Berkeley restaurant closures

The Golden Squirrel

10.19.23: The family-friendly pub in Rockridge closed after service on Oct. 22 with plans to re-open following a top-to-bottom revamp. The restaurant and bar offers a rotating selection of craft beers on tap and a full liquor selection, along with a wide selection of traditional pub fare and comfort food, brunch and a kid’s menu. “We will re-open the restaurant by the end of the month or so with a new concept, new menu and a fresh look,” the post stated. “We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your business.” The Golden Squirrel is at 5940 College Ave. in Oakland, and closed after service Oct. 22. Nosh will be watching for updates on its reopening under a new name. — Tovin Lapan

Lulu Camelia Street

10.19.23: Not a closure but a big move for big-deal restaurant Lulu from chef Mona Leena Michael, whose mezze platters and other Middle Eastern specialties have attracted customers to Berkeley for brunch and dinner for two years. Michael has closed the Camelia Street location and hopes to reopen Lulu as soon as November (no date announced just yet) in bigger digs on Solano Avenue in Albany. Stay tuned. Lulu Camelia was at 1019 Camelia St. in Berkeley, and plans to reopen in Albany in November.  

Ono Bakehouse

10.26.23: As fans of Ono’s luscious Queen Emma cake, malasadas and other Hawaiian-style treats, Nosh wondered what might be going on at the bakehouse’s brick-and-mortar shop, as the door seemed closed recently even on weekends. An announcement from the team on Oct. 23 solved the mystery: the three-year-old shop is temporarily closed for a refresh, but orders, including for Thanksgiving, are still being fulfilled in the interim from Ono’s commissary kitchen space in Oakland. Orders are taken via emailAgain, Ono Bakehouse is temporarily closed to walk-ins but still fulfilling orders (including free East Bay Saturday deliveries where applicable), and will hopefully reopen before long at 1922 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley.

Emeryville restaurant closure

Jamba Emeryville

11.03.23: It appears that smoothie, juice and wrap chain Jamba (née Jamba Juice) has closed both of its Emeryville locations, at 6475 Christie Ave. and, recently, the one within the Powell Street Plaza. That location at the bustling shopping center was a fixture for at least 15 years. Notably, the California-based franchise founded in 1990 was at one time headquartered in Emeryville, until corporate offices were moved to Texas in 2016. The fast-casual restaurant group changed its name to Jamba in 2019, though most folks still refer to it as Jamba Juice. Jamba Emeryville was at both 5761 and 6475 Christie Ave. in Emeryville.

Lafayette restaurant closure

The Cooperage Lafayette

10.11.23: Don’t worry folks, after nearly 10 years in Lafayette, the good people at charming American grill The Cooperage are taking their expired lease in stride and moving the whole operation to downtown Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza. The Coop in Lafayette closed after service Oct. 9, and reopened at its new location Oct. 12. To recap: The Lafayette location has closed; look for the new Coop at 1342 Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek. The Cooperage Lafayette was at 32 Lafayette Circle in Lafayette.

Livermore restaurant closure

Charming Fig

10.19.23: The interior of Livermore’s Charming Fig is temporarily closed after a multi-building fire on Oct. 15 that damaged the eatery’s roof, though the kitchen hopes to be up and running for take-out and catering as soon as possible. No one was injured in the blaze that remains under investigation and affected four commercial buildings, three of them vacant and now rubble. Charming Fig is at 1510 Holmes St. in Livermore; watch Instagram for updates on their reopening. 

Oakland restaurant closures

Back Alley Burgers at Pizzaiolo

11.03.23: One of Temescal’s favorite pandemic-born pop-ups has closed the grill. For a time, Back Alley Burgers, the “smashing” burger pop-up on Pizzaiolo’s picturesque outdoor back patio, made the Temescal destination as sought-after on weekends for its cheeseburgers as much as it was for the artisan pizza at night. In the earlier days of the pandemic and social distancing, the restaurant’s outdoor space proved ideal. “Please do this again, again and again,” pleaded one early social media follower in 2020, but after three years of alley patties, the team has closed up the pop-up party for now. Pizzaiolo remains open for all your sophisticated pizza and pasta needs. Back Alley Burgers at Pizzaiolo was at 5008 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, and is going on hiatus.  

Cod Damn

11.03.23: Another pandemic-era pop-up is taking an indefinite break starting this week. Though popular three-year-old fish-and-chips purveyor Cod Damn has operated mainly in San Francisco for the past few months, its roots are here in the East Bay, and many remember when it was an intermittent fixture at The Hidden Cafe, The Lede, Oakland United Beerworks, Waystation Brew and for a time vended out of the Oakland Food Hall. Over Instagram, chef Seamus Gibney announced in October that he’ll be taking a rest at least through the new year, possibly longer. Cod Damn, a pop-up with various locations, has gone fishing for now.

Magnolia Street Wine Lounge

10.11.23: Devotees of chef Leilani Baugh’s glamorous brunches and suppers filled with wine, art, soulful cooking and music have until the end of October to visit her restaurant before she closes the doors. “We made our mark,” she said in her farewell announcement. “And for that I am completely thankful and joyous.” In an all-too common theme for 2023, though Baugh weathered the pandemic, the West Oakland native who opened a few blocks away from her childhood home could not sustain the restaurant after plummeting numbers due to recent crime. She told CBS Bay Area that her sales this year were about a third of what they used to be, she believes because of current fears around dining out, not just in her restaurant’s neighborhood but across many areas of Oakland. “I’m sad overall,” she told the news outlet. “Not necessarily for my business, I’m sad about that, too. But I’m mostly sad for Oakland. For what it was, what it is, and what it could be.” Baugh will continue to cater (including the holidays) and host events, and can be reached via her website. Magnolia Street Wine Lounge is at 3443 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland, and closed on Oct. 29. 

