A rumor has been swirling around the Mission, first floated by anti-corporate gadfly Chicken John, that local bakery chain La Boulange is set to take over the Summit space at 780 Valencia as of June 1. Uptown Almanac further elucidates the story, explaining that the reason the Summit had to close in the first place was that their rent was doubled, to a whopping $30,000 a month, because building owners i/o ventures may be having some financial troubles. Who can pay such rent, you ask?
Well, Starbucks and La Boulange were allegedly the only takers, and reportedly the landlords were going with La Boulange.
In the intervening months while La Boulange would be attempting to do battle with Mission neighbors and tries to get building permits and whatnot, a small temporary café called 780 Café, is going to be operating there rent-free. Meanwhile, La Boulange will have to request an exemption to a neighborhood ban on formula retail good luck with that.
Along with a new spot in the revamped Metreon, we believe this would bring La Boulange's total Bay Area empire to eighteen locations and counting. But they definitely have a fight ahead of them.
Meanwhile, we believe the Summit team of Desi Danganan and chef Eddie Lau may yet have a new location planned, where the rent isn't so damn high.
Update: Mission Local spoke with Ashwin Navin of i/o ventures yesterday who deflects the La Boulange rumor without outright denying it. He writes, "As long as we’re in the building, we’ll always try to give the start-up entrepreneur a chance, and right now we’re happy to see Jose Ramos [and 780 Café] take the torch." The "right now" part is what leads us to wonder if the rumor wasn't correct about it being a temporary, conditional arrangement. A dispute over high rent, and possible lack of profitability, was reportedly what forced the Summit out, so we remain skeptical that another small café operation is going to fare much better. But clearly this story is still developing, and for now, look for 780 Café to open soon. [Mission Local]
Update 2: Apparently the La Boulange deal was a no-go, though they did consider the space. La Boulange owner Pascal Rigo reaches out to say, "We are very focused on serving and giving back to our communities and the neighborhoods we operate in. We did initially look at the space last year, but we were not interested in moving forward with it." [Grub Street]
La Boulange Bakery Moving Into the Former 'The Summit' Space June 1st? [Uptown Almanac]
Earlier: The Summit Is Closing, New Coffee Vendor to Replace It
La Boulange to Open On Sutter Street In September, on California Street and in Walnut Creek Later