Japanese restaurant O Chamé, which has been on Berkeley’s Fourth Street for 23 years, is closing its doors on Sunday July 28.
Owners David and Hiromi Vardy told their staff about the decision to shutter the popular restaurant last week. Reader Nathan alerted Berkeleyside to the news on Monday. “It’s closing after 23 years. By this time next week, it will be one of the best restaurants the Bay Area ever had,” he wrote.
A new restaurant is slated to open in the O Chamé space at 1830 Fourth Street. Berkeleyside will bring you details when we have them.
O Chamé was one of the early businesses to establish itself on Fourth Street as it emerged as a vibrant commercial corridor thanks to developer Denny Abrams in the 1980s. The Vardys and Abrams designed O Chamé in 1990 as an offshoot of the couple’s previous business, Daruma Teashop, a temple-like retreat at the corner of 6th and Gilman streets. (Neither the Vardys or Abrams were available for comment.)
O Chamé was regularly included in restaurant critic Michael Bauer’s Top 100 list in the San Francisco Chronicle.
As the restaurant explains on its website, O Chamé, literally translated, means ‘eyes of tea’, but colloquially it means ‘playful little one’, a reference to Lia, the Vardy’s daughter, when she was a baby.
David Vardy told Inside Scoop SF it was an “incredibly hard decision,” to close the restaurant, but that he had a new business venture in the works — designing a new type of porcelain oven that mimics a wood-fired one. He added that he had “big respect” for the owners of new restaurant that’s taking the place of O Chamé.