New Tin’s Market

10.19.23: Thanks to a Nosh reader for this tip. Popular Oakland Chinatown grocery New Tin’s Market, in operation for 21 years at 310 7th St., has closed up operations to prepare for a move. The market is valued for its busy meat and seafood counters, vast selection of produce and wide range of products and imports, not to mention knowledgeable service. We were happy to hear from the tipster that they hope to reopen soon in a new space nearby at 7th and Webster, and Nosh will be looking out for more information on the reopening. New Tin’s Market was at 310 7th St. in Oakland.  

Palmetto/The Kon-Tiki Room

10.11.23: “We really did our best and we love this town,” said the closing announcement for Oakland’s modern-tropical restaurant Palmetto and its adjacent bar and lounge The Kon-Tiki Room. “But we can’t make it. We might talk about why later, but for now, get in here while the getting is good!” For now, let’s talk about how co-owners Christ Aivaliotis and Matt Reagan really did do their best. The duo plotted Palmetto’s opening in the former Flora just before the pandemic hit and put everything on pause. They then briefly opened the restaurant in May of 2020, but were forced shut after five tricky weeks of take-out only. Finally, after a year of hosting pop-ups and finding other ways to maintain the otherwise sealed-up space, they finally opened the beautifully designed dining room and adjacent bar to an eager public. From there, the celebratory nightlife spot persevered with humor, hustle, meaty plates, sparkling drinks and great service, and weathered what it could until it could no longer. It made its mark and will be missed. (For those concerned, The Kon-Tiki original bar at 347 14th St. in Oakland, also owned by Aivaliotis and Reagan, remains open. Whew.) Palmetto is at 1900 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, The Kon-Tiki Room is adjacent, also at 1900 Telegraph Ave., and both closed after service on Oct. 29.

Slainte Irish Pub

10.04.23: This one hurts, as many a good time has been spent in this friendly pub’s warm environs since its opening in 2017. Slainte is the Irish version of “cheers” (pronounced in struggling-but-well-meaning American English as “slawn-cha”), and dedicated regulars could be found toasting each other throughout the comfortable Jack London Square space. The live music, often Irish, and the food menu were of particular interest to Irish and British expatriates, as it is rare to find Guinness cake, Taytos crisps, good shepherd’s pie and full Irish breakfasts around these parts. Cheers to yet another wonderful pub taken too soon and the Irish whiskey menu departing with it. “We just can’t make the numbers work anymore,” said the group’s farewell, citing periods of slower business, inflation and rising crime as factors. Slainte was at 131 Broadway in Oakland, and closed after service on Oct. 31.

Souley Vegan

10.19.23: “We thank you for your love and support over the years,” says the brief note on Souley Vegan’s website. “The Oakland location is now closed.” Chef Tamearra Dyson was a new restaurateur when she opened her Creole-inflected, plant-based restaurant Souley Vegan in 2009. The groundbreaking Oakland business eventually grew into a mini vegan empire, with locations (all now shuttered) in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. A promised second Oakland enterprise, Cajun bar and eatery The Back Porch, was announced in 2021 and purported to open behind Souley Vegan, but there was little visible movement on the space beyond the occasional hopeful announcement during the pandemic. Since mid-August, diners nervously shared news of the ominous-but-optimistic GoFundMe campaign created to assist the Jack London Square flagship. Despite what still feels like a sudden farewell, Souley Vegan was a Black-owned, woman-owned, vegan business that satisfied diners for 14 years. An abrupt closure is surely not what Dyson’s fans ever envisioned for the beloved Oakland destination that will be missed by many. Souley Vegan was at 301 Broadway in Oakland.

Southern Cafe

10.26.23: The Dimond District soul food restaurant closed for repairs in September and has not announced a reopening date. A sign in the window and a recorded message when you call the restaurant confirm the closure is temporary. Nosh has reached out for more details on the nature of the work and when management expects to reopen. Southern Cafe is known for its southern and soul food classics, like fried catfish, oxtails, turkey wings and chitterlings. Prior to the pandemic it had a popular Sunday buffet service, but following the COVID-19 shutdowns the restaurant pivoted to take-out only. Southern Cafe at 2000 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland is temporarily closed and Nosh will be watching for updates on reopening.Tovin Lapan

Richmond restaurant closure

Marina Bay Bakery

10.26.23: Dan Gildor, owner and head baker at this bakery and baking school known for both traditional and gluten-free loaves has announced he is moving to the East Coast and is wrapping up operations. “In the immortal words of Porky Pig, that’s all folks. This Sunday [Oct. 29] will be our last bake ever,” an Instagram post stated. “Thank you so much for your support over the years. We love you all and are so grateful.” The announcement added that Marina Bay, which operated out of Gildor’s Richmond home, will still hold classes in November and December before closing for good. Marina Bay Bakery, located at 2006 Jetty Drive in Richmond, closed retail operations Oct. 29 and will offer classes through December before closing permanently. Tovin Lapan

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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...