Quinoa bowl-serving Eatsa, closed for purported updates since early spring, doesn’t appear likely to reopen after all. The business, which heralded itself as “the future of restaurants,” allegedly owes more than $24,00 in unpaid rent — funds its landlord demands in a letter posted outside the restaurant at 121 Spear Street.
Eatsa’s owner, Keenwawa, Inc., has five days to pay Hudson Pacific Properties or quit the premises and surrender its possessions to the landlord — presumably items like ordering kiosks and kitchen equipment. Failure to pay rent or deliver possessions “will cause [the] landlord to initiate legal proceedings for unlawful detainer” to recover rent, damages, and attorney’s fees for the cost of the suit, an attorney for the landlord writes.
Eatsa began serving downtown customers at Rincon Center in 2015, offering inexpensive, mostly vegetarian breakfast and lunch bowls in a space-age white interior. Patrons ordered by tapping on iPad kiosks, retrieving their portobello mushroom burrito bowls through small lockers whose high-tech screens lit up with customers’ names.
But Eatsa was never the fully-automated, robotic restaurant for which it was sometimes mistaken. Human workers, though invisible to customers, were nonetheless busy behind the scenes, preparing and packaging breakfast and lunch. Considered historically, as by 99 Percent Invisible’s Avery Trufulman, Eatsa’s “future of restaurants” bore a conspicuous resemblance to the past, drawing comparisons to the once ubiquitous automats of the 1950s and 60s.
Since its 2015 debut, Eatsa expanded operations with two more Bay Area locations, as well as short-lived outposts in NYC and Washington, DC. According to representatives for Eatsa, the company closed those locations to focus on its underlying technology, which it sells to other restaurants like SF mac and cheese business Mac’d.
In February, Eatsa told Eater SF that its Rincon Center location was closed temporarily but would reopen soon. Eater SF has reached out for further updates and will provide them accordingly.