Thursday, December 1, 2011

No more Cafe Gratitude kimchi or vegan bibimbap

Restaurant chain Cafe Gratitude, which focuses on raw vegan food, plans to close not only all seven Northern California locations but also its wholesale department, whose product line includes kimchi.

Cafe Gratitude's I Am Alive kimchi makes a very good topping on your favorite burger. 


Cafe Gratitude on Nov. 29 announced on its Facebook page it will close all seven Northern California restaurants, including their Gracias Madre vegan Mexican restaurant in San Francisco's Mission district.
With great sadness we are announcing the upcoming closing/sale of all Northern California Café Gratitude’s.

A series of aggressive lawsuits has brought us to this unfortunate choice. Although we believe that we have done nothing wrong and our policies are completely legal, it will cost us too much money to defend them in court. Despite telling the attorneys that brought the lawsuits that the current structure and resources of Café Gratitude are insufficient to sustain and defend our community, they have refused to give up and are forcing us to close.

Local news blog SFist was the first to look more deeply into the lawsuits from former employees blamed for the closure of the Cafe Gratitude restaurants. That story and later articles didn't address the fate of the wholesale business.

Treasure De La Cruz, Cafe Gratitude's catering, wholesale food and events manager, said in an email yesterday that the wholesale and catering department would be part of the winding down of Northern California business, which could take until spring to complete.
I regretfully have to share that Café Gratitude Northern CA locations including the wholesale and catering department will be closing.  I’ve attached a letter from Terces regarding the closing.  
The closing is not immediate and could take up to 3 - 6 months. We will continue to be proved excellent products and loving service. It is important at this time to keep sales up. We welcome you to visit the cafes, order catering, order whole pies or cakes, and to promote us. We will be in communication when we will have to discontinue products and services in my department.
One wholesale product is I Am Alive Kimchee. I included that in a Nov. 13 roundup story for Korea-based Yonhap News Agency on Northern California commercial kimchi producers.

Cafe Gratitude opened its first restaurant in San Francisco in 2003 and has restaurants in San Francisco's Mission district, Oakland, Berkeley, San Rafael, Healdsburg, and Cupertino. Cafe Gratitude also owns a restaurant in San Francisco called Gracias Madre, which serves vegan Mexican cuisine. The Cafe Gratitude restaurants in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz are under a different ownership structure and are not included in the latest announcement of pending closures.

Cafe Gratitude's Biodynamic, organic farm, located in Vacaville, Calif., will remain open to supply produce and products for its L.A. location.

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