August is typically sedate, but this month foodies have been abuzz with the drama at Gravitas, beginning with executive chef Jason Gould announcing on Twitter earlier this month that today would be his last at the lauded 4-year-old restaurant he opened with Scott Tycer. What followed was an intense battle of words between the former partners; Gould called into the Cleverley radio show and Tycer shot back all the way from Germany via Examiner columnist Mike Riccetti.
Chronicle reporter Maggie Galehouse writes that the split was "fueled by a sluggish economy, Gould's dream of running his own restaurant and maybe, a fistfight." Seems it has a lot to do with the fact that Tycer shouldered the financial responsibilities because Gould is an Australian citizen. Gould says as soon as he got citizenship they agreed he'd become a partner on the dotted line. It didn't happen.
With Gould's marriage to an American this spring, he says he tried to put half the loans in his name but was turned down by the bank, and instead offered to buy out Tycer's share. Tycer rejected the offer and informed Gould he was no longer considered a partner, prompting Gould's resignation. Rumors of a fistfight between the two men, who worked together since 2001, remain persistent but unconfirmed.
Lost in all the fracas is the possibility that Gravitas has fallen on hard times, most evident earlier this summer when Evan Turner, probably the most well-known sommelier in town, was laid off. With Gould out and Tycer taking the reins, only time will tell if this is the beginning of the end or just a bump in the road for Gravitas.
One more puzzling piece of the story -- Where is fab Chronicle restaurant columnist Alison Cook? This story seems tailor made for her.