You’ll recall the kerfuffle of last fall surrounding the earnest owners of Café Gratitude who got sued by a couple of former employees over the sketchy tip-sharing practices and other policies that fall under the umbrella of what they call “sacred commerce.” In January we learned that the owners, Terces and Matthew Engelhart, had settled out of court with the plaintiffs for an undisclosed sum, and they backed off their initial announcement that they’d be closing all of their Northern California restaurants, saying instead that a few of them would remain open, including the original Berkeley location, and the popular vegan Mexican spinoff Gracias Madre in the Mission. Now Grub Street learns that their 2400 Harrison Street location in S.F. is definitely on the market, and is being shopped around to potential buyers, though it remains open for now.
So far they’ve closed locations inside Whole Foods stores in Oakland and Cupertino, and their Healdsburg shop just closed on April 1. A lawyer for the plaintiffs in last year’s lawsuit had surmised that these locations were probably under-performing as compared to some others — despite the Engelharts’ protestations that they needed to close down their business because of the financial strain of the lawsuits. He maintained that the Engelharts were much richer than they want to let on, and that the businesses are doing quite well. As evidence of that, the children of the Engelharts, who run a highly profitable branch of the restaurant in Los Angeles, announced the upcoming opening of another location in Venice Beach.
In a Facebook post in late January, Terces Engelhart stated that “due to everyone’s efforts” (i.e. donations to their “legal defense fund”) they would be keeping their Berkeley and Santa Cruz locations open, along with Gracias Madre, but she made no mention of the S.F. location at Harrison and 20th, nor the one in San Rafael, both of which are still open. Lately she’s gone mum on the closures on the restaurant’s blog, and has been posting stuff about puppies and baby ducks being born instead.
We’ll update you on a possible closing date as soon as we know more, if and when the space gets sold.
Earlier: Café Gratitude Settles Out of Court With Former Employees, Won’t Close All NorCal Locations
A New Side of the Café Gratitude Closure Story, and Their Potentially Shady ‘Sacred Commerce’
Café Gratitude to Close All Northern California Locations; Gracias Madre Threatened Too [Updated]