In little less than a month, Schmidt’s, the restaurant at the corner of Folsom and 20th streets that has served German food with a uniquely American spin since 2009, will be closing for good.
But more than sadness about the May 27 closing, the restaurant’s owners say they feel a weight coming off. Co-owner David Pierce said that, over the past couple of years, rent at the 2400 Folsom St. location had increased three percent a year. And, on Tuesday, they recalled some of the highs and lows.
Adam Maxwell, the executive chef at Schmidt’s, said he grew fond of the curated selection of beers and brunch on a Saturday morning.
“Everyone is happy, the lighting is great, the brunch food is super awesome,” said Maxwell.
Pierce remembered the 2010 standoff between Schmidt’s and Patricia Kerman, their upstairs neighbor, over noise levels and fan vibrations. At the time, Kerman put a sign on her window that read, “Bad Neighbors,” overlooking the restaurant.
“She named her wireless [network] ‘David Pierce is a scumbag’,” said Pierce.
It was the owner’s need for more money, however, that finally made them walk away.
Initially, property owner Kaushik Dattani said this year that he would be increasing their rent by another $4,000, to $12,000 a month, according to the owners.
“We thought Kaushik would work with us, and in the end, he didn’t. I sat with him and asked him, ‘How much do you need?’” Pierce said.
Dattani settled closer to $10,000 a month, but wanted an additional security deposit of $9,000. The rent increases, along with the sunk costs of deposits, were too much — and Dattani’s business practices were not sitting well with the two.
“It’s not bad blood, it’s a different way of doing business,” he added. “Kaushik does a business in a way that we don’t support.”
Schmidt, who also owns Walzwerk on South Van Ness, said she felt that the rent hike was just too much and that Dattani was an unfair property owner.
Moreover, they said, Dattani failed to maintain the property and it would constantly leak during the winter seasons. On one occasion Schmidt said the ceiling collapsed and nearly injured an employee after a roof leak destroyed ceiling plaster.
Last year, after a long battle, Dattani evicted Kerman and her roommate Tom Rapp. According to the website Anti-EvictionMap.com, Dattani has been buying and selling properties across San Francisco and Richmond. There are numerous links to other actions that highlight Dattani’s eviction practices, including Youtube videos of protests against Dattani.
Mission Local reached out to Dattani and managed to get him on the phone ever so briefly. He said only he would “never” comment and hung up.
Schmidt’s co-owner Christiane Schmidt also owns Walzwerk, which has been open for more than 18 years. She says she’s happy to just focus on one business and spend time with her daughter.
“I’m relieved; I’m excited, because one door closes and another one opens,” she said.