Brian Metzger is closing his 5 1/2-year-old, financially troubled Jax Kitchen on the northwest side and opening a new restaurant in the foothills.

On Feb. 21 — Metzger's birthday and the day his second wife could give birth to the couple's first child — he will open Poppy Kitchen in the space that used to house Janos Wilder's J Bar at La Paloma Resort, 3770 E. Sunrise Drive.

The space has been vacant since Wilder closed J Bar and its more upscale sibling Janos next door in May 2012. 

The last day for Jax will be Feb. 16 — four months earlier than Metzger had planned to close when his lease at 7826 N. Oracle Road expires. Jax was his first restaurant.

"I wish we had made it to the end of June, but unfortunately I couldn't make it at that corner," Metzger said.

Metzger Family Restaurants also owns The Abbey, 6960 E. Sunrise Drive, which has been open three years; and Gio Taco, which opened last fall at 350 E. Congress St., at the Cadence student housing complex downtown.

Read the full story in Thursday's Star.