Commonwealth has been operating in the Mission for nine years, serving chef Jason Fox’s Michelin-starred California cuisine. It could be on its way out, however, pending a rent hike by the restaurant’s landlord.
The restaurant’s lease at 2224 Mission Street is set to end in September, says chef-partner Jason Fox, and rent negotiations with the building’s landlord have come to a halt. In addition to raising the rent to $9,000 per month (double the current rent), the terms of the lease weren’t favorable to running a good business, says Fox.
Fox and his partners took over the restaurant in 2010, significantly upgrading the infrastructure of a restaurant Fox says hadn’t seen improvements in decades. “We upgraded the whole restaurant,” says Fox. “We had to rewire it, new plumbing, floors, tiles, all the banquettes. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into it.”
Right now the restaurant is on the market, advertising a “premium retail/restaurant site,” and listing restaurant infrastructure as a selling point. One attribute that another restaurant may not be able to take advantage of: The community goodwill built by Commonwealth over the years, and the cumulative $400,000 dollars raised by the restaurant that has benefited organizations like La Cocina, Meals on Wheels, and Centro Regal de la Raza. (Portions of each tasting menu sold at the restaurant went towards that goal.)
“We’re proud of the $400,000 we raised for various charities,” says Fox. “Our goal from the beginning was giving back to the community, and not just to be any other fine dining restaurant. In some ways I don’t think [the landlords] understood that and think they are just kicking out any other fancy restaurant.”
Since the story was first reported, Fox says he’s received offers from friends and restaurateurs around town offering space to lease, should things not work out. If that’s the case, the goal is to reopen Commonwealth somewhere in San Francisco, if not the mission.
“We like our neighborhood, we like our community. We don’t want to be forced out.”