It was a month of gathering outside, in parklets and under shade trees (a.k.a. Bay Area air conditioning), reinvigorating community and continuing to attempt to build a new foundation from the wreckage of the past few years.
Meanwhile, the following former havens for community, some beloved by locals for decades, chose the beginning of summer to say good-bye.
Please send closing tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHEN HUA Elmwood neighborhood mainstay Shen Hua was like a dear friend to Berkeley students and locals for 25 years. “My favorite place in the world,” commented one Instagram follower, amid many upset responses to owner Edward Chu’s closing announcement on social media and posted on the Chinese restaurant’s front door. The Daily Californian called it an “important staple of the campus experience,” and deeply mourned its loss as a celebration restaurant that will be sorely missed. As noted on on SF Gate, Shen Hua is one of several long-loved East Bay neighborhood Chinese standouts that have closed in recent months. Diners are starting to dread seeing homemade signs posted on doors. Shen Hua was at 2914 College Ave.
SHIHLIN TAIWAN STREET SNACKS The Berkeley location near Cal of this Taiwanese street food chain has closed after five years. Luckily there remain six Bay Area branches, from Fremont to San Francisco’s Stonestown Galleria, where fans can still find their fix. The Sather Lane space in Berkeley has already reopened as Noody (see this month’s openings). Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks was on Sather Lane at 2431 Durant Ave., Suite B.
SPUN SUGAR We hate to break it to local bakers, cake decorators and candy makers, but Linda Moreno’s one-stop boutique oasis for chocolate, sanding sugars, candy molds, bakeware and all essential and specialty sweet supplies for the high-end confectioner (or hobbiest) has closed. Not just a sugar shop, Spun Sugar was also a wonderful local resource for classes in the sugar arts, and Moreno let Nosh know via email that her reasons for closing the store were to deepen that focus. “Just changing my path to teach more,” said Moreno, “And step away from a six-day week and long hours.” Sweet news for future students. Spun Sugar was at 1611 University Ave. Read more about Spun Sugar on Berkeleyside’s Shop Talk.
TAKO SUSHI Open for at least 15 years, probably longer, Tako Sushi was a serviceable, student- and budget-friendly Telegraph Avenue sushi and bento-box favorite, with a casual dining room and back patio. Diners were noticing some hiccups in service and quality recently, and then a reader (thank you!) informed us that Tako appears to have closed, “in a hurry” — the room is ghosted, and even the exterior sign lettering has been hastily removed. Website and phone have been disconnected, and attempts to reach the owners have not been successful. Students, we are sorry for your fast-casual sushi loss. Tako Sushi was at 2379 Telegraph Ave.
GOOD TO EAT DUMPLINGS POP-UP AT ORIGINAL PATTERN BREWING CO. This Taiwanese dumpling group’s brand-new Emeryville brick-and-mortar at 1298 65th St. is in full swing, so the team said “so long” at the end of June to their four-year-long pop-up at Original Pattern Brewing Co. A farewell post honored their hosts and experience there, and called the departure a “bittersweet graduation.” Prepare to stand in line at their new permanent dumpling shop. Meanwhile, Original Pattern has an array of upcoming pop-ups planned, including food from Citizen Pizza and Woo Can Cook. Good To Eat Dumplings former pop-up was at Original Pattern Brewing Co. in Oakland.
NIKKO’S FAMILY RESTAURANT This one will stir memories for many: An Alameda tipster let us know that Nikko’s Family Restaurant, in Oakland near Alameda, has shuttered for good, taking with it decades of old-school, diner-style breakfasts, chicken-fried steak, burgers, spaghetti, drinks and coffee — all available (pre-COVID) a nostalgic 24 hours a day. Nikko’s undated menu says it served the Bay Area for “over 60 years,” but as management has departed and records are sketchy — one site simply says, Yogi Berra style, “Nikko’s has been serving the Bay Area since it opened.” — Nosh hopes there is a reader or Oakland historian out there who can actually pinpoint an opening year. Because this is the kind of place that’s going away, and some of us still need this kind of place. Thanks for all the come-as-you-are, late night, post-bar, pre-graveyard-shift ham and eggs, Nikko’s. And for all the no-frills, daytime, family meals as well. The East Bay will miss your gently eccentric late-night refuge and your storied diner booths, counter and barstools, and for those maybe unfamiliar with the wonders of a classic, all-night diner — sadly, you might never know what you’re missing, at least around here. Nikko’s Family Restaurant was at 340 23rd Ave.
