Klaus Georis

Chef Klaus Georis

What happens when a fine dining chef buys a wood-burning oven? We’re about to find out.

Klaus Georis, who shut down Maligne abruptly, plans to reopen in two weeks. And it promises to be more interesting than the first go round. 

Potentially adding wood-fired pizza is not an indication that he intends to transform the restaurant into a pizza parlor. Although he admits that “everybody loves pizza,” at the same time, Georis has been sampling lamb dishes and other recipes. 

“We’re still trying to stay true to our nature,” the chef says.

Georis’ commitment to quality ingredients and Michelin star technique quickly established Maligne as one of the best restaurants in Monterey County after it opened in the summer of 2022 on a corner of Broadway Avenue in Seaside. It also felt a bit out of place as a fine dining destination.

He shuttered the restaurant at the beginning of March, knowing it had been a critical success. Now, along with sous chef Austin Falls, he is honing the concept.

“Rather than try to prove any culinary point, why don’t I give people what they want?” he observes.

That said, the new Maligne looks to make a culinary statement, something unique to the area. “Neighborhood” fits, but does not define the idea. There is a space where the refinements of an occasional restaurant share a kinship with accessibility and everyday.

He is shedding aspects of the original concept. Gone will be the 20 percent service charge, as well as the deposit required with a reservation. And he plans to add lunch service. The attentive technique and exquisite layering of flavors—those remain.

Maligne will keep the name, too, as well as the smart decor and the wood-fired grill. So where does the pizza oven fit in? He may source toppings for the pie at farmers markets. The menu, however, will be more expansive.

At the same time, Georis indicates the new Maligne will more resemble “a normal neighborhood restaurant and grill.”

It’s just that Georis’ normal demands the finest, as well. So when it reopens, the restaurant promises to be unique.

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