These days, the tale about evil big businesses/companies/ports of major northern California cities running little mom-and-pop shops out of town has become something of a cliche. That’s why it’s so shocking when it actually happens:
The little business getting jacked is the Java House, a mom-and-pop breakfast and burger joint on Pier 40, just up the street from AT&T; Park. It just got served notice that its rent is jumping more than fivefold, from $800 to $4,429 a month, effective this coming Saturday.”There’s no way we can make a go at this rent,” said owner Phil Papadopoulos, who along with his wife and daughter has been working the counter for the past 23 years.
Clearly, $800 is a great deal and it’s understandable that the city wants more. Last year, Papadopoulos negotiated the terms for a 15-year lease that saw Java House starting out at $2,045 a month, with increases down the road. But the paperwork never went through.
From that point, it’s a he-said, she-said argument. Papadopoulus says the Port of San Francisco decided to reneg on the deal, and the Port Commission contends that Papadopoulus “dragged his feet” in order to keep the $800 rent as long as possible. Of course, when asked for evidence that Java House stalled the paperwork, the city had nothing to offer. The Port Commission now says that the two sides can begin new negotiations on a new lease, but only after the astronomical $4,429 rent (plus a $8,800 security deposit) is paid this month.
On a totally unrelated note, San Francisco touts itself as a city ready to “support and enhance an environment where small businesses can succeed and flourish.” And for the record, here are some of the restaurants on the Embarcadero waterfront around Java House: Palomino, Chaya Brasserie and Gordon Biersch. Yep, all upscale chains.
S.F. waterfront institution Java House faces rent hike on steroids [SFGate]
Java House [MenuPages]
Java House [Official Site]