OAK HARVEST KITCHEN City Center plant-based restaurant Oak Harvest Kitchen (also home to Zella’s Soulful Kitchen, see below) has closed. The seven-year-old restaurant was known for its fresh, flavorful vegan and vegetarian fare and friendly service. According to an Instagram post, Oak Harvest’s team — part of the Mandela Partners group — hopes to continue and expand its valuable kitchen training programs for those seeking employment in the food industry, but the restaurant itself has closed. Oak Harvest Kitchen was at 499 14th St.
SOUL SLICE Juneteenth would have marked the first year anniversary for this stylish soul food and biscuit-crust pizza restaurant, but it has been marked temporarily closed online for several weeks. Attempts to reach the owner have gone unanswered, and despite its strong start in 2022, including backyard gospel brunches and rave reviews from diners, Soul Slice’s phone has since been disconnected and emails to its listed addresses bounce back. If we’re incorrect, please let us know, but it seems fully closed. Soul Slice was at 5849 San Pablo Ave.
ZELLA’S SOULFUL KITCHEN Chef and caterer Dionne Knox, a La Cocina and Mandela Grocery Cooperative alum, launched her City Center counter service spot Zella’s Soulful Kitchen in December 2019. The business, named for her grandmother, shared space with Oak Harvest Kitchen (see above), and served farm-fresh, California-style soul food. Both restaurants are now closed, but please note: Zella’s very popular catering business remains open while Knox seeks a new location for the restaurant. Zella’s Soulful Kitchen was at 499 14th St.
PATATAS KITCHEN Emeryville has lost one of its coziest restaurants, as first reported by the E’ville Eye. “Dear friends and customers,” says the letter on Patatas Kitchen’s website. “We want to thank you for all of your support during these years. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you and be a part of this wonderful neighborhood.” Chef-owner Marcos Quezada founded Patatas as a farmers market business in 2012, and moved into the Emeryville storefront in 2017, turning his focus shortly before the pandemic from in-house dining to catering, takeout and delivery only. Its food was nourishing, often Latin-inflected, sort of like an international deli, with Spanish tortillas, empanadas, paella, soups and stews; a later pandemic pivot with co-owner and chef Rebecca Stevens streamlined the menu to focus on rotisserie chicken, savory sauces, sandwiches, salads and sides — as one Yelp reviewer put it, like comfort food but actually healthy. Patatas Kitchen was at 3986 Adeline St. in Emeryville.
RICKY’S CORNER In our 2019 round-up of quieter East Bay restaurants, old-fashioned Rodeo favorite Ricky’s Corner — described as “being from another time” — was a notable choice among locals, and one we were unreasonably heartbroken to see close its doors last month, as first reported by Eater. The comfortable, full-service restaurant and lounge was opened in 1978 by Rick and Judy Bratton, who first met while waiting tables at Vera’s Villa Valona in Crockett. The Brattons quickly gained a following for the homestyle cooking at Ricky’s Corner, including particularly good fried chicken, as well as its gracious, family-friendly atmosphere. Rick Bratton died in 1995, and Judy and her son and daughter-in-law continued to operate the restaurant until its last day on June 25. “We want to express how grateful we are to each and every one of you,” says the good-bye statement circulating on social media. “From our regulars, to out-of-towners, and even to those who’ve only had our food once. Every interaction helped mold our restaurant into a place where people could come together, feel welcomed, be a part of our family, and of course…fill their bellies and sometimes, even fill their hearts.” Ricky’s Corner was not on a corner at all. It was located at 18 Parker Ave. in Rodeo.
LOS MOLES EMERYVILLE Now posted on the door and website of the very popular Los Moles location in Emeryville is notice that it is temporarily closed for now. As noted by the E’ville Eye, no timeline has been given for the closure, nor an explanation, and attempts to reach Los Moles management to find out more had not been successful as of publication time. Los Moles El Cerrito and San Rafael are both open. We’ll keep you posted. Los Moles Emeryville is at 1320 65th St. in Emeryville.