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After Less Than Two Years in Business, NoPa Cafe Automat Is Closing

The all-day cafe ditched dinner service in June and announced its upcoming closure on Sunday, August 20

Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

Automat, the once hotly anticipated all-day cafe from chef Matt Kirk, will close its doors by the end of the month. The NoPa restaurant made the announcement on Sunday morning via Instagram post, sharing that Automat’s last day of service will be Sunday, August 27. “We are so proud of what we accomplished, the food that we served, the hospitality of our staff, the connections we made in the neighborhood, and our welcoming space,” the post reads in part.

The reason for the closure? Automat struggled to find the right balance between quality and affordability, the post goes on to share. It’s a sentiment Lazy Bear chef and owner David Barzelay, who is a partner in the business, touched on in an interview with Eater SF earlier this year. While Automat offers a casual dining experience, one where customers order at the front counter and choose their own seats, the restaurant also baked bread for its sandwiches and made all its pastries in-house. “Nobody realizes every dish on the menu at Automat is just as labor-intensive as a dish on the menu at Lazy Bear,” Barzelay said in May. “Those sandwiches probably cost a heck of a lot more than you think.”

The restaurant opened its doors in late November 2021, serving breakfast sandwiches, banana bread, and lattes on the corner of McAllister and Baker streets. Kirk previously worked as a sous chef at two-Michelin-starred Lazy Bear and started Automat as a bread pop-up in 2016, then signed the lease on the former Green Chile Kitchen space to move it into a permanent home before the pandemic. The restaurant initially offered all-day service including breakfast, lunch, and dinner — but ended dinner service in June. At the time, the restaurant shared that it’d been “challenging to fit our extensive daytime and bakery program alongside a completely separate dinner menu.” It now seems downsizing the scope of the service offerings still wasn’t enough.

“We are beyond grateful to the incredible team who built this restaurant with us, and to our lovely patrons who have been at our tables since 2021,” the post announcing the closure continues, adding that customers still have time to come in for a last doughnut, crispy beef taco, or cheeseburger before Automat’s end.