Iconic Julie’s Kitchen Battles Eviction Despite Meeting Pandemic Payments in San Francisco Showdown

Iconic Julie’s Kitchen Battles Eviction Despite Meeting Pandemic Payments in San Francisco ShowdownSource: Google Street View
Eileen Vargas
Published on November 28, 2023

Julie's Kitchen, a beloved local buffet spot among the office crowd, is facing eviction from its decade-long home at Crocker Galleria, despite "faithfully" paying its rent throughout the pandemic. According to a letter from the Yoo family, who run the restaurant, and as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, they've kept up with the financial demands even when their buffet-style business model was directly hit by state and local mandates.

The landlord of Crocker Galleria, Post-Montgomery Associates, reportedly contends that Julie's Kitchen has not met the lofty annual revenue threshold of $500,000 required in its 2014 lease—grounds for issuing the restaurant with a chilling 30-day eviction notice. "Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we've faithfully paid our rent and maintenance fees in full and on time, even during the state and local mandates against buffet-style restaurants," read a message from Julie and Jisoo Yoo, posted at their entrance and found on their website.

The couple's plight further intensified when their landlord's attorneys claimed that gross sales at Julie's Kitchen plummeted to $149,435 in early 2023, seeming to validate their decision. However, the Yoo's fervently dispute these figures, countering that since the lifting of pandemic mandates and the return of their buffet in May, their third-quarter gross sales in 2023 nearly matched pre-pandemic levels. "Now our gross sales are up, so we can meet the requirement in the lease," Julie Yoo told the San Francisco Chronicle, implying that the eviction attempt might have more to do with redevelopment plans for the mall than financial underperformance.

In a twist of fate, or perhaps strategic maneuvering, the timing of this eviction notice coincides with a month before Julie's Kitchen is due to report its next quarter sales in December—sales that Julie Yoo suggests would meet the lease's requirements. Meanwhile, a vague remodeling project that involves converting a portion of Crocker Galleria's retail space into offices has lingered since 2019, with new developments suggested as recently as February, say public records cited by the Chronicle. However, details remain shrouded, and the mall's management reportedly indicates that renovations are still on schedule for 2025.

Julie and Jisoo Yoo plan to stand their ground against what they label as "unjust" action. They’re rallying their supportive customer base by asking them to share their story on social media, as their post on julieskitchensf.com says.