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The End of an Era for Frisson

If you’ve been following the restaurant gossip these last few months then you’ve likely heard about Frisson. The restaurant closed a few months ago, ostensibly for a redesign, and partners Joe Hargrave and Andrew McCormack (who also own Laiola) teamed up with Myth chef Sean O’Brien, with grand plans for a redesign and relaunch. Meanwhile, Frisson’s former chef Sarah Schafer scooted across town to head up the kitchen at the newly opened Anchor & Hope.

Well, Frisson fans, I hate to break the news, but they’ve decided against reopening the restaurant. Says Hargrave, “We all had our different reasons [for backing out].” But chief among them, he says, was cost. “It was taking us a lot longer to raise the money (some 1.4 million) for the remodel, and in the meantime we were paying $25,000 a month in rent.” The amount of debt just suddenly seemed too overwhelming, especially in the face of an economy that’s weak at best.

By now, this story is sounding painfully familiar—a few weeks back, news hit that Ritz-Carlton chef Ron Siegal wouldn’t be taking over the Myth space, and a few months before that we learned that Scott Howard, at first closed for a remodel and reconcepting, wouldn’t be reopening at all. Not only is that a difficult part of town to run a success restaurant (future restauranteurs, take note) but it’s also, I think, reflective of San Franciscans collective step towards more casual, mid-priced restaurants. Hargrave agrees. “Our generation likes to play it easy, taste the ingredients, keep it simple. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to wear a jacket [to dinner] ever again.”