As always, this month’s closings include spots which seemed so much a part of the East Bay landscape that their new absence is jarring. But along with all the usual risks and reasons for industry closures, pandemic fallout also continues, and, like COVID-19, will be with us for a while. Please continue to support local restaurants, and share any Nosh opening or closing tips at email@example.com.
NICK’S LOUNGE Though we knew Nick’s Lounge was for sale, retiring owner Bryan Smith had high hopes that the karaoke and jazz bar would endure, so we had not yet marked it permanently closed. Months later, news is scant, though a drive-by yields a quiet crow on a building under construction, and a June Facebook post declared, “Yes, it’s true, Nick’s Lounge is closed forever.” We’ll let you know when and if new owners turn that mic back on, but for now… Nick’s Lounge was at 3218 Adeline St.
PLEARN THAI Plearn on University is sadly out of business. The casual Thai dining room was a local go-to for many, part of the extended Plearn family of Thai restaurants that first opened in Berkeley in 1982. Some might remember when Plearn Thai moved to its current location in 2008, from a previous space on University near the UC Theatre. Note: Little Plearn Thai Restaurant on Shattuck Avenue, rooted in the same family group, remains open, as does Plearn Thai Palace in Walnut Creek. Plearn Thai was at 1923 University Ave.
SLOJOY COFFEE ROASTERS Downtown Oakland’s Slojoy has closed after six years as a roastery and three as a brick-and-mortar cafe. Owner Chris Stites (who is also a local pastor) and his family passed the baton in June to Motivat Coffee Roasters, which opened in the space in July. Slojoy Coffee Roasters was at 1528 Webster St.
THE KEBABERY There are two pieces of good news to attach to this seemingly unfortunate closure. First, The Kebabery is not actually closing, it’s moving, to bigger digs close by at 2929 Shattuck Ave. Look for opening news soon. Second, what’s moving into this Longfellow space is Joodooboo, an exciting, approachable new Korean deli specializing in house-made tofu and banchan from Steve Joo (Nokni). Wins all around. The Kebabery was at 4201 Market St.
DOGWOOD Readers and Reddit first let us know, and Google and Yelp seem to have confirmed, that Uptown’s Dogwood has permanently closed after 10 years. Cue a soft howl of lament from Oakland bar lovers; Dogwood’s simple, approachable class will be missed. Dogwood was at 1644 Telegraph Ave. Update: After this report was published, Dogwood’s Instagram account emerged from its 7-month-long silence to say that it will reopen with the same owner, but with a new name. “Yes the grilled cheese will be back,” they write. Excellent news for fans of the popular neighborhood spot; we’ll keep an eye out for the venue’s rebirth.
EMC SEAFOOD & RAW BAR LA-based chain EMC Seafood & Raw Bar has locations throughout SoCal, but its Bay Area presence was halved in recent weeks when its Concord outpost permanently shuttered. Beyond The Creek was the first to notice the closure, noting that it had “opened a few years ago at the Veranda shopping center.” Fans of EMC’s fishy dishes, which include sushi, pasta, tacos and more, can still head to its other NorCal spot in San Jose. EMC Seafood & Raw Bar was at 2015 Diamond Blvd Suite 100 in Concord.
ZACHARY’S SAN RAMON It’s hard to imagine the reign of any of the five locations of the smooth-running Zachary’s pizza empire coming to a close, but it’s true — after 15 years, San Ramon’s fancier Zachary’s and its patio are no more because of a landlord dispute, according to Nosh. San Ramon’s loss, however, is Pleasanton’s gain, as those Spinach & Mushroom pies will now be served 20 minutes down 680, with cocktails, at 337 Main St. in Pleasanton. Look for an opening date soon to come. Zachary’s San Ramon was at 3110 Crow Canyon Place in San Ramon.
A&W Of all the zombie restaurants in pandemic stasis, this one might be the zombiest: Berkeley’s brand-new A&W, that opened to big hurrays last August at the corner of Ashby and Telegraph, is ghosted and trashed, and bears the mysterious sign “Restaurant Temporarily Closed Due To Lack Of Result of Covid 19.” A young clerk at the gas station counter next door offered this hazy insight: “I don’t know, man — it’s been closed for like three years. Something’s wrong with it.” To distraught nearby Willard students and other root beer and soft serve fans, we regret to say that even A&W’s national representatives aren’t sure if the franchise location will reopen. Good thing Smokehouse is right down the road. A&W is at 2996 Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley.
BAR 355 Bar 355’s phone still works, and its website is still live, but readers and Google have alerted us that the space may be dark. Permanent closure is unconfirmed as of press time so we’re adding it to the temporarily closed list for now, with fingers crossed. Update: After publication of this report, Nosh heard from proprietor Travis Dutton that the 11-year-old Oakland bar is open, and in fact just received parklet permitting and is currently working on that construction. Hang in there fans: Reopening remains TBD, but will happen.Bar 355 is at 355 19th St. in Oakland.
DOC’S REFRESHER Check out Eve Batey’s closer look at why temporarily shuttered Doc’s Refresher did not reopen in June as anticipated. Spoiler: Yet another driver lost control and slammed into a building. (See past versions of this same story at Oakland’s Howden’s Market, Emeryville’s Prizefighter, Arizmendi Emeryville and Berkeley’s still-closed Quince Cafe.) Doc’s Refresher remains closed until further notice, and is at 984 University Ave. in Berkeley.
FORT POINT ROCKRIDGE Fort Point Beer fans who spotted that the company’s first brewery, Beerworks in Mill Valley, closed this month might cast a questioning glance at the long papered-over Fort Point Rockridge tap room. Not to worry: Company reps have confirmed that the hibernating Oakland bar shall return despite appearances, though a date remains TBD. Fort Point Rockridge is at 6309 College Ave. in Oakland.
ROYAL CAFE Some might have missed the most recent update on this Albany classic. In a happy response to a Nosh feature by contributor Risa Nye on the cafe’s uncertain future, Royal Cafe owner Majid Mahani came forth with the cafe’s target reopening month: August. See you soon at the pink castle. Royal Cafe is at 811 San Pablo Ave. in Albany.
SERENE Chef and Oakland native Jonathan De La Torre has found a new gig in San Francisco, and has confirmed that his Moroccan pop-up venture Serene in the East Bay remains on hold for now. Serene was formerly in operation (pre-pandemic) out of the Hidden Cafe at 1250 Addison St. in Berkeley.
SHAWARMAJI Jordan-style street food pop-up turned permanent spot Shawarmaji will be dark for the next couple of weeks but fear not, fans — chef Mohammad Abutaha and his family are only on vacation in Abutaha’s native Jordan. Here’s wishing them safe travels and a speedy return. Shawarmaji is at 2123 Franklin St. in Oakland.
SMISH SMASH In a familiar sign of the times (the actual sign being “We’re Hiring!” that is now posted on countless restaurant doors), smash-hit burger popup Smish Smash has been forced to shutter temporarily due to lack of staff. Watch Instagram for possible reopening news. Smish Smash is at Neptune’s, 630 Central Ave. in Alameda.
STELLA NONNA This amiable gathering place on San Pablo Avenue has been closed for many weeks with no announcement or signage. Furnishings and the spot’s colorful decor remain intact, but attempts to reach the owners even through their catering operation have gone unanswered, so we’re putting a pin in it until we hear more. Stella Nonna is at 1407 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley.
Interim Nosh editor Eve Batey contributed to this report