After a two-and-a-half year run, Hey Handsome will officially close on Dec. 1.

The Southeast Asian restaurant will be halting operations due to an administrative decision regarding rental agreement.

“We were planning on renewing our contract but the landlord already offered the space to someone else. We wanted to give it another shot, but apparently the decision was already made,” chef and co-owner Nicco Santos told the Inquirer.

Nobody could have foreseen the news, including Santos, who, together with his staff and culinary partner Quenee Vilar, had to surmount roadblocks—high food and construction costs, difficulty courting the picky Taguig crowd—before turning Hey Handsome into the enterprise that it is now.

“For us, it wasn’t about the numbers. We wanted to do something we could all be proud of. We wanted to contribute to the Manila food scene and have a creative space for talented cooks. We’re happy,” said Santos.

However a new concept set to open in 2019 is already in the works. “I’m starting anew and with a clearer direction this time as I know exactly what I want to cook,” Santos said.” The young restaurateur and his team are also set to collaborate with Myke “Tatung” Sarthou and Park Bench Deli.

Hey Handsome first opened in BGC in 2016.