After Raising $100K, 'Brickhouse Café' Owners Buy Building, Plan Renovations

SoMa's Brickhouse Café, which faced the possibility of closure after its 20-year lease was up, will remain at its current location at 426 Brannan St. (between Ritch and Zoe) after its owners successfully raised $100,000 to secure a contract to negotiate the lease.  

With help from investors, friends and family, proprietors Kim Kobasic and Fred Reeves signed a lease on December 1st.

“We want to do more renovations—we want 10 more years at least,” Reeves told Hoodline.

The duo invoked their right of first refusal for a chance to raise the money for a down payment on the property. The couple, who said they have a good relationship with their landlord, acknowledged that Hoxton Hotels, a European "house-hotel" chain that's expanding to the US, also showed interested in the location.

“It was an agonizing decision,” said Kobasic. “Either way, we could walk away with nothing anyway, so we decided to just go for it.”

Brickhouse used InKind to setup sales of VIP gift cards as part of a marketing campaign. “They basically help small business get started with low-interest loans, but we in turn have to sell the gift cards," Kobasic said. 

Private investors also helped with finances, at least half of which were friends and family. “We talked to a lot of developers in the area, but most of them just wanted to make money off the purchase, and they just wanted to flip it and kick us out,” said Reeves. The majority of the nearly $500,000 purchase was paid for by Kobasic, Reeves and investors. 

Kobasic, Reeves (and former partner David Simonsier) took over the former Jeremy's Clothing Store in 1998 and started a small video and coffee shop which transitioned into Brickhouse Café in 2001.

“We had always really planned on running a restaurant, so we converted it," said Reeves. "When we first started, it was an empty shell," but after growing the business from its beginnings as a sandwich and salad spot, "bit by bit we built this place up," said Kobasic.

The partners said they're excited to execute renovations they envisioned long before the building's purchase.

The restaurant's current bar area. | Photo: Brickhouse Café

"We’ve been wanting to make these changes for at least 5 years,” said Kobasic, explaining that Brickhouse will add new bathrooms and expand the bar area from five seats to 25, along with adding more seating to an upstairs dining area.

Reeves said he’s looking forward to when things settle so he can focus more of his attention on his family’s cattle ranch Bar R Cattle Company and salmon fishing, two of the house specialties.

Rendering of new bar. | Photo: Brickhouse Café

Renovations will likely begin between Christmas and New Year's Day when the business is closed for service.

Reeves and Kobasic said they're considering changing their hours to accommodate a later crowd, but for now they will remain open from 7:30am-10:00pm.

"I'm so excited to see how this is going to change our business," said Reeves. "I want to introduce our brand-new side to the neighborhood and get back to what we do best: serve good food and good drinks." 

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