On September 18, 2017, I made a very difficult decision to terminate the lease for Red Apron Pizzeria on 3214 Folsom Street.
We were headed for trial a week prior, but the judge directed us to a mandatory settlement conference. We spent two days in the settlement conference negotiating before agreeing to the terms of our arrangement.
I agonized over this decision.
My heart was set on what was the perfect place for my pizzeria. The bad news is I’ve lost that spot, and it means starting all over again. The good news is that we avoided going to trial.
The even better good news is that the relationship between the landlords and me is over. They did not comprehend what turned out to be myriad hidden issues with their building, which has three residential units in addition to the storefront. They would not replace the leaking deck and rotting staircase above what would have been our kitchen. They would not address the crumbling sill on the south wall of the building. They did not care about the mold that appeared one day on the ceiling of our bathroom, right below a residential unit. It took them a week to clean up the sewage – baby wipes, toilet paper, and human feces, an inch deep, measured by standing in the mess in my rain boots – that, after several months of backing up onto the sidewalk, exploded out of the pipes after a rainstorm in January of 2016. They took my rent promptly every month for two and a half years, all but eight months of which were tied up in litigation, with no work being done. The project has been at a standstill since the Poop Explosion on that fateful day.
I hope the landlords will come to understand that they need to be involved in caring for their property, and that whoever leases the space next will have a better experience and a successful business. My restaurant – while currently a figment of my imagination – remains the same, as Red Apron Pizzeria.
In the meantime, I had a major foot surgery two weeks ago. After recovering from that, I hope to find a leasable restaurant space in my ‘hood.
The sign in the front window is gone. I feel like I let my neighborhood down. I’m sorry. But please continue to hope. You never know when opportunity comes knocking on the door.
With mixed feelings and perpetual pizza dreams,