Financial District luncheonette-style restaurant City Counter is closing after a little more than a year in business at 115 Sansome Street. “I am sad to share that City Counter will be closing at the end of next week (August 17th),” proprietor Harper Matheson wrote on Instagram last Friday, breaking the news. “We are so grateful for the community of guests that have come together to support us.”
“It has been a really challenging operating environment,” Matheson told Eater. “I just didn’t quite work out.”
City Counter’s breakfast, lunch, and happy hour offerings provided a complement to other tenants of the city’s Standard Oil Building like Blue Bottle Coffee and cocktail bar The Treasury. Chef Sean Thomas (Blue Plate) designed the menu, which proposed similar updates to the retro: Salt cod deviled eggs, club sandwiches, and more. Though an early review from Eater SF critic Rachel Levin awarded the restaurant one star, the restaurant maintained a roster of regulars at lunch and dinner.
Despite the challenges of the SF restaurant scene, buyers have already expressed interest, according to Matheson. “Restaurants are always a risk. It’s a tough industry, but I feel lucky that we got to do it,” Matheson says. “Even though this was a tough one, I love the industry and the city and I would love to jump back in.”
She’s not ruling out another iteration of the restaurant, either. “I think if the right opportunity came up we would certainly want to give it another go. We’ve learned so much and there was so much that was really great about it.”
News of City Counter’s closure arrives amid a heated local debate about the financial health of downtown food businesses in the era of free corporate cafeteria lunch, a perk offered by a growing number of downtown tech offices. Concerned local politicians have proposed a city ban on new corporate cafeterias in response. Officials will consider a possible ordinance in September.
Stop by this week for one last deviled egg: Friday will be the restaurant’s final service.
Ellen Fort contributed reporting to this story.