Duchess in Rockridge. Photo: Duchess Facebook

ROYALS NO MORE Last week, Duchess Oakland in Rockridge abruptly closed. We heard the news from an employee, whose job was terminated upon returning from a holiday break following its New Year’s Eve dinner, which turned out to be the restaurant’s last evening service. Over the weekend, owners Caroline Conner and Chris Strieter confirmed the news, that the restaurant we’ve known as Duchess has officially closed. “We’ve enjoyed the past year, but sadly, Duchess will not be able to reopen its doors in 2018,” read a notice on the restaurant’s website.

When we followed up with Duchess, we received the following email response: “We’ve decided to close and revisit the concept in order to find a more sustainable business model. Current ownership is in talks regarding a new partnership. The space will be renovated and details will be forthcoming as plans evolve.” Conner and Strieter said, via email, that a “lack of financial sustainability was the reason for closure,” which wasn’t confirmed until they did a year-end analysis. Once the realization was made, they said, “we made the decision to close and notify the team immediately so we could assist anyone who was interested with referrals and introductions to other employers seeking help.” We will update you on Nosh when we get further details of what’s to come in the space next.

JUHU BEACH CLOSURE This past weekend, Preeti Mistry’s first East Bay restaurant, five-year-old Juhu Beach Club, served its first and last two meals of 2018. The restaurant was closed for the holidays, reopening for its final dinner services on Friday, Jan. 5 and Saturday, Jan. 6. While sad news, it’s not exactly shocking. As Nosh first announced last September, the closure had been planned by Mistry and wife/business partner Ann Nadeau, who had put the restaurant space at 5179 Telegraph Ave. up for sale. The couple hinted that another iteration of the restaurant would be coming, but have been very vague about details for what’s next for Juhu. In the meantime, fans can still get a taste of Mistry’s food at Navi Kitchen in Emeryville (or replicate recipes from her new-ish Juhu Beach Club cookbook), and Juhu will host a few last special events in the space this month, including, possibly, according to Eater, “a collaboration with the yet-to-be announced restaurant that will take its place.”

The tea leaf salad at Burma Superstar. Photo: Burma Superstar Facebook

SUPERSTAR PICK-UP In October 2016, Pico Paco Taqueria quietly closed and the space at 4911 Telegraph Ave. has been vacant ever since. We just learned some news that will interest the dedicated followers of nearby restaurant, Burma Superstar, located a couple of blocks away, at 4721 Telegraph Ave. Shifra de Benedictis-Kessner of Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District told Nosh that Burma Superstar is building out the space as a to-go spot. As anyone who has ever attempted to dine-in at the popular Oakland location on Telegraph Ave. can attest, there’s often a long wait for seating, so a new pick-up locale could help make it faster and easier to get your samusa soup and tea leaf salad without an extra helping of hanger. Nosh reached out to Burma Superstar for comment, but have not yet heard a response from the restaurant.

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD POP-UP Jeff Mason of Pal’s Takeaway has been on the prowl for a new brick and mortar shop since moving out of Oakland food incubator space, Forage Kitchen, last fall. He continues to make the pop-up circuit around Berkeley and Oakland, including a few one-offs at Bartavelle last year and an upcoming appearance this weekend at Cole Coffee, but he got in touch with Nosh to let us know he is about to launch a new regular pop-up in North Oakland. Starting on Jan. 23, Pal’s Takeaway will be open for lunch service every Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Kebabery in Longfellow. The Kebabery is currently only open for dinner and is closed on Tuesdays, so this match-up is a good fit. Mason plans to serve a revolving menu of sandwiches ($12), or for the carb-averse, the sandwich fixings on a bed of greens (also $12), as well as beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks and chocolate babka for dessert. Mason said he hopes to open more weekly lunch pop-ups around town as his search for a permanent residency continues. Pal’s Takeaway will pop-up for lunch on Tuesdays at The Kebabery, 4201 Market St. (at 42nd), Oakland

