It’s always a shock to discover that your go-to cafe has gone for good, seemingly without notice. In our weekly reports, we at Nosh seek to track every notable East Bay restaurant closure; we then reorganize them by region for this, our monthly report.
Since, unlike restaurant openings, these shutdowns often happen quietly, your tips and emails are what keeps this column going. They’re always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berkeley restaurant closures
3/9/23: As Nosh reported, chef Angela Pinkerton has announced that Berkeley commercial kitchen pie shop Pie Society is saying good-pie after three years. This will be the bakery’s final month, and there will be limited hours and walk-up sales after that until April 22. Nosh usually reports on shutterings nearer to or after their closing date, but so many folks were comforted during the pandemic by these pies — the key lime, the fig, the insert-your-favorite here — that we wanted to provide the area with a little extra heads-up. Pie Society is at 2533 Seventh St. in Berkeley, through April 22, 2023.
Purple Kow Center Street
3/9/23: Don’t worry Berkeley boba and snack fans — Purple Kow’s long-awaited new Channing Street location will open March 30 at the base of The Den student apartment complex near campus. In the meantime, yes, it’s true, the Center Street location in Berkeley permanently closed last week after 10 years, helpfully confirmed to Nosh by the good people at Top Dog next door (thank you!). Purple Kow Center Street was at 2164 Center St. in Berkeley.
3/31/23: Nosh readers (thank you for the alert) are mourning the closure of a favorite, quiet little downtown Berkeley lunch spot this month. Japanese snack shop Tamon Tea was opened in 2014 by Hiro Okada, and was a go-to for the area’s students especially, who would spill onto Center Street around lunchtime and make a beeline for Tamon’s affordable and tasty Japanese meals.
Tamon Tea sold savory bento boxes, beef bowls, omusubi (rice balls) and imported Japanese packaged goods, along with fresh mochi and other treats. Mr. Okada was also, as former Nosh editor Sarah Han mentions in this profile, the Coach behind Coach Sushi in Oakland; he has since sold his businesses and returned to Japan. In December of 2018, local chef-owner Hirokazu Nishikawa (Sushinista) took over the business, and kept it going through the years even as so many downtown businesses succumbed to pandemic hardship.
As announced via posted sign, Tamon Tea closed on March 18, and Nishikawa tells Nosh that he needs to assess next steps with regards to the space. Meanwhile, Nishikawa’s business Sushinista nearby continues to do a brisk business with students looking for satisfying, affordable Japanese fare. Tamon Tea was at 2055 Center St. in Berkeley.
El Sobrante restaurant closure
H.S. (Hundal Sahib) Fish and Chips
3/21/23: We learned through an announcement on Nextdoor that El Sobrante’s H.S. Fish and Chips closed after service on March 19. “We’d like to thank the community for all your continued support throughout the years,” said co-owner Serene Hundal. “You’ve become family. We will miss you all.”
Along with fried fish and seafood, baskets of french fries and onion rings, the family-friendly shop also sold Loard’s Ice Cream, and was a staple for the neighborhood, in summertime especially, for nearly 11 years. H.S. (Hundal Sahib) Fish and Chips was at 3550 San Pablo Dam Rd. in El Sobrante.
Oakland restaurant closures
Crooked City Cider Tap House
3/21/23: The rumors are true: Crooked City’s tap house has been sold, though the Jack London Square cider bar will remain open during what is sure to be a comforting transition: The space is now owned by Hesher’s Pizza, the popular sub tenants of Crooked City’s since 2022.
Since cider maker Dana Bushouse opened her tap house in 2019, Crooked City’s craft cider-centric beverage program built up an easy-going fan base, with locals there as much for the welcome vibe as the ciders, meads and kombuchas. Pinball, darts, board games, trivia nights and other community building events helped gather a grateful clientele to the cool, comfortable space, and Bushouse’s expert knowledge, warmth and humor will be missed.
Crooked City hosted a number of excellent in-house food subtenants over the years, regular pop-ups with munchies equal to the ciders in the pairing department. Hesher’s Pizza was its final subtenant, there since 2022, and Hesher’s founder Zak “Coffin” McCune anticipates keeping things cider-centric as they take over the reins, keeping the pizza menu Sicilian-pie focused and possibly adding a larger selection of beer and wine as things unfold. Crooked City Cider Tap House (now Hesher’s Pizza) was at 206 Broadway in Oakland.
