Jake’s on Market bites the dust

Jake’s on Market

Another business in the Castro has closed it’s doors. This time it’s Jake’s on Market (formerly Restaurant 2223) at 2223 Market St. While Jake’s was still more upscale than the myriad of diners found throughout the Castro, it still had a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere that you wouldn’t feel awkward walking into with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt on.

Unfortunately, the comfortable atmosphere and the gourmet cuisine was not enough to keep this restaurant’s head above water. On November 30th, owners Tim Travelstead and Brad Becker posted a goodbye note on the restaurants website and on the front door of the restaurant thanking their loyal customers and calling out the haters who rated them poorly on Yelp,

With much regret, Jake’s on Market has closed.

To our many regular customers, we are very grateful for the support you gave us in our desire to open a warm, neighborhood restaurant owned and operated by a family here in the Castro, for the residents of the Castro. I just wish there had been more of you. But we will always remember your kindness.

Jake’s on Market closing letter

And for a small minority of people who rooted for our failure before we ever opened our doors because we weren’t the same restaurant that had previously occupied this space, and which we had no connection to, well, we’ll never forget you either. Reading reviews and ratings on Yelp such as, “I hated the color of their T-shirts, I’ll never be back. I give them one star!” or being criticized for the taste of food that we have never even served at Jake’s, was both amusing and demoralizing, not only to us as owners, but to our co-workers who put all of their efforts into giving each guest a great experience.

Lastly, we wanted to thank the wonderful people we got to know who worked with us both behind the scenes in the kitchen and in the front of the house serving you. Owning a restaurant is a 24-hour a day experience, and we couldn’t have picked a nicer group of people to spend our time with. Life goes on, we’ll continue to raise our family, and we wish all of you our very best wishes.

Sincerely, Brad and Tim.

This adds yet another vacant storefront to the many that litter the Castro. While I am dubious it was related to a few bad reviews on Yelp and not the high cost of leasing retail property in San Francisco (check out commercial real estate listing site LoopNet’s graph titled Retail Property Asking Rent – Lease Trends), maybe a ‘fine dining’ experience so far away from Castro Street is not a good idea. The more casual Sliders Bar & Grill just a block away seems to be doing pretty well and nearly every time I walk by they are always busy with only a table or two free.

Why do you think Jake’s on Market failed to hold its ground? What do you think should replace it?

Roy McKenzie

Roy has been a Castro resident since 2010 and is passionate about drag queens, bicycling, and food. Follow his babbling on Twitter.

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7 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    Jake’s was never interesting enough to want to try it. Sad to see them go, and another empty store front. You have to wonder how many of these businesses survive. Unless your selling liquor or poppers, I don’t think you are getting rich in the Gayborhood. It’s got to be tough! And why I always try to shop, and eat LOCAL.

    Here’s what I would love to see in the Jake’s space and would urge all Biscuit readers to write the company and BEG them. http://laughingplanetcafe.com Laughing Planet would be a BIG enough draw to get folks from Castro. When I’m in Portland or Eugene, I try to eat at Laughing Planet at least once a day. Food is so good, so simple, so fresh, so reasonable, and mostly so delicious. It’s nothing fancy, just really good quality, healthy, LOW CARB (if you want), food.

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  2. Jim says:

    The Castro seems to chase trends and fads more than ever. The latest bar, the latest restaurant, always something new to try and then another new thing comes along and steals the thunder.

    My biggest criticism of Jakes was the breakfast hours kept on weekends. I sometimes like to eat earlier than 10AM on a Saturday or Sunday and Jake’s did not open until then. Also, it was a rather cold and unfeeling space. It had character, but was missing some warmth as a restaurant, something that makes you want to come back over and over again. The food was good and it was mostly comfort food, but the pricing may have been to high. The fixed price meal was a good option, but maybe brought out too late.

    Finally, it is a bit off the beaten path and in between a bit of a no-mans land in the Castro until the corners at 15th/Sanchez/Market are redeveloped and bring more residential traffic down that end.

    Sadly, the number of open store fronts in the Castro is just a sign of a delay of economic challenges seen in the neighborhood. Really high rents make it hard for people to eat out. Hopefully something new and with longevity will come in soon.

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    • Waiyde says:

      Jim-you’ve brought up a bigger, burgeoning issue in the Castro-and City for that matter-that must be addressed-each week it seems the ongoing expanse of empty store fronts from one end of the neighborhood to the other. At times it feels like we’re walking through a ghost town. Landlords greedy asks for over the top rents are driving small businesses like the Bead Store-49 yrs in the Castro-out leaving space for chain/box/franchise infringement into the hood. This development like the proposed Chipolte chain at Church & Market or the FOURTH Starbucks in 1 mile radius is a real wake up call to residents and unique SF store owners if we want to stop this mallification of the Castro and retain the essence of our one of a kind neighborhood. These encroachments help us continue down a path of watching our neighborhood turn into someplace that looks like a suburb of Kansas City. Jake’s certainly bombed for multiple reasons-but now-another gaping hole in the retail landscape has arisen and we need to start addressing that issue as a community. Redevelopment bring more foot traffic? Cash poor foot traffic if they’re coming from proposed micro units w/less 200 sq. ft and costing an average of $1100-1400. That won’t put any disposable income in most people’s pockets for use around the neighborhood. Are these types of changes going to boost local economy and help small business flourish or start ups? We need leadership beyond legislation. Weiner? Weiner? Anybody? Weiner?

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  3. pch1013 says:

    The nudists could lease it and create a “nude club.” Even if nudity is banned on city streets, it’ll always be legal on private property. :)

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  4. Elliot Block says:

    The main reason that Jake’s went out of business was that the food was almost inedible and the management strictly hands off. You have to create a warm and inviting atmosphere as well as tasty fare in order to succeed. 2223 did that in spades.

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  5. MBC17thSt says:

    It’s sad to see any retailer leave the Castro, and running a restaurant is not an easy way to make a living by any means. That said, a menu based on the food cravings of their 10 year old son in a food obsessed city, get real.

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  6. Renzocee says:

    Cause and effect: the Yelp reviews may have kept some people from going in, but mostly, they reflected a reality about a business that was poorly done (mediocre food; seriously unwelcoming attitude at the door, not unlike management’s bitter note left on the door) and over-priced. We went three times before we gave up on the place. So, it was poor performance that lead to the poor Yelp reviews, and the shrinking number of people interested in going back.

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