The Perennial closes in San Francisco
The Perennial's 1,000-square-foot greenhouse in West Oakland represented how the restaurant took a versatile approach to food production.
Photo courtesy of Nathan Kaufman

The Perennial closes in San Francisco

The restaurant that aimed for a zero-carbon footprint grew nontraditional crops in an Oakland, California greenhouse.

February 11, 2019

The Perennial, a sustainability-focused restaurant that opened in San Francisco in 2015 and grew its own greenhouse crops in Oakland, California, closed Feb. 9. The restaurant announced on Instagram Feb. 9 that the evening would be its last night open.

“Tonight will be the last evening of service at The Perennial, where we always tried to imagine and embody a new way forward,” the post read. “Join us tonight to say goodbye to this idealistic, beautiful place, and to welcome uncharted waters, always open to the challenge of dreaming the impossible into existence.”

Karen Leibowitz, who was co-owner with her husband Anthony Myint, spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle about the decision to close the restaurant, which had a mission to have a zero-carbon footprint.

“The restaurant business is a lot of work. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to trim down the items on my to do list and it just made more sense to go this way,” Leibowitz told the Chronicle. “We can do a lot more if we focus more on communicating, consulting and advocacy.”

Leibowitz said the nonprofit Perennial Farming Initiative will continue its mission of supporting sustainable food production.

Produce Grower profiled Nathan Kaufman, former director of living systems at The Perennial, in its October 2017 People in Produce cover story package. Kaufman left The Perennial in 2018 to work full-time as the aquaponic program manager at the University of California, Davis.

In 2017, Kaufman, who also spoke at Indoor Ag-Con in Las Vegas that year, said he grew turmeric, dwarf cardamom and other unique greenhouse crops in The Perennial’s Oakland greenhouse, and also used food prep from the restaurant for compost.