the mashed potatoes, and the char siu-style pork chop as the prime filet mignon.” JAR also received a three-star review from former Los Angeles Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila. In a Patric Kuh 2017 profile of Tracht, Los Angeles magazine headlined – “Let’s take a moment to appreciate the enduring brilliance of Chef Suzanne Tracht. Kitchens can be brutal, but she’s stuck it out long enough to know how to survive.” Twice featured on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate, Tracht’s pot roast and char siu pork chop were selected as all-time favorites. For years, JAR has been among Los Angeles magazine’s top 75 restaurants list. Other accolades include The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit, Saveur, Food & Wine, Gourmet, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Confidential, Angeleno, Haute Living, Elle, InStyle, Zagat, and Eater.
Tracht was a cheftestant on season one of Top Chef Masters on Bravo and has appeared on Hell’s Kitchen, Man vs. Child Chef Showdown, Today, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, and E!.
Chef Tracht continually donates her time to charitable organizations and events. Her generosity of spirit has been recognized by some of the region’s most prominent organizations, including SOVA (a community food and resources program of Jewish Family Service of LA), C-Cap (Careers Through Culinary Arts Program), LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade, Project Angel Food, No Kid Hungry, and Cedars-Sinai Women’s Heart Center. Suzanne has received peer recognition for her work, participated in Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit, and has cooked multiple times at the prestigious James Beard House.
In her spare time, Suzanne lives in Los Angeles with her family, and her cats and dogs. She balances out the pressures of running a busy restaurant with swimming, hiking, riding her bike at the beach, and hanging out with her two children, Ida and Max, who grew up doing their homework at JAR.