While some restaurateurs are still making big bets on downtown, Charles Phan has, after several years of foot-dragging, made it official that he is not reopening The Slanted Door at its longtime Ferry Building space.

The 2014 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Restaurant in the Country, and the highest-grossing restaurant in the state of California as of a decade ago, The Slanted Door is calling it quits at the Ferry Building. The restaurant's post-pandemic reopening, which Phan insisted was still happening as of late last year, seemed unusually delayed, and as of Thursday, Phan confirmed the bad news in a statement to Eater.

"I’m sad that after more than 15 years at the Ferry Building, we can’t return," Phan says. "We loved being there, but I’m also excited for future projects."

This is a significant blow to the Ferry Building, given the northeast corner, anchor space that The Slanted Door has occupied since the Ferry Building reopened in the 2004 (so, it's 20 years technically, minus the pandemic). And given the state of the local restaurant industry, it's hard to think of another restaurateur or restaurant group with an operation as large, proven and successful that would want to move there, or expand into the space.

Phan said in the statement that construction costs had grown too high for the extensive renovation he had planned in the space — and it's unclear how much of that renovation, which he has been talking about for three years since signing a new lease, had already occurred. His original reopening announcement had Slanted Door back open by summer 2022, and the last update was spring 2024.

Phan leaves open the possibility that The Slanted Door will reopen elsewhere — there is, for instance, always its original location at 584 Valencia Street, which currently sits vacant after the shuttering of Chezchez last year. But for now he says he is concentrating on his newer locations — in the last year Phan has opened Slanted Door locations in Napa and in the heart of Burgundy, in Beaune, France. And he also operates a location in San Ramon's Bishop Ranch complex. Phan also has a commissary kitchen in the Mission District out of which he runs Chuck's Takeaway, a sandwich shop that's only open for lunch.

The Slanted Door was unique when it opened in 1995, as Phan had ambitions to elevate Vietnamese cuisine "to the next level." As the restaurant website says, he did this through "modern design, sustainable local ingredients, quality teas, and wine pairings," and the Ferry Building location later became known for its cocktail program as well.

The restaurant was also known for having valet parking on Valencia Street — a concept that was new to the Mission District at the time — and for being a destination that even President Bill Clinton dined at.

Phan gained widespread acclaim, and the restaurant relocated to SoMa in 2002 before moving two years later to the renovated Ferry Building. In 2004, Phan won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Pacific.

Since the pandemic began, Phan has shuttered two previous Out the Door locations — one in the former Westfield mall food court, and one in Pacific Heights — as well as his Embarcadero bar Hard Water.

Representatives for the Ferry Building have not yet commented on the closure announcement.

Previously: Slanted Door's Charles Phan Signs New Lease at Ferry Building, Confirms Summer 2022 Reopening Plan