While some restaurants are throwing in the towel due to the combination of high rents, mediocre business, and the hike in the minimum wage, others are going to have to suck it up and raise prices, as many have predicted. And now Michael Bauer is on the case, tracking how many $40 entrees he's already spotted on not-so-fancy restaurant menus, including a rustic rabbit dish at new Tenderloin spot Huxley, the $42 steak frites at Monsieur Benjamin (it was $36 just a couple months back), and the $38 pork belly pot pie at Cockscomb.
Meanwhile at established, arguably nicer spots like Frances and Perbacco, entrees still top out at $29. The distinction is how new these other places are. As Mr. Bauer notes, "Established restaurants that are locked into leases are more likely to be able to maintain lower prices, but new restaurants like Huxley and Cockscomb don’t have that advantage. Real estate agents say that in the last few years the cost to lease space has gone from $4.50- $5.50 a square foot to $6-$7.50."
$40 for a steak, or even for a pot pie, is not going to shock anyone who recently moved here from New York, where menu prices started crossing that mark a decade ago.
But here in SF we've long benefited from really great food at comparatively reasonable price points, and the sad fact now, just like apartment rents, is that we are quickly catching up to Manhattan in the food and drink pricing department.
God help me when bars start charging $20 for a Manhattan.