After nearly six years of serving devoutly California-sourced food, Local Mission Eatery is closing on Saturday, December 19. In a letter posted on its website, co-owner Yarom Milgrom wrote,
"...for the first time in nearly six years, we did not have the diners we needed to survive … San Francisco’s ‘stomach share’ (to use Michael Pollan’s phrase) nor its labor force has kept pace with new restaurants and the march of the aspiring unicorns of food-startups. And so, we cannot go on."
After last year's controversy and closure of Locals Corner (a space now occupied by The Spice Jar), the closure of Local Mission Eatery leaves the duo's empire markedly smaller. This time, though, the shutter is quality-of-life-related: co-owner/chef Jake Des Voignes recently moved outside the city to grow his family and the late hours of a restaurant are not conducive to that lifestyle. "When I'm working the line and don’t leave until 11 at night and then drive two hours back home, that’s not sustainable for an extended period of time," Des Voignes told Eater. "The market hours are a bit more forgiving for me personally."
Des Voignes and his wife are starting a farm in Lodi, which will supply food to Local Market. Des Voignes and Milgrom will continue to operate Local Mission Market and Local Cellar, focusing their attention and efforts on growing the two. "At the market, we have a lot of people coming in specifically for bread, so we’ll be adding more items in that category, maybe a stuffed pasta program and refocusing on the charcuterie and sausages," Des Voignes said. As for the Cellar, Des Voignes said they want to add a class schedule to bring winemakers into the store.
The restaurant's last service is Saturday, December 19, until when Milgrom hopes to give the restaurant its proper goodbye.
"In its remaining days, we hope Local Mission Eatery will be filled with the crush and thrill of a busy service, the quiet murmurs of delight as diners savor a bite of deliciousness, the trust as regulars set into their favored seat, the choreography of committed and happy employees engaged in meaningful labor. And on December 19, Jake and I will sit in the quiet of an empty restaurant, with a glass of wine, filled to overflowing with melancholy and old dreams and new visions and, I hope, the satisfaction of having done something real and important."
You can read the sweet eulogy in full here.