Update 2/23: This story has been updated with new information from the Oceanview Diner
Less than two months after Bette’s Oceanview Diner closed its doors on Berkeley’s Fourth Street for good, its new owners will reopen the restaurant with a new name, a new sign and the same beloved menu.
Bette’s doors at 1807 Fourth St. first opened in April 1982, built by local development magnate Denny Abrams (and his company Abrams/Millikan & Kent) and under the ownership of co-founders Bette and Manfred Kroening and Sue Conley.
Conley left the business to found Cowgirl Creamery, and Bette died in 2017. Manfred, now aged 69, retired in January, shuttering the Diner and its To-Go operation as he did so. A few of the restaurant’s longtime workers approached Abrams, who is also the landlord of the space, and with business partner Richard Millikan he bankrolled the restaurant’s reopening as a worker-owned business, one that worker/owner William Bishop hopes to covert into a co-op once Abrams’s investment is paid back.
For nearly a week, the new restaurant, now called Oceanview Diner, announced via its Instagram account (@oceanviewonfourth) that the spot would reopen on March 1. However, after the story you’re reading was published, the Diner removed all references to that opening date from its page. Speaking to Nosh on Wednesday, worker/owner Kristen Luna apologized for the sudden edits.
According to Luna, who was the manager of Bette’s To-Go and will manage the To-Go operation at the Oceanview, delays with permits and equipment — including a new point-of-sale system — have pushed the opening date back, and “we should have done a new post announcing the date change,” she said. Now the team hopes to open “mid-March,” if all goes well.
“First we’ll reopen the Diner,” Luna said, where they’ll serve all the classics from the Bette’s menu (think morning buns and, of course, those fluffy pancakes). The To-Go window will open “a week or two later,” Luna said.
In the meantime, the Oceanview is working to hire staff and will reveal a “new sign soon,” it announced Tuesday. It’s a disappointment to learn that the March 1 opening date won’t happen, but Luna seems confident that the restaurant will reopen within weeks. Just remember, when you go, leave your (vintage, as it ceased print publication in 2020) copy of Playboy at home.