Facing Rent Hike, Soufflés Cafe Seeks New Location

Five years ago, Soufflés Cafe opened its doors at 1401 Powell St., a bustling corner adjacent to the Broadway tunnel. But lately, diminished demand for a late-night dessert spot—topped off by an increase in rent—has given owner Edwin Qin no choice but to close. 

The cafe is eclectically decorated with English tchotchkes and tea sets because Qin's wife has an affinity for the British tradition of high tea, and wanted that to be the theme of the business.

The menu is diverse as well, offering a variety of teas, house-made soufflés, fruit smoothies, and what Qin calls "late-night bites," like curry rice and a teriyaki plate. 

Soufflés Cafe is open late: until 1:30am Sunday–Thursday and until 2am on Friday and Saturday. We asked Qin if the reason for staying open so late was to attract the bar crowd in North Beach. "Honestly, I'm staying open just to try to get as many customers as possible," he said. "They are not really coming from the bars."

Qin told us he had no issues with the landlord, and pays the rent on time. But facing a $700 monthly rent increase, he said there's no other option but to close the doors and look for a new location elsewhere. He's considering the Castro, Richmond and Sunset as potential locations for a new shop. In the meantime, it'll be business as usual at the cafe until May 30th, when he'll be forced to vacate. 

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