Breakfast sandwich with eggs, rosemary ham, Jack cheese and avocado at Grand Lake Kitchen in Oakland. Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr

GLK PART 2 Good news for Dimond residents — Grand Lake Kitchen is opening a second outpost in the Oakland neighborhood. East Bay Express first reported that co-owners May Seto Wasem and David Wasem will be opening a new deli-grocery-restaurant location sometime this fall within the 5,500-square-foot space formerly occupied by Full Moon Seafood House. The plan is to serve similar offerings — breakfast fare, sandwiches, salads, soups and other “Jewish deli classics,” for dine-in and take-out — at the Dimond spot as at its original Adams Point location, but with some new menu items to boot. Grand Lake Kitchen will be at 2042 MacArthur Blvd. (at Dimond), Oakland

BEAUTY REST North Oakland’s Beauty’s Bagel Shop, which Nosh recently claimed the East Bay’s best bagel maker, will be closed for business this week. Starting yesterday, Jan. 8, the shop is closed through Jan. 14 for “maintenance.” We got in touch with owner Amy Remsen to find out more details about the work happening behind the scenes during the temporary shutter. She said, “We’re installing a new kitchen floor, so that’s the main reason we’re closed. We’ll also be painting and doing some small projects as well.” Beauty’s will reopen on Jan. 16 after its mini make-over. Beauty’s Bagel Shop, 3838 Telegraph Ave. (between 38th and 40th), Oakland

SIX YEARS AND COUNTING Emeryville’s community-based coffee roaster, Ubuntu Coffee Cooperative, is celebrating its sixth anniversary of roasting fair trade, organic coffee. This weekend, they’re throwing a party at their roaster, featuring free cake and a chance to meet cooperative members. The party takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13. Ubuntu Coffee Cooperative, 5515 Doyle St. (near 55th), Ste. 7, Emeryville

A sign in the window at 1820 Solano announces a French bakery to come. Photo: Ira Serkes

BLISSED BAKERY A sign in the windows of the long vacant retail space, which once housed La Farine, proclaims that a new French bakery is coming soon. According to Allen Cain of the Solano Avenue Association, permits have been approved for the new business called Kitchen Bliss, which will take over the space. No further information was known and attempts to reach the landlord of the property have been unanswered. Stay tuned on Nosh for more details. Kitchen Bliss will be at 1820 Solano Ave. (at Colusa), Berkeley

[UPDATED Jan. 10] TEMESCAL ALLEY IS ‘PAIN’-LESS The Pain Shop, the retail store in Temescal Alley that sells San Mateo-based Pain Bakery’s bread, has closed. This is very sad news for yours truly, a weekly customer at Pain ever since the shop opened in November. The East Bay Express reported that the shop posted a sign on the door, which said: “We have decided to get our noses back to the grindstone to come up with something bigger and brighter for the future of Pain.” Pain Bakery owner Davey Surcamp told Nosh “the operation I had going was not sustainable on any level, and the only way forward was for me to put my efforts into building a bakery and restaurant, like I had intended from day one, and that is what I’m doing now.” He added that the new Pain spot will almost certainly be in Oakland, and will have bread and bakery offerings, sandwiches at lunch, and dinner… well, it “will be like a dinner party, with an emphasis on both dinner and party.” Sounds fun; we can’t wait!

CIAO MANZONE Last week, we pronounced Elmwood as a veritable “Little Italy,” listing four Italian eateries within two blocks of the neighborhood. We didn’t realize it at the time, but three-year-old Cugini Manzone had quietly closed. Giuseppe and Michele Manzone opened the Italian restaurant  at 2930 College Ave. in March 2014, serving pizzas and other cuisine prepared in an Italian wood-fired oven, as well as antipasti and pastas. Rumor has it that another Italian food business may take its spot, so Elmwood’s “Little Italy” may have legs afterall.

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Sarah Han was the editor of Nosh from 2017 to 2021. Previously, she worked as an editor at The Bold Italic, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. In 2020, Sarah won SPJ NorCal's...