SF’s Tadich Grill to close until indoor dining returns

Owners of San Francisco's landmark Tadich Grill say federal relief money has run out and they will have to close the famous restaurant until indoor dining returns.

The Buich family which owns the restaurant told KTVU months ago they were committed to avoiding layoffs, but even after putting in their own cash, launching a Go-fund-me donation campaign, and qualifying for  federal Paycheck Protection Program loan funds, they say time and money have run out.

"The temporary relief from our PPP loan has dried up and without additional government aid, we’ve made the difficult decision to temporarily hit pause," the statement read on the Tadich Grill facebook page.

The sounds of sizzling seafood still emanated from the kitchen, but all orders for their legendary cioppino and crabcakes are carry-out only. The dining room is empty during this coronavirus era.

At 6pm Friday the kitchen will close with no date now for reopening.

"We paid everybody at least half of their salary until last week," said Hanna, "Unfortunately that money just ran out and we weren't expecting to be shut down for this long."

"It's been a busy, busy day. All these people wanting to come by for their last hurrah with us," said David Hanna, the general manager who was operating the restaurant's take order service with the chef.

It is a devastating blow to San Francisco's oldest restaurant that's been around since 1849 surviving recessions and earthquakes.

Customers were sad to hear the news.

"I'd heard the owners were going above and beyond taking care of their employees and trying to stay open through all this so I was disappointed that a great institution like this wasn't able to get through it," said Stephen Rossi, a San Francisco resident who stopped by to pick up an order.

Laurie Thomas, a restaurant owner and executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association says the need for an extension of federal relief funds is critical to avoid small restaurants across the nation from going out of business permanently.

"We'll be lucky if 50-60% make it. And the longer we go without more federal aid, the higher that's going to be," said Thomas, "There's not like a huge pool of cash that can be utilized. That's been gone already. People have gone through their first PPP loans and they don't have a lot of resources left."

Thomas says measures such as take-out or outdoor dining are not making up for lost revenue from indoor dining and the typical customer demand from downtown crowds, tourists and convention traffic. She says the Golden Gate Restaurant Association surveyed members.

"About 420 restaurants responded. 60% were losing money doing takeout. Another third were barely breaking even," said Thomas.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition which represents 500,000 businesses nationwide is calling on Congress to pass The Restaurants Act, which would allocate $120 billion in grants to non-publicly traded small restaurants.

"The independent restaurants we employ so many people, like 11 million people plus the supply line that depends on us, the farmers, the fishers, the wineries, the cleaners," said Thomas.

Meantime, Tadich Grill employees are being sustained by people's kind words and stories of special dinners over generations.

"It's really nice to feel all the love that people are sending our way," said Hanna.

Thomas says the Restaurants Act has bipartisan support in Congress and she hopes it will pass soon to get help to businesses before it is too late.


Congress' Restaurants Act of 2020

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Jana at jana.katsuyama@foxtv.com and follow her on Twitter
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