In a major surprise for Valencia, critically acclaimed beer-pairing hotspot Abbot's Cellar has announced they'll be closing at the end of the month. Opened a mere two years ago by beer aficionados and restaurateurs Christian Albertson and Nat Cutler and chef Adam Dulye, the restaurant was a sophisticated, supersized take on their popular Mission brewpub, Monk's Kettle. But while the restaurant was initially well-received, earning Bauer plaudits, a James Beard semifinalist slot, and even a visit from Mark Zuckerberg, the competitive Valencia restaurant scene that felled similarly sleek and sizable neighbor Amber Dhara was equally challenging for Abbot's. "Ultimately it was just the economic environment. The business already was not really sustainable," Cutler told Inside Scoop.
In a statement that's likely to be repeated by many restaurants that shutter or reformat this year, Cutler also implicated 2015's impending minimum wage hike as a factor in the group's decision to close. "Looking ahead at 2015, we had a 3 percent bump in wages." With the closure of Abbot's, Dulye (who was also the chef at Monk's Kettle) will be leaving the group to ply his talents elsewhere, and current sous chef Fletcher Allen will take over the Monk's Kettle kitchen next month. Other than that, Monk's Kettle (which underwent a renovation last summer to add more seating) will be unaffected.
The saddest part of the closure is what it means for high-end restaurants that focus on beer pairing, of which Abbot's was a pioneer. "We felt like we did everything right, and it seemed like people thought the same," says Cutler, but considering that new beer spots are opening left and right in SF, it's surprising that the only one in town elevating beer to the fine-dining sphere wasn't able to succeed. Fans of Abbot's still have a month to say goodbye; they'll remain open Tuesday-Saturday for dinner, through January 31. Also of note: a supersized space in play on Valencia, with a whopping 100 seats and 3,000 square feet.