It’s heartbreaking to announce that chef Chris Ball’s Cotati restaurant, Down to Earth Cafe, closed on March 19.
The cafe opened in 2017, offering spot-on takes on comfort food, including short rib poutine, crispy fish and chips, shells and cheese with bacon and buttery butterscotch pudding. The former fine-dining chef opened a second location in Windsor during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it never gained traction.
Like other local restaurateurs who struggled through the pandemic, Ball held out hope that a return to in-person dining would revive the restaurant industry. He said ongoing labor struggles and a sharp increase in food prices ultimately forced his hand.
“Now is the time to go,” Ball said. “Bittersweet for sure, but I don’t think the situation for restaurants like us will get better as time goes on. We care too much about what we make and aren’t big enough or in the right location for it to continue to work with the extreme increases in food, labor and overhead expenses.”