Chickpea cake with Brussels sprouts at Encuentro in Oakland. Photo: albedo20/Flickr

After close to eight years in business, the Jack London Square wine bar and vegetarian restaurant Encuentro has closed. Jan. 29 was its last day of service.

Writing on both the restaurant’s website and Facebook page, co-owners Linda Braz and Lacey Sher said:

“It is with a heavy heart that we are saying goodbye. The rising costs of doing business in an economy that is fraught with uncertainty has become overwhelmingly difficult. We love you and will miss you terribly but we have to think with our heads and not with our hearts. … Thank you all for your 7+ years of love and support. It has meant more to us then you realize and has kept us going in spite of adversity.”

Encuentro opened in 2009 as a small wine bar. It moved to a larger space and expanded its menu to include entrees in 2014. In 2013, Nosh called Encuentro’s wine list one of several “stand-outs” in the East Bay.

The sudden closure took the restaurant’s fans off-guard, many of whom flocked to Encuentro’s Facebook page to share both their chagrin and support.

One customer wrote:  “I wish you guys had given everyone a heads up so that we could have all come in one last time. As you can see, a lot of shocked and disappointed fans today…”

Another added: “heart broken :( …I can’t believe this. I am so tired of the Bay Area, amazing businesses are not able to afford to stay open in this economy.”

And a former employee even chimed in: “I have enjoyed Encuentro cafe and wine bar so very much over the years, so much that I got a job there. I confirm that the food was so special because of the love & thoughtfulness behind everything. Very happy that Linda and Lacey can move on to different projects, and look forward to their future endeavors.”

Eater SF reports that there will be two cash-only goodbye pop-ups in the space. On Feb. 3, Encuentro will serve beer, wine and a “simple supper menu” from 5 to 9 p.m. The following Friday at the same time, it will offer a “new creative menu” designed around the full moon.

Braz and Sher also hinted at future pop-up events in the space in their statement.

We will keep you posted if and when we learn more details.

Kate Williams has been writing about food since 2009. After spending two years developing recipes for cookbooks at America’s Test Kitchen, she moved to Berkeley and began work as a freelance writer and...