UPDATED 3/28/16: Upon further investigation, Rickbobby's shuttering was not the direct result of a 50 percent rent increase. New sources confirm that the property's new tenants — Matt Nudelman of upcoming restaurant The Lodge — took over the lease from Rickbobby partners James Moisey and Shane LaValley, and are currently paying the same amount in rent. Nudelman says he's had his eye out for for a space with a reasonable rent in the Lower Haight since the closure of his previous restaurant, Greenburger's, two years ago. He is currently working towards opening his new project, The Lodge, which is slated to open in the coming weeks.
It’s the common refrain lately in San Francisco — rising rents are just too much for a restaurant to survive. Now add Rickybobby in the Haight to that list, which closed this past weekend for that reason, owner James Moisey told Eater. Known for its well-priced American comfort food, Rickybobby was a go-to for neighborhood diners. Despite trying to make it work, he said the restaurant could not overcome a 50 percent hike.
"It sucks for a lot of people. We tried to have an affordable neighborhood restaurant where people could eat there a couple times a week because there don't seem to be a lot of those restaurants in San Francisco. You're either a very, very low cost restaurant and open all the time, or you're a more exclusive restaurant where people can go once a month or on special occasions. Where I'm from, I grew up eating at a lot of restaurants like pizzerias or local neighborhood restaurants, and that seems to be something that doesn't really fit into the system in SF."
Moisey is now currently trying to find work and file "a lot of paperwork" that’s involved in closing a business. His employees are now also looking for new jobs. As for Rickybobby, Moisey does not plan to find another location for the two-year-old restaurant that started as a pop-up in the back of Broken Record. "Hopefully I'll be able to tell you at some point that I'm somewhere else and making food again," he said.
Rickybobby is just the latest in a string of rent-related closures. Bourbon Steak, Betelnut, potentially Genova Delicatessen and now Amsterdam Cafe in the Tenderloin is the latest add to the list. Amsterdam's owners wrote on Facebook that February 15 will be the beer bar's last day if they can't find a new location after their current landlord jacked up the rent.