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Members of the community learned over the weekend (and The Chronicle first had the story) that long-loved Berkeley eatery Poulet will permanently close after service this Friday, July 14, after 44 years. The reasons for the closure have not yet been disclosed.

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Known for comforting, often rustic, and French- or otherwise European-inflected prepared foods, with chicken and seasonal vegetables as highlights, Poulet was more of a friendly deli than a restaurant, but the North Berkeley institution somehow also blurred into a community gathering spot as much as a quick, to-go counter. Folks lingered in the sunny dining space, or outside on benches, catching up, being nourished as well as neighborly.

Poulet was founded in 1979 by Marilyn Rinzler, a single mother who dreamed of healthful, delicious, easy choices for people on nights they preferred not to have to cook, along with Berkeley gourmet chef Bruce Aidells, now famous for his writing, editing and yes, sausages. Rinzler owned and operated Poulet for 33 years, before selling to brothers Jesse and chef Casey Savell in 2018; the brothers kept many of the recipes and most of the format wonderfully untouched, including through the pandemic when to-go meals helped to nourish and comfort so many.

“I won’t go into the details here, but suffice to say this was not an easy decision,” reads an email sent Saturday to Poulet patrons. “It has been an absolute pleasure to share our cuisine with this community we know and love. We can’t thank you all enough for sticking with us, through thick and thin, over these past [44] years and we will sincerely miss you all.”

For now, Nosh joins North Berkeley and the whole East Bay in saying au revoir to this cherished old timer. We will share if we learn more.

Poulet is at 1685 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley, and will close after service on Bastille Day, Friday, July 14. 

Cream Walnut Creek

As foretold by news media outlets back in March, July 16 marks the last day for ice cream haven Cream in Walnut Creek. The friendly outpost of the Bay Area chain, known primarily for its cookie-flanked ice cream sandwiches but also milkshakes, sundaes and even ice cream tacos, was a go-to for family-friendly treats for 10 years. Eight locations of the Cream empire remain, including shops in Concord and the flagship in Berkeley for fans willing to travel.

Cream Walnut Creek was at 1372 N. Main St. in Walnut Creek.

Clarification: Poulet has been open for 44 years, not 43 as one of the owners originally said.

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...