San Francisco Soul Food Restaurant Farmerbrown Closes

Farmerbrown Owner Jay Foster

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Farmerbrown, the city’s most celebrated black-owned restaurant, closed Sunday after 13 years in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. Sister restaurants Little Skillet and Isla Vida will remain open, as will a newly opened San Francisco International Airport outpost of Farmerbrown.

The reasons behind the closure are all too familiar. Farmerbrown, with more than 70 seats, had become unwieldy, chef-owner Jay Foster said. Restaurateurs are increasingly favoring smaller spaces friendly to counter service, which keep rent and labor costs lower.

Toss in higher operating costs, upticks in rent, worker shortages and the like, and Foster said the decision, which he’s been mulling over the past few years, made itself.

“I’m overwhelmed with loss, and devastated at the terrible ending to 13 years,” Foster said. “It’s been the most incredible journey to be a part of Farmerbrown.”

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