The big beer-focused restaurant Abbot's Cellar (462 Valencia), from the team that opened the always-packed Monk's Kettle, has just made the surprise announcement that they're closing at the end of January after two and a half years in business. Co-owners Christian Albertson and Nat Cutler made the announcement via a brief release Monday, saying that the restaurant will remain open until January 31 serving dinner only from Tuesday to Saturday.
Despite a stellar initial review from Michael Bauer, spending two years on the Chron's Top 100, and the overall beer boom across the city, the restaurant was not packing the house to the extent that they needed to justify their big, expensive buildout in 2012, and to make up for a rising minimum wage.
As Cutler tells SFist, "Ultimately the business levels at Abbot's Cellar simply weren't enough to cover the costs of operating in this city. While the restaurant was very well received, the long-term sustainability just wasn't there and that's before two recent wage increases: 3% in January (2015), and 14% from 2014 levels in May. Assuming business levels stay similar, the only way to cover those increased costs is to increase menu prices, and we just didn't feel like we could do that."
Albertson and Cutler remain partners in Monk's Kettle and say they'll be refocusing their attention there. Chef-partner Adam Dulye, however, will be moving on to new opportunities.
This marks the second of two big closures on the Valencia corridor in the last six months, the other being Amber Dhara, which also made its debut in a space that was built out specifically for the restaurant in 2012 part of a wave of openings that caused many Valencia merchants to freak out and call for a freeze on new restaurants taking over former retail spaces.
If you're a fan of beer, especially the fancier kind, and want to enjoy some paired with fine foods, you've got 26 days left to do so.