The Everest MoMo
3/15/23: One of Nosh’s most loyal tipsters reports that the Broadway location of The Everest MoMo has shuttered, though we have not confirmed when the closure took place. The group has several other locations around the Bay Area, including a fleet of food trucks. The Everest MoMo was at 2212 Broadway in Oakland.
3/15/23: Oakland City Center neighborhood professionals might not believe it when they read that work-week staple The Fountain Cafe has closed, but sadly that is the case, as spotted by a Nosh friend.
Despite what some considered higher-than-average prices, the corporate-clean cafe, opened in 1995, was a familiar haunt for area workers looking for a fast, fresh and serviceable lunch. After nearly 30 years of coffee, pastries, sandwiches and of course heaping plates from the lunchtime salad bar — not to mention thousands of faxed-over catering orders for local business meetings — the pandemic’s resulting lack of neighborhood workers led to the cafe’s permanent closure. Fountain Cafe was at 499 14th St. in Oakland.
3/21/23: Though celebrated Oakland chef Nigel Jones just opened his all-day restaurant Calabash, it was a blow to learn that Jones’ Kingston 11 will close to diners on March 25 after 10 years in business. Jones told Eater, which first broke the news, that staffing problems prompted the closure.
Kingston 11 references the neighborhood of the Jamaican capital city where Jones spent his childhood, before moving to this country when he was 16. On the upside, many Kingston 11 favorites — jerk chicken, curry goat, Jamaican patties — will move over to Calabash, and the Kingston 11 restaurant itself will continue to function as a catering business and private events space.
Its personal and intimate cuisine and vibe will still be missed, however, as it was, “the spot to go,” to quote one Yelper, when on the town in Oakland and looking for a laid-back Caribbean meal. Kingston 11 was at 2270 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.
Luckyduck Bicycle Cafe
3/31/23: “Thanks for being part of our community,” reads a notice on Luckyduck Bicycle Cafe’s website. “It is with a heavy heart that we announce Luckyduck’s closure.”
The welcoming cafe and bicycle-focused space built a widespread fanbase for its many amenities — great cafe food, coffee, craft beer, attention to detail and caring customer service in downtown Oakland, including bike repair and maintenance. The beloved spot opened in 2016; its last day is March 31, making Oakland feel a little less lucky. Luckyduck Bicycle Cafe was at 302 12th St. in Oakland.
3/21/23: We’re big fans of chef Paul Canales here at Nosh, and were dismayed to see this news break on Eater: Occitania, Canales’ destination restaurant inside the Kissel Uptown hotel, closed on March 10.
The restaurant opened to no small fanfare last June, with diners praising the composed, sparkling, French-inspired dishes, ambitious menu and luxe vibe. As recently as February, Occitania was riding a wave of growing media exposure and adding new dishes to the menu, though it’s true Canales stopped serving breakfast and lunch last month, blaming “the combination of difficult staffing and business climate.”
Now, the charismatic chef will turn his attention back to nearby Duende, and we know fans will continue to line up there for his special touch with the flavors of Spain. Occitania was at 422 24th St. in Oakland.
3/15/23: Reminder: Live performance group PianoFight, with venues in San Francisco and Oakland, announced its upcoming closure earlier this year, and that time has come — the company and both locations will shutter permanently on Mar. 18.
Despite its music-focused name, PianoFight’s mission was cabaret-esque, hosting all kinds of entertainment, from live comedy to burlesque, film to drag to theatre to poetry readings. The nine-year-old San Francisco venue had three stages, food and a full bar; the newer Oakland black box theatre was opened in, ahem, 2020 —to quote the website, “The best year ever to open a new live performance venue.” Though the Oakland site barely had a chance, it still made its mark, and PianoFight and its inclusive, local art-focused intentions will be missed in both cities. PianoFight Oakland was at 1540 Broadway in Oakland.
Richmond restaurant closure
3/15/23: Often it’s the no-frills joint that’s been around for years that, when spotted on this list, makes a person clutch at their heart. Mississippi Catfish is such a joint — known for 15 years (and as a food truck before that) for its warm welcome, fried fish and shrimp, barbecue and soulful sides, the Richmond restaurant adjacent to a smog shop is often featured in superlative lists from those in the know.
When it closed in recent weeks, stunned tipsters made sure to let Nosh know the size of the loss. Not to worry folks! Nosh has since learned that the good people of Mississippi Catfish plan to reopen soon in a new location in nearby El Sobrante. Stay hungry, and stay tuned! Mississippi Catfish was at 12440 San Pablo Ave. in Richmond.