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

Melo Melo Kava Bar Berkeley

The Melo Melo Kava community is a deeply devoted one, so when the group’s Berkeley location was rumored to be closing soon, fans were undeniably upset. “It’s a community space that really changed lives for the better,” said one concerned reader to Nosh, who also emphasized the role of kava — a relaxing beverage brewed from the South Pacific-based kava plant, meant to be savored in sociable company — in providing an alternative to alcohol, for those in recovery or otherwise curious.

There is some good news, however: Melo Melo assures the community in an Instagram post that though the nine-year-old Berkeley kava bar will indeed close soon, it is apparently on track to reopen in a new location, address TBD. Meanwhile there are comfortable locations in Oakland, Santa Cruz and even a soon-to-come Los Angeles branch of Melo Melo. Melo Melo Kava Bar is at 1701 University Ave. in Berkeley, and will soon close.

Papa John’s Berkeley

One lonely (and nervous?) Starbucks remains open on the storefront strip between Allston Way and Kittredge Street on Shattuck Avenue, former home to long-gone businesses Yogurtland, John’s Ice Cream, Shattuck Cinemas and others. It’s a list of about seven dead, papered-over spaces that as of about two weeks ago now includes Papa John’s. (Thanks to a Nosh friend for the tip.)

The Papa John’s chain pizzeria location in Berkeley was a serviceable go-to for nearby students, in particular those from Berkeley High, for just shy of 13 years. The next-nearest Papa John’s is in Oakland at 5412 San Pablo Ave. Papa John’s Berkeley was at 2222 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.  

Joanna Della Penna

Freelancer Joanna Della Penna has written about food, people and the arts in the Bay Area since moving here from the East Coast in 2001, and was Gayot's Northern California regional restaurant editor for...