Farewell Feast Celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert Shuts Doors on Jacksonville Culinary Icon

Farewell Feast: Celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert Shuts Doors on Jacksonville Culinary Icon

Celebrity chef Kenny Gilbert of Jacksonville abruptly closed Silkie’s Chicken & Champagne Bar, citing “the end of an era.” This was nearly four years after the upgraded Southern comfort food concept was introduced in downtown Springfield.

On social media on Monday night, Gilbert announced the restaurant’s temporary closure. The eatery was well-known for its artisan chicken, handmade drop biscuits, and creative champagne cocktails.

He noted that a number of difficulties over the previous nine months had resulted in the difficult decision to close the well-liked eatery at 1602 Walnut St. at 6th Street.

“The last 9 months have been challenging, to say the least. Reduced guest traffic, inflation and employee turnover played a key part in this closure as well as some other personal issues,” Gilbert wrote on Facebook and Instagram.

On November 3, 2020, Gilbert and his spouse Anna launched Silkie’s in a brick structure shaded by trees that was previously Bleu Chocolat Cafe and Three Layers Cafe.

The eatery swiftly rose to prominence as a popular spot for dinner and breakfast. Oprah Winfrey, a mega-celebrity, loves Gilbert’s Flavor Bomb sandwich, which was the highlight of the menu.

Farewell Feast Celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert Shuts Doors on Jacksonville Culinary Icon

At Oprah’s New Year’s brunch in 2022, the sandwich—which had a smokey fried chicken thigh, truffle gouda drop biscuit, orange blossom honey, and Fernandina Beach Hot Sauce served with a variety of pickled vegetables—was a smash.

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After failing with his own restaurants, Gilbert continued to be Winfrey’s buddy and former personal chef.

Additionally in 2022, Silkie’s gained national notoriety when Champagne Bureau USA, a Washington-based organization, listed it among the top 10 bars and restaurants in the country.

Gilbert became well-known across the country after competing in Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 7 in 2010.

This solidified his reputation as a celebrity chef and enabled him to open a number of restaurants in Northeast Florida, including Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen in Fernandina Beach, Gilbert’s Southern Kitchen & Bar, and Gilbert’s Hot Chicken, Fish & Shrimp, all located in Jacksonville Beach.

Gilbert, who writes cookbooks, just opened House of Birds + Drop Biscuits in Miami. Gilbert serves as Grove Bay Hospitality Group‘s vice president of culinary operations and is based in Miami. Gilbert also sells a range of spice blends.

Gilbert congratulated Silkie’s employees, clients, and the community as he announced the store’s closing.

“We took pride in serving our community and appreciated every single guest that set foot through the doors. … We worked extremely hard to serve you and we thank you for the opportunity,” Gilbert stated.

Gilbert also provided information on how to get Silkie’s gift cards reimbursed.

With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.