Commonwealth, the sophisticated tasting-menu spot from Mission Chinese restaurateurs Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz and chef Jason Fox will be calling it quits at the end of next month after a failed lease negotiation with the building's landlord — who wants double what Commonwealth has been paying.
It's an all too familiar story, and there were hints that a problem might be afoot back in April, when Eater reported that lease negotiations had stalled. The Valencia Street restaurant, which has held a Michelin star since 2016 and has enjoyed continued success, will serve its last meal on August 26, as Eater now reports.
As Fox tells the Chronicle today, "It’s disappointing about the timing. We were having one of our best years."
Commonwealth debuted in the heady restaurant opening season of 2010, which then critic Michael Bauer called the best year of dining that he'd had in his career to date. What began as an upscale concept from Fox and his team, in a casual environment that was formerly home to a doughnut shop, matured over the years into a reliable date spot with excellent food — and at $105, the prix fixe is now a steal compared to most of its Michelin-awarded peers in town.
And it's a disappointing departure to be sure, especially after Fox tried his hand at an expansion four years ago with Oro in Mint Plaza, which was unfortunately short lived.
"That sort of middle ground of dining, I feel like it’s disappearing," Fox tells the Chronicle, noting that the restaurants that are thriving in the city now are either super-high-end, or they're doing very high-volume. The rent hike by the landlords indicates that market — the only business likely to pay $9,000/month rent, aside from high-end retail, is likely going to be something very high-volume.
He says that he'll be taking a break for now, and is glad to be ending on a high note with a series of special dinners scheduled for late next month. And fans of Commonwealth still have six weeks to stop on through for a last meal.