Aggressive lawsuits force Cafe Gratitude’s closure

SFist reports:

Terces Engelhart, owner of Café Gratitude, just posted the following announcement on her Facebook page announcing the closure/sale of all Northern California Café Gratitudes locations. According to Englehart, some “aggressive lawsuits” from former employees brought him to the decision to shutter his vegan/cult restaurants.

Read on for the full announcement and further astute commentary from SFist.

[Photo by Google Maps]

59 Responses to “Aggressive lawsuits force Cafe Gratitude’s closure”

  1. Lindsey says:

    RIP Gracias Madre

  2. MrEricSir says:

    The Inside Scoop blog reports the lawsuits are less than $200k, which makes the “force” part seem questionable.

    • Steve says:

      You also need to add in the costs of paying attorneys if you plan to fight something like this all the way to trial.

      • GG says:

        Something like this would never go to trial, and the costs of settlement would not be sufficient to warrant closing/selling the entire chain. Further, I would be very surprised if they did not have insurance that would cover a significant portion of the cost. Something fishy is going on, possibly: (1) they are aware of their extent of their wrongdoing and anticipate that one or more of the suits will be granted class-action status, (2) they plan to “sell” the restaurants to a related entity to make it harder for the plaintiffs to reach the assets, or (3) there are other reasons the business is failing and for some reason the owners want to use the suits as an excuse to paint themselves as victims.

        • somelady says:


        • Mission Russell says:

          @GG: You’ve hit the nails exactly on the head. Closing restaurants doesn’t relieve them from the lease obligations and I can’t imagine they want to pay rent on empty spaces. They also have a very odd message on their Facebook page that says the closing dates aren’t certain and depend on business volume. That’s code for “we’re hoping this sympathy ploy boosts business”. This isn’t over by any means. It remains to be seen whether they will go out, sell themselves or just settle these claims out of court and claim victory. The whole self-serving we’re the victim publicity campaign smells of dirty doings. I for one won’t be sad to see them go. Maybe something good will go into their space near my house.

      • MrEricSir says:

        Why would they go to trial? There’s no way in hell they’d win this, what they did is clearly illegal.

        Unless they think they can get off on a technicality, they have no defense here.

  3. Russel says:

    Question of the Day: Was it worth it?

    • Sweet T says:

      Was what worth it? Filing the lawsuits, or trying to force your employees into joining a creepy and expensive self-help cult?

    • Yerf says:

      I’ll go ahead and say that reading the SFist article confirmed for me that this was not a business ever worth supporting. I am glad these creeps never received a single penny from me.

      Burn in hell, Landmark shills. Maybe LA will be just dumb enough for your shenanigans.

  4. ALWAYS HIGH says:

    Number 2 result on yelp for “meat restaurant”

  5. Manny says:

    I always felt like a tool ordering food there, I am cynical

    • GG says:

      Not to devolve into minutiae, but you can just order with the “regular” name of the item (i.e. “the Mediterranean plate”). I always did (I Am Also Cynical).

  6. Garcia says:

    Lame to hear they were so culty, but man I enjoyed eating (take out) from there. Rest in Pita.

  7. dave says:

    good,the food was crap.

  8. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:


  9. Beer Goggles says:

    that pizza was insulting

  10. mewr says:

    I blame the sliding scale food bowl.

  11. prince says:

    $37.81 for a mushy bowl of uncooked vegetables, served with a side of humiliation. How could they go out of business?

    Getting asked on a first date to CG: red flag

  12. scum says:

    Another cult I never got to join.

    • new says:

      i’m sure you can find SOMEWHERE in SF…SOMEONE who would looooove to show you the wonders of Landmark!!

      /went to the intro, saw it was culty/brainwashy/scientology-y, did not sign up/give tons of money.

  13. Heather says:

    I loved their food (and I’m a meat eater) but I am with the employees all the way on this one. Why are so many veggie restaurants run by cults?

  14. iSai says:

    Good riddance. Their pretentious self-righteous dreadlocked-flavoured bullshit was borderline hilarious and pitiful. I hope they open a butcher shoppe in it’s stead. If meat is murder, then I’m a happy criminal.

    • GG says:

      What I always find borderline hilarious and pitiful is when people get so defensive about eating meat that they have to tell everyone how much they love it and how they would *never* go without it, and mock those who do. Handle those issues with your therapist, nobody else cares what you eat.

  15. Stu says:

    Busted! are you initials RS? I luv u buddy and could not agree more.

  16. Tiny Tim says:

    Expensive and average food. If you repeat the mantra–”organic and locally sourced” you can get them in the doors and increase your margins. Add chic look and hipstahs–another 15%. Tell them that Johnny Depp stops by when he’s in town–another 15%.

    Black beans, steamed, sauteed squash, hot sauce, some spices, a few greens and cheese on steamed whole wheat tortillas? Priceless–as in you can make them yourself in 10 minutes pour une fraction de la prix. Learn to cook, folks.

  17. ae says:

    does this mean gracias madre closes as well?

  18. wrybread says:

    Huge bummer. I’ve always loved their food, even loved the hippy vibe, which is easily ignorable if you’re not in the mood. It was grade A Mission quirkiness.

    And their coconut shake was the best thing for a hangover ever invented.

    And weird that so many people feel the need to aggressively pan their food. I don’t think anyone would claim that vegan raw food is for everyone, any more than bone marrow and sweat meats are. If Gratitude food isn’t your thing, no biggie go somewhere else. But I say having that sort of variety and weird quirkiness is good for San Francisco. If you can’t see that yet, wait until Flour & Water expands across the street and we get yet another yuppie magnet.

  19. 18th St. Neighbor says:

    Oh no…where will I find the huge helping of snobby arrogant attitude now? I guess I’ll have to find some other snobby vegan cult dining establishment to in-frequent.

  20. jackie says:

    I am grateful that they are gone.

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