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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alameda restaurant closure
1/9/23 Sadly, Alameda said good-bye to Angela’s Kitchen at the end of December. The family-owned restaurant was a welcoming staple in that community for 22 years; it first opened in Alameda’s Marina Village in 2001, then moved to its cheerful Park Street space in 2015.
Helmed by married chef-owners Saboor and Maria Zafari (the restaurant was named for their daughter), the Mediterranean restaurant was a special one for dates, dinners with friends, cocktails and light bites, and in fact was called by some “the best restaurant in Alameda” for its comfortable, quality dining with Afghan inflections.
In the family’s kind farewell note, Saboor Zafari mentions a new restaurant coming in February to the space; we have reached out for details and will keep islanders posted. Meanwhile, thanks to the Zafaris for their 22 years of cooking and kindness, and readers for sharing the news. Angela’s Kitchen was at 1640 Park St. in Alameda. Update Jan. 10, 8 a.m.: Thanks to a reader, we have learned that Alameda’s charming Little House Cafe plans to move into the vacated Angela’s space, and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner once open, which might be soon! Follow their progress on Instagram.
Berkeley restaurant closures
Barbarian Grub and Ale/Tap In Lounge
1/26/23 The Tap In Lounge, the new incarnation of Barbarian in downtown Berkeley, morphed over many months last year, and new signage went up from the same owners right before 2023. It’s now (and has been for a bit) a self-serve tap room with Barbarian-style Indian pizza, but the full transition has apparently hit a snag. There is now a notice from California’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) hanging on its door that states that its liquor license will be suspended for 20 days, starting on Jan. 19. We’ve contacted the ABC for more details on the suspension, and will keep downtown Berkeley revelers posted on what we assume will be just a temporary closure. Tap In Lounge (formerly Barbarian Grub and Ale) is at 2012 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.
Paris Baguette Berkeley
1/9/23 In the same week it was announced that Pleasant Hill will get a new Paris Baguette, the long-standing downtown Berkeley location of the Korean-French bakery chain quietly closed. As first reported by SF Gate, via a message tweeted to Nosh from longtime tipster Sean “Yoda” Rouse (Editors note: tipsters, please consider emailing us first as social media is far less reliable), though the 10-year-old branch of the bakery was as busy as ever throughout the holidays, a brief sign on the door announced closure on Jan. 1 with no explanation.
No more blue Eiffel Tower and fast, reliable cafe and pastry fare? Is it just us, or is downtown Berkeley losing some of its je ne sais quoi? Paris Baguette was 2150 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.
1/18/23 It’s been “temporarily” dark since last fall, but a new ownership sign in the window has revealed the uncertain status of Westbrae’s three-year-old keystone restaurant Thai Corner: The restaurant has permanently closed. Coming soon from new owners is Bar Mosquito, a spot serving “Thai tapas.” We’ll share details as they develop. Thai Corner was at 1277-1299 Gilman St. in Berkeley.
El Sobrante restaurant closure
Up & Under 2nd Pitch El Sobrante
2/1/23 Now temporarily closed due to land-use issues with Contra Costa County is Up & Under’s second location in El Sobrante. The rugby-themed pub and restaurant is known for good food, strong ales and sporty fun, and is a staple for sports fans and expats at its first location in Point Richmond. Its sister spot The 2nd Pitch, which has its own dedicated fan base, was shuttered mid-January, and will need to remain temporarily closed while submitted applications are reviewed and — one hopes — approved. The team anticipates being closed through March. Up & Under 2nd Pitch is at 5216 Sobrante Ave. in El Sobrante.
Emeryville restaurant closures
California Pizza Kitchen Emeryville
1/18/23 In a bittersweet end to a hotly debated chain — similar to when the Center Street Starbucks closed in Berkeley — California Pizza Kitchen has departed Bay Street. Despite how some might feel about the pizza itself, this CPK felt permanently melded to that Bay Street mezzanine space, one of the remaining ‘90s- and early ‘00s-style chain holdouts at a mall for the masses.
Most of that portion of the mall is currently in flux, with many new openings (for the better, but still) having already arrived or coming soon. As for CPK, The E’ville Eye surprised us all with the news — though many lackluster recent reviews may have foretold it. A moment of silence please, for the death of Original BBQ Pizza on Bay Street: Nosh witnessed a father and young son arrive the Sunday night after closure only to face a darkened door and, surprised and mystified, wander slowly away in the rain, uninterested in fancier offerings. Change can be hard. California Pizza Kitchen was at 5614 Bay St., Suite 244, in Emeryville.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Emeryville
1/18/23 Yet another hat tip to The E’ville Eye for first posting that P.F. Chang’s last day on Bay Street was Friday, Jan. 13. The upscale fusion “Chinese bistro” chain was co-founded by the son of Bay Area restaurant icon Cecilia Chiang in the early nineties, and the Emeryville location, one of 200 internationally, opened about a decade later. Since then, it has served countless Chang lettuce wraps and bowls of spicy chicken to Bay Street shoppers, corporate account diners and visitors lodged at nearby hotels, and gave the mall a bit of a chain nightlife centerpoint.
