Local performers, especially musicians and their fans, are mourning last month’s loss of bright spot Rocky’s Market Brooklyn Basin. It was one of those openings during the pandemic that nourished us in more ways than one; not just a market, the waterfront business offered folks a safe outdoor community space, tasty food and drink, and live music and performance in a time of difficulty. We’re sorry to see it go.
And speaking of musicians, local legends Green Day followed a great show at San Francisco’s Outside Lands music festival with the announcement that its beloved, long-associated retro diner, Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe (co-owned by Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt), would close. Talk about a fork stuck in the road. Pixar and Emeryville communities, you have our sympathies.
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Berkeley restaurant closures
BRAZILIAN BREADS Readers first alerted us to this notable closure at the end of July, and we were grateful to eventually read the whole story from contributor Anna Mindess. In short: Owner Del Rodrigues may have closed her shop and moved to North Carolina, but it was to expand production, and her sought-after Brazilian cheese balls can still be found via retail shops and delivery services around the Bay. Meanwhile, the Brazilian Breads cafe on Solano is slated to become a new Signal Coffee very soon. Brazilian Breads was at 1707 Solano Ave.
NORTHSIDE CAFE An airy, corner cafe and keystone staple for Berkeley students and locals for 12 years, the Northside Cafe was in the same family as nearby Brewed Awakening, that also departed the Euclid scene earlier this year. The cafe had its own following for its comforts, including rich coffee drinks and sandwiches. Newcomer Cabanas Cafe is already in operation inside the space. Northside Cafe was at 1878 Euclid Ave.
Oakland restaurant closures
ANULA’S CAFE Oaklandside writer Ricky Rodas told the story of Sri Lankan chef Anula Edirisinghe’s cafe Anula’s, which closed last month after 13 years because of rent increases and low foot traffic. Devoted cafe customers will miss Edirisinghe’s homestyle cooking that comprised savory Sri Lankan and West Indian specialties such as jambalaya, rich curries, lamprais and jerk chicken. The chef will take some time to travel and then focus on her catering business going forward. Anula’s Cafe was at 1319 Franklin St.
BEST COAST BURRITOS ROCKRIDGE This family owned Emeryville favorite, known for, among other dishes, its California-style burritos stuffed with French fries, opened a second location in Oakland in 2018. That location has now closed, according to the Chronicle, for a long, difficult list of reasons, from supply shortages to vandalism, as tweeted by owner Alvin Shen. The original location in Emeryville remains open and busy (and still a favorite). Best Coast Burritos Rockridge was at 5108 Broadway.
CAFE COLUCCI (TEMESCAL) Busy contributor Anna Mindess gently assured readers last month that Cafe Colucci is not closing, it’s moving. And it won’t be far away. The long-loved Ethiopian restaurant took advantage of Soul Slice’s departure from the handsome north Oakland restaurant and patio space at 5849 San Pablo Ave., and reopens in that location on Sept. 1. Temescal has reason to mourn a bit, however — Cafe Colucci has been part of the fabric of that community since 1991. The new digs look wonderful, though, and also incorporate more space for the team’s spice company Brundo. Cafe Colucci was at 6427 Telegraph Ave. (and will reopen very soon at 5849 San Pablo Ave.)
FLIPNSOUL Filipino and soul food spot FlipNSoul has bowed out after seven years of serving comforting combinations of dishes from lumpia to mac and cheese in East Oakland. FlipNSoul was at 2101 14th Ave.
LE PHO OAKLAND Though the Berkeley location of this pho mini-chain remains open, the Chronicle reports the Oakland branch in Uptown has shuttered. Le Pho Oakland was at 2228 Broadway.
ROCKY’S MARKET BROOKLYN BASIN As expressed above, this was a relatively new but special spot that opened during the pandemic, and in a perfect world it would somehow find a way to persevere. Folks will miss the fresh, seasonal food; access to produce, wines and specialty goods; and outdoor waterfront dining and venue space. Please continue to support Rocky’s Market Oakmore and its sister company Two Local Girls, both still favorites among the Oakland community. Rocky’s Market Brooklyn Basin was at 288 9th Ave.
Restaurants that closed elsewhere in the East Bay
BOUGIE SMOOTHIE BAY STREET This hot new juice and smoothie bar may have closed its Bay Street location in Emeryville after only half a year, but a late August announcement from owner Maya Cameron-Gordon says the business will soon reopen inside Vegan Mob, the popular vegan outpost owned by her partner, Toriano Gordon. Grand opening date for Bougie Smoothie inside Vegan Mob is Sept. 13. Bougie Smoothie was at 5646 Bay St. in Emeryville.
Note: An August visit to Emeryville’s Bay Street reveals a mall in flux, with demolished portions and departed tenants Pizza My Heart, Red Mango and Dipped. There are also updated new restaurants coming soon, and all kinds of changes afoot. A reminder to readers to be patient (and maybe check out the new Sandbox VR experience) during the area’s transition.
RUDY’S CAN’T FAIL CAFE Nosh likes to picture the spirit of this departed, 20-year-old retro-meets-punk diner stage diving into a crowd of regulars and being hoisted aloft like the fork in its logo. Rudy’s was like a diner with an edge, and locals would flock there for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a beer — or a Shakin’ Jesse milkshake spiked with Guinness. From the stickered bathroom to resin-topped tables filled with toys to the barrel of monkey art on the walls to yes, the staff-inspired Barbie dolls, Rudy’s was also a kid’s fever dream of a place to eat, and we know a few who had the time of their life here. (Nosh is wearing a treasured Rudy’s hoodie right now, in fact, a gift from one such kid.) Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe was at 4081 Hollis St. in Emeryville.
STRINGS ITALIAN CAFE Credit to Diablo Dish for alerting us that Strings Italian Cafe’s last day was Aug. 21. The family-owned Italian restaurant opened in 2004, and their friendly service and reasonable prices will be missed. Strings Italian Cafe was at 2205 Las Positas Rd. in Livermore.
Featured image: A group of Anula’s Cafe customers pose for a photo with the owner, Anula Edirisinghe, during the cafe’s final week. Credit: Amir Aziz