Six Norcal Cafe Gratitudes to sell or close

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011


Cafe Gratitude Healdsburg interior

Cafe Gratitude interior

SFist is reporting the closure/sale of all Northern California Cafe Gratitude locations. The six locations on the chopping block include Healdsburg, along with SF Mission, Oakland, Berkeley, San Rafael, Cupertino and Santa Cruz.

The company states that the restaurants will remain open as owners seek buyers, but the parent company is dissolving due in part to “aggressive lawsuits”.  The lawsuits allege illegal tip pooling and unpaid overtime wages filed by three plaintiffs. But a lawyer speaking to InsideScoopSF thinks there’s something bigger than a couple of small potatoes lawsuits going on here.

A note from owners Matthew and terces Engelhart on Facebook states:

With great sadness we are announcing the upcoming closing/sale of all Northern California Café Gratitude’s.

A series of aggressive lawsuits has brought us to this unfortunate choice. Although we believe that we have done nothing wrong and our policies are completely legal, it will cost us too much money to defend them in court. Despite telling the attorneys that brought the lawsuits that the current structure and resources of Café Gratitude are insufficient to sustain and defend our community, they have refused to give up and are forcing us to close.

We appreciate the loyalty of our employees and customers over these past 8 years and are grateful for having had the opportunity to serve each of you. We were happy to tolerate low margins and sustain ourselves on the transformation and personal growth of our people, while providing local organic vegan food to our community in an atmosphere of unconditional love. That commitment is under attack and we are not able to weather this storm.

This process will take a few months so please keep coming in and let’s celebrate our 8 years of success together, we are grateful for you!

We have come to realize that it isn’t how we serve that is most important but rather that we serve.

Our mission will survive this, as love cannot be threatened.

Thank you and love to you all,

Matthew and Terces Engelhart on behalf of Café Gratitude, LL

Another recent Healdsburg shutter: Shimo

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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  1. The worst meal I’ve eaten in my entire life was at Cafe Gratitude. Absolutely disgusting.

  2. I am Thankful.

  3. Too bad for Healdsburg, another restaurant closing. It is good to have Cafe Gratitude as a choice in this town; no other one like it in this town.

  4. Keep drinking the cult koolaid Michelle.

  5. “I am so thankful noone can drag me here ever again”.

    That said, $20k in lawsuits isn’t why they are closing but they can blame their failings on them out of convenience… that is $2500 a store. The smart thing to do when you drive places into the ground like this is to open a seperate LLC, move your operation to SoCal and leave your failings behind.

    Oh wait, that is what they did.

  6. Thank God that place is gone. Keep the hummus and granola in west county.

  7. My day today started with complete sadness & disbelief over this news. I want someone to just say “IT ISN’T SO”. Cafe Gratitude has been one of my most favorite places in northern Sonoma County since they opened in Healdsburg. Their restaurant is a WONDERFUL place with the most genuine, delightful and wonderful people working there. And the food is always delicious and incredibly healthy, exactly what I seek. When I dine there, I never want to leave. It isn’t just the great FOOD, its also the FEELING and the ENERGY you feel being in that space at their restaurant. Matthew and Terces are incredible people and authors of an amazing book called “Sacred Commerce”…don’t miss reading it. They practice & believe in doing business in a way that all businesses should be practicing and if they were, this world would be a completely different place for us all, not what it is today. I hardly believe that they would be doing anything to their family of employees that would not be upholding them in a most honorable way. I am hoping for some sort of miracle to put this back on the positive and for things to all work out so that they WILL and CAN keep all of their locations OPEN!

  8. “First thing we do is kill all the lawyers.” (Shakespeare)

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