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Berkeley restaurant closures

Nova’s Pizza Berkeley

7.28.23: Readers let us know that Nova’s Pizza quietly packed up and moved to Oakland. (See Openings.) The budget-friendly pizzeria quickly took over when former West Coast Pizza closed shop after nearly 30 years in September 2022. What Now SF has announced the upcoming opening of newcomer Bigotes Pizza in that location, coming soon. Meanwhile, you can find Nova’s operating in tandem with Edible Happy Pizzeria at 1438 Broadway in Oakland. Nova’s Pizza Berkeley was at 1706 University Ave. in Berkeley.


7.11.23: Members of the community were shocked to learn (and The Chronicle first had the story) that long-loved Berkeley eatery Poulet would permanently close after service on Friday, July 14, after 44 years. 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. Read our story about Poulet and the closure. Poulet was at 1685 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.

Sunny Side Café

7.20.23: Berkeley’s Sunny Side Café shuttered once and for all, having only moved into the Epicurious Garden standalone restaurant space, formerly the Imperial Tea Garden, in January of 2022. For almost 20 years, the breakfast and brunch spot was a bustling local favorite, first on Solano Avenue in Albany, where it opened in 2004, and then, starting in 2009, at its second location on student-heavy Oxford Street in Berkeley (whose sunny building murals remain up as accidental tribute though that cafe closed a couple of years ago). According to North Berkeley neighbors, despite the outdoor dining space at its new location, Sunny Side had experienced sleepier business since the pandemic, and left the garden without fanfare several weeks ago as the owners decided to retire. We wish them the best. Meanwhile, newcomer Eggy’s Neighborhood Kitchen has already opened in the space. Sunny Side Café was at 1511 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.

Oakland restaurant closures

Chop Bar

7.25.23: Chop Bar officially closed on July 9 after 14 years. For the team it was a sad whirlwind, and so much of the gastropub’s web presence remained online that readers have been writing to us in hope that the closure was just temporary, but no. “This decision was not made lightly, as there were many prior conversations surrounding how to keep Chop running successfully,” management told Nosh in an email. “But in the end, we decided that closing would be best to preserve the integrity and memories created by everyone who loved Chop Bar.” Chop Bar was at 190 4th St. in Oakland.


7.20.23: Thanks to our readers for sharing that Japanese izakaya Izza in Temescal had closed. The restaurant bravely opened in October 2020, and for nearly three years, enjoyed consistent popularity and sustained many locals with its Japanese and Korean-inflected specialties. Izza was at 4419 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.

Stinky’s Bar

7.20.23: Sadly, Stinky’s is closed, according to an Instagram farewell. The redone and reopened Dogwood, from owner Alexeis Fillipello, was darkly decorated in clown art, featured a free, irreverent movie theatre, and was a self-proclaimed haven for Oakland’s “qweerdos.” Stinky’s faced untenable water intrusion during this winter’s storms, and though the community gave what they could, the odds were stacked. “Sad clown,” said the post. “With a lack of funds to rebuild the business, insurance not paying out, and the hard times facing Oakland right now, we think we will sit this next one out.” Stinky’s opened in late 2021. Stinky’s Bar was at 1644 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.

Richmond restaurant closures

Tommy’s Barbecue (Richmond)

7.28.23: July 23 was the final day of service for Tommy’s at the former Assemble Marketplace, newly reopened as Assemble Kitchen. The barbecue restaurant was the one remaining food business still in operation at the Craneway’s restaurant space this summer, before the historic building relaunched as the new restaurant (and, eventually, a pickleball venue). With regards to Tommy’s and its celebrated brisket, there is good news — fans can look for a future brick-and-mortar opening in Hercules. In the meantime, check Instagram for details on Tommy’s food truck location. Tommy’s Barbecue Richmond was at 1414 Harbour Way South in Richmond (and will reopen soon in Hercules).

Walnut Creek restaurant closures

Cream Walnut Creek

7.11.23: As foretold by news media outlets back in March, July 16 marked 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.

Vitality Bowls Walnut Creek

7.31.23: A Nosh friend tipped us to, and then KRON4 confirmed, the July 26 closure in Walnut Creek of superfood franchise Vitality Bowls. The healthful eatery provided the Locust Street neighborhood with colorful salads, smoothies and bowls of nutrient-rich foods for 10 years. Enthusiasts can still find locations of the national chain in Pleasant Hill, Lafayette, Danville and San Ramon. Vitality Bowls was at 1528 Locust St.

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...