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; we then reorganize them by region for this, our monthly report.
Since, unlike restaurant openings, these shutdowns often happen quietly, your tips and emails are what keeps this column going. They’re always welcome at email@example.com.
Alameda restaurant closure
Hangar 1 Distillery & Tasting Lounge
12/23/22 As advertised, Hangar 1 has closed its hangar. The Alameda distillery and tasting room inside a former airplane hangar, one of a strip of sought-after waterfront imbibing destinations on Alameda’s former Naval base, was shuttered “…to meet the changing needs of the business,” according to its website. Hangar 1-brand vodka and other spirits will remain in production at an as-yet-unnamed secondary distillery.
Additional details are slow in coming, including, as The Chronicle’s Esther Mobley pointed out when she broke the news, a possible change in name. Though founded locally by notable craft distillers in 2001, Hangar 1 is now owned by Proximo Spirits, itself owned by international distributors Becle S.A. de C.V., owners of Bushmills and Jose Cuervo and many other brands.
For now, the closure of the welcoming local tasting room and bar with incredible views has made Hangar 1 feel a bit less, well, local, and for some, the holidays a bit less merry. Hangar 1 Distillery & Tasting Lounge was at 2505 Monarch St. in Alameda.
Berkeley restaurant closures
12/23/22 Caffe Strada at Bancroft and College is such a Berkeley keystone that concern over its mysterious temporary closure starting the weekend of Dec. 17 comes as no surprise — thanks to all the readers who wrote in. We have since learned that a ceiling leak and various infrastructure issues need attention at the notable cafe, and while they are tended over the next two to three weeks (scheduled to align with Cal’s student break), customers should note they can get their Caffe Strada fix next door.
In a symbiotic holiday give-and-take, Freehouse has opened their doors to Caffe Strada during their own seasonal break, and Strada’s staffers are cheerfully serving coffee drinks, light bites and other menu items (no sandwiches for now) to customers in the gastropub’s atmospheric stone hall and patio. We’ll let you know when the cafe itself reopens. Caffe Strada is at 2300 College Ave. in Berkeley, and is temporarily operating out of 2700 Bancroft Way.
12/23/22 Not closed! In fact, we love all the media attention Berkeley’s beautiful little Rose Pizzeria has received lately, to include being voted one of the Chronicle’s best new restaurants of 2022 (and we guess that means from when it opened in 2021). Rose Pizzeria is only temporarily closed for a holiday break that’s a bit longer than some — from 12/24 until Jan. 10, 2023. See you when it reopens on its newly covered rose garden back patio. Rose Pizzeria is at 1960 University Ave. in Berkeley.
Windchaser Wine Co. Fourth Street
12/30/22 Sent chasing a new location (update: found in nearby Richmond!) for its small-lot wine making operation due to a Berkeley landlord/lease issue is Windchaser Wine Co., from Gifford Family Wines and founder Dave Gifford. Named for Gifford’s high-energy love of windsurfing and travel, Windchaser brand California wines are crafted from Mendocino and El Dorado area vineyards, and still available for purchase through the company’s website as the group settles into their new space. The popular urban winery and tasting room was at the Fourth Street location for five years; wishing it many more at the upcoming location. Windchaser Wine Co. was at 1375 Fourth St. in Berkeley; new Richmond address TBA shortly.
Danville restaurant closures
Basque Boulangerie Cafe Danville
12/8/22 Thanks to Beyond The Creek for the news that quaint bakery and cafe Basque Boulangerie has closed its East Bay location inside the historic Danville Hotel property. The Sonoma-based, family-owned bakery business is known for notable French and sourdough breads, country-style cafe fare and European-inflected confections such as Beehive Cake.
The Danville branch was open for seven years; the Sonoma location, launched in 1994, remains open and busy. Basque Boulangerie Cafe Danville was at 411 Hartz Ave. in Danville.
12/30/22 Thai House devotees spent the last few weeks paying their final respects to the Danville mainstay from married owners Sam and Marysa Sendee, who announced their retirement and Thai House’s pending closure at the end of 2022. The pretty, cozy restaurant inside a renovated house (with a lovely patio) was a regular on East Bay superlative lists, including as a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand pick for its house-made sauces and fresh Thai dishes. As promised, the restaurant shuttered after service on Dec. 24 after 20 years. “Love you all,” said a farewell note on the website. Thai House Restaurant was at 254 Rose St. in Danville.
Emeryville restaurant closures
Honor Kitchen & Cocktails
12/8/22 Fear not, Emeryville and local fans — Honor’s closure starting Dec. 3 is only temporary, though it will be a minute. The trusty neighborhood bar and restaurant (with the COVID-friendly, tented outdoor parking lot patio, so popular for the last few years) has announced a large-scale kitchen and property remodel that will expand its outdoor offerings significantly.
Folks can look forward to an enclosed garden seating area, outdoor bar, fire pits and greater menu flexibility once the renovation is complete, which is predicted to take between four and six months.
