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; 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
4/13/23 Berkeley students and residents, particularly those around King Middle School, should rest assured that Anya’s Deli is only temporarily closed, and the team hopes to reopen within a couple of weeks. The deli and market has suffered some infrastructure and electrical issues, possibly storm related, that they are working hard to resolve and clear. Neighborhood locals have come to depend on Anya’s fast-casual Indian food and convenience store snacks; here’s hoping they will return as promptly as possible. Anya’s Deli is at 1343 Martin Luther King, Jr., Way in Berkeley.
Abstract Table at Cafenated Coffee Company
4/13/23 As readers have reported to Nosh, after three years, multi-course, fine-dining pop-up Abstract Table has ceased its weekly service on the back patio of North Berkeley’s Cafenated Coffee Company, and will not be joining Cafenated’s upcoming second opening in the Elmwood. (Nosh readers might recall that the business began as a pop-up at Oakland’s The Gastropig, which shuttered in 2020.)
Fans should note the Abstract Table team is still going strong, as chef-owner Andrew Greene let Nosh know the team remains busy with private clients while seeking a new host venue. Chefs Greene and Duncan Kwiktor opened the business together to much buzz in 2018; we’ll let you know when the duo reopens in a new spot. Meanwhile, check Instagram for developments or to get in touch with Abstract Table for an event. Abstract Table is a roaming pop-up, most recently operating out of Cafenated in Berkeley.
D’Yar Mediterranean Northside
4/19/23 Berkeley’s Northside neighborhood said good-bye to D’Yar Mediterranean a couple of weeks ago after nearly 10 years of feeding students budget-friendly Mediterranean plates. As promised by a February report from WhatNow SF, My-O-My Shwarma, a Canadian shawarma business, has moved into its former address.
Meanwhile, the Southside D’Yar Mediterranean at 2511 Durant Ave. in Berkeley remains fully open and busy for wraps, kebabs and catering. D’Yar Mediterranean Northside was at 1866 Euclid Ave. in Berkeley.
4/7/23 As first noted by the SF Chronicle, family-owned barbecue restaurant KC’s has shut its doors after 55 memorable years. The closure was announced on social media Wednesday night; in subsequent Instagram live videos, owners Kristen and Patrick Davis cited “exhaustion” as one of the reasons for the closure, in addition to inflation and food costs. After some rest and family time, they said, they hope to eventually reopen KC’s as a catering or pop-up business.
At a time when a restaurant is lucky to last one or two years, to have been serving and pleasing customers with smoky barbecue and savory sides since 1968 — to have simply been in business since 1968 — is an incredible feat. As with Oakland’s Merritt Bakery (see below), KC’s has not been without its troubles — a fire in 2017 led the originally named KC’s Bar-B-Que to move from 2613 to 1235 San Pablo Ave., which led to an era of neighborhood complaints regarding the eatery’s smoker. The family team persevered through each challenge with pride, community-minded care and perseverance, sustaining the business through the pandemic until it shut down this week.
“Our KC’s community is unmatched, and we couldn’t have made it this far without each and every one of you,” said the restaurant’s closure announcement. The restaurant is closed effective immediately, and will be deeply missed. KC’s BBQ was at 1235 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley.
Oakland restaurant closures
Bad Walter’s Bootleg Ice Cream
4/13/23 Unfortunate timing for fans with the recent reemergence of Bay Area sun, but Oakland-based Bad Walter’s ice cream company is taking a break. The pandemic-born cottage ice cream business tends to mystify with the deliciousness of its creamy, ingredient-packed flavors, as small-batch pints are digestible even by those with lactose-averse diets.
“I’m sad to be shutting down, but we’ve done it before and come back even stronger,” said a note from Bad Walter’s founder Sydney Arkin on the company’s Instagram page. “I have zero doubts that we’ll do it again.” Arkin also hints that a possible permanent home for the pop-up is in the works.
For more backstory on Bad Walter’s (and the good chihuahua for which it is named) read Nosh’s 2022 feature on the business. Bad Walter’s is an Oakland-based pop-up on temporary hiatus.
Merritt Restaurant and Bakery
4/7/23 The “new” Merritt Restaurant & Bakery space has been cleared out and the phone is disconnected, and though the news has not yet caught up with some websites, the storied restaurant is now closed. Thanks to a loyal reader for the report.
As longtime Oakland residents might recall, Merritt Bakery first opened in 1952 at 203 E. 18th St., and quickly became a local staple and gathering spot for its diner-style fare and baked goods. The location was a neighborhood hit, but it was also hit with more than its fair share of bad luck, especially in its later years, including a fire in 2006 and another in 2013.
In 2014, the bakery started fresh at the Kwik Way window at 500 Lake Park Ave. (now Vegan Mob), and in 2019, the group opened this final location on Lakeshore Ave., featuring a sit-down dining room with comfortable booth seating. Despite sticking to the bakery’s family-friendly, vintage recipes and dishes, the Lakeshore space seemed to have a bit of trouble finding its footing; Merritt Bakery lasted through the pandemic but then quietly closed last month. Merritt Bakery was at 3355 Lakeshore Ave. in Oakland.
4/7/23 Along with the Merritt Bakery closure, Lakeshore Avenue has lost its Starbucks. Yes, there remain 14 Starbucks locations in Oakland, and yes, it’s a chain, but chain businesses are often embedded in local neighborhoods for decades, and their comings and goings matter to many.
Starbucks Lakeshore had operated there since the late 1990s, when a group of locals worked to add it and a Noah’s Bagels to the neighborhood, an effort to revive foot traffic in the then-struggling neighborhood. The loss brings noticeable change to the strip, at the very least in the form of one more vacant storefront. Starbucks Lakeshore was at 3347 Lakeshore Ave. in Oakland.
Yomie’s Rice X Yogurt Chinatown
4/19/23 Despite the Internet saying otherwise, a kind tipster let us know the Oakland Chinatown branch of the Yomie’s beverage chain has shuttered operations, with lights out and windows papered over.
The yogurt drink franchise seems to be dwindling in the East Bay despite what seem like good reviews and popularity — the international company is down to one spot in San Leandro and a shared counter in Pleasanton, though there remain locations in San Francisco and the greater Bay. Yomie’s Rice X Yogurt Chinatown was at 388 9th St. in Oakland.
Walnut Creek restaurant closure
Caspers Hot Dogs Walnut Creek
4/19/23 As first announced by the Chronicle, the Walnut Creek location of local mom-and-pop chain Caspers Hot Dogs closed after service on April 16. The original Bay Area Caspers opened in Oakland in 1934, and now six area locations with that name remain, each bearing the nostalgic, retro appeal for which the company is known and loved.
The Walnut Creek location of Caspers opened in 1983 and will be sorely missed. (For more history on Caspers (no apostrophe) and Kasper’s Hot Dogs, whose local chains stem from the same family tree, see this clarifying East Bay Monthly interview with Paul Rustigian, one of the founders’ grandsons.) Caspers Hot Dogs Walnut Creek was at 1280 Newell Hill Pl. in Walnut Creek.