Chefs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani, owners of Terra in Napa and Ame in San Francisco, have pulled out and walked away from negotiations on the closed Ubuntu space in Napa. Doumani says she and Sone had worked long and hard to come to an agreement with current owner Sandy Lawrence, which they did successfully, but they couldn't settle on lease terms with the landlord. In Doumani's words, "We just don’t have the same expectations of the area to justify the rent the landlord is requesting."
Ubuntu remains closed indefinitely until Lawrence decides to end the restaurant's current "sabbatical" and reopen, or a new taker is able to come to an agreement.
Given the current situation, it seems the landlord's expectations aren't conducive to running a small business profitably. There's probably a good financial reason that a yoga studio and a restaurant were operating under one roof. It sounds as if the the asking price may be more suited to something nice and corporate moving in. A Gap, perhaps?
All things considered, the piece of real estate at 1140 Main Street is a rare one, housed in a two-story 19th Century brick building: all wide open display kitchen, exposed stone walls, 20-foot ceilings and lots of light. Doumani says they've been eyeing it for years now, and she and Sone aren't actively pursuing other real estate at this time. "It was all about the space," she says. "But once you put an idea in our head who knows."
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