Hang in there, friends (and maybe take your dollars to nearby Rudy’s Can’t Fail or Doyle Street Cafe for casual American dining, or Wolfhound and Prizefighter for those drinks). Honor Kitchen & Cocktails is at 1411 Powell St. in Emeryville.
Jasmine Blossom Thai
12/8/22 Emeryville locals and professionals have known this for a while, but Jasmine Blossom Thai has a note on the door announcing closure until further notice. Yelp says it should reopen Jan. 17. We’ll keep you posted. Jasmine Blossom Thai is at 6520 Hollis Ave. in Emeryville.
Oakland restaurant closures
Golden Peacock Restaurant
1/3/22 Thanks to a reader for the sad news that Oakland’s Golden Peacock Restaurant has closed after serving the community fast, affordable lunch and dinner daily for 50 years. The comforting Chinatown mainstay was, in our reader’s words, one of the “last and only old-school Chinese places” in that neighborhood, known for its warming soups, pressed duck, chow mein and other homestyle dishes. The Golden Peacock was sought after especially for lunch (dinner was take-out and delivery only), in a dining room with a simple atmosphere but for the friendly and familiar service of the family of owners. Golden Peacock Restaurant was at 825 Webster St. in Oakland.
12/16/22 It was a farewell for the books at this beer-and-lit lovers’ gathering spot on the Oakland-Emeryville border after final service last weekend. Per the website, “Novel Brewing began its story on June 4, 2016, and wrote its final chapter on Dec. 11, 2022.”
For married owners Teresa Tamburello and Brian Koloszyc, Novel Brewing Co. was a love story that began when the couple decided to embark on some home brewing together after their second date; that journey eventually led to both marriage and co-ownership of a bar. Novel’s clever focus on books, games, puzzles, language, words and all things print attracted its neighborhood clientele almost as much as the fresh brews with names such as Byline Pale Ale and Agnostic Amber, delivery of which kept many locals stocked throughout the pandemic.
Though this parting is more sorrow than sweet, we hope the tale ends with, “…and they lived happily ever after” for all involved; the welcoming bar and outdoor patio has already transferred to newcomers Tenma Beer Project, with an opening to come. Novel Brewing Co. was at 6510 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland.
Starline Social Club
12/30/22 Most fans believe this loveworn Oakland venue’s recent heyday ended after five fun, funky years when it was first forced to go dark during the pandemic’s initial March 2020 lockdown. Opened after a years-long hibernation in 2015, the gritty live music hall, bar and restaurant was an all-inclusive Oakland gathering spot, frequently packed for its stellar food, drink and impressive list of performers. Once the pandemic hit, the Starline remained dark, eventually reopening in late 2021. Despite the welcome-back fanfare, the club then went down a bit of a troublesome road, with management, communication and financial issues, according to former staffers, and the once joyful vibe turned lackluster. It has now announced closure yet again, this time permanently. For now. (It should be noted that the location itself has been many iterations of Oakland gathering spot since 1893, and will no doubt rise again.) Starline Social Club was at 2236 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Oakland.
Livermore restaurant closure
Livermore craft spirits distillery Sutherland Distilling closed up its tasting room just before the new year, and sadly the operation itself will close shortly. “Production of Sutherland products has ceased and is not expected to resume,” said a notice on the door and posted on Instagram. “We will be working on closing our operation in the coming months while we finish some work, and are expected to leave the building by summer 2023.” Sutherland Distilling was opened by brothers Ryan and Barry Sutherland and friend Eric Larimer in 2013. Remaining bottles of the company’s small-batch vodka, rum, bourbon, rye and brandy — the group’s Navy Strength Rum was a particular bestseller — are still for sale on the premises for the next few months, reach out for purchase. Sutherland Distilling was at 3189 Independence Dr. in Livermore.
Pleasanton restaurant closure
12/30/22 Pleasanton has lost a white-tablecloth classic. Husband-and-wife restaurateurs Joe and Maricela Barone posted the following note on Barone’s Restaurant’s website at the end of 2022: “It is with heavy hearts that after 27 years…we will be closing our fine dining operation on 12/22/2022. The last few years have been difficult for us all, with Covid, inflationary pressures and staffing shortages impacting day-to-day operations.” The note goes on to celebrate and thank the Barone’s community that shared in the couple’s love of high-end cuisine, wine and service for nearly 30 years, both in their sparkling dining room and on the sought-after garden patio. Nod to the Pleasanton Weekly for first alerting the public to the closure. Barone’s Restaurant was at 475 St. John St. in Pleasanton.
Walnut Creek restaurant closure
The Counter Walnut Creek
Beyond The Creek tells us that The Counter has closed its Walnut Creek location after 14 successful years. The intrepid burger restaurant chain was a crowd-pleaser from the start, known for its myriad customization options, from meat (or meatless) to bread (or breadless) burger varieties to toppings and of course condiments. There are now 20 Counter restaurants remaining throughout the country, including Hawaii, and internationally in Tokyo and Dublin; 13 Counter locations are in California. The Walnut Creek location left a proud farewell captured by BtC. The restaurant closed on Dec. 29. The Counter Walnut Creek was at 1699 N California Blvd. in Walnut Creek.