Those giant stone horses standing sentry outside the restaurant’s entrance saw plenty of change in their two decades, though maybe none as rapid as the past few weeks; by Sunday they had already been demolished to make way for a new restaurant to come, details soon. Update 1/31/23: rumors have since been confirmed that the upcoming restaurant will be Fogo de Chão. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro was at 5633 Bay St. in Emeryville.
Oakland restaurant closures
Bay Fung Tong Seafood Tea House
1/9/23 Yet another classic East Bay Chinese restaurant has closed, and devoted regulars can’t quite believe it. Uptown’s Bay Fung Tong Seafood Tea House shuttered quietly at the end of 2022.
The no-frills Cantonese restaurant was long a destination (vague, unverified reports have it opened since the early 2000s) for hungry locals, families and, later, groups of Fox Theater-goers, gathered there mostly for its seafood dishes (crab in particular), served in generous portions at comfortable prices. It will be sorely missed. Bay Fung Tong Seafood Tea House was at 1916 Franklin St. in Oakland.
Hive, The Place To Bee
1/26/23 Now circulating a sad good-bye note is 10-year-old cafe Hive, The Place To Bee, an Oakland gathering spot that put a lot of effort into its locally sourced, green-minded products, warm vibe and community care. (Also its cappuccinos, breakfast sandwiches and biscuits.) The cafe’s final day will be Sunday. On Saturday they plan to hold a gathering and mini garage sale with cafe items available as souvenirs. “Hive is no longer the place to bee,” said the note. “Unfortunately we can no longer overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and current economic climate.” Hive, The Place to Bee was at 2139 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland.
1/26/23 Sad-clown face: As this well-loved, irreverent bar’s community of “creeps and qweerdos” knows, Stinky’s and its mini art-house cinema The Dogwood Theatre have been temporarily closed since Dec. 10, due to severe water damage from leaks in the ceiling. “It’s been hard enough to manage after years of pandemic closures and restrictions,” said owner Alexeis Filipello. “We are now once again struggling to meet the needs and considerations of my staff’s welfare and the continuing costs associated with the unplanned emergency closure.” Folks are now rallying to help this creative, counterculture haven, as it could remain closed into Feb. or beyond without an assist. Stinky’s Bar is at 1644 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.
2/1/23 Remember Umami Burger? The Los Angeles-based burger restaurant known for soft, juicy burgers that capitalized on umami ingredients, which soared to popularity when it hit the bay in 2011? At its peak, there were four Umami Burgers in the region; Umami Burger Uptown opened in 2013, and was an immediate hit. Now, the original Marina District location in San Francisco is gone, the remaining San Francisco location has temporarily closed, and those in Palo Alto (closed 2020) and now Oakland have also fully closed. Chef Alvin Cailan became the face of the Umami brand in 2021, and parent company SBE appears to be closing locations nationwide, with international expansion via ghost kitchens as a possible next move. Umami Burger Oakland was at 2100 Franklin St. in Oakland.
Wooden Table Baking Cafe
1/18/23 As noted by a reader (and What Now SF), Oakland-based Wooden Table Baking Co., purveyors of Argentine empanadas, alfajores, dulce de leche truffles and other rich treats, closed its cozy Broadway cafe near the end of 2022. The cafe was a favorite among lovers of mate and South American fare for five years, and will be missed, but there are two pieces of good news. First, Wooden Table Baking Co. specialties — and as regulars will tell you, they are truly special — remain available online (and make great gifts). Second, the cafe closed to make way for upcoming Javi’s Empanadas, giving empanada fans and regulars at the location a bit of sweet and savory symmetry. Wooden Table’s Cafe was at 2300 Broadway in Oakland.
1/18/23 After nearly five years within the Old Oakland Swan’s Market complex, Yammy’s Ethiopian Cafe and Deli has closed, readers (thank you) have informed Nosh. Its dedicated chef-owner Yamrout Gebremedhin (Yammy is her nickname) and friendly staff provided fresh, flavorful, budget-friendly Ethiopian dishes and “fusion” selections — wraps, burgers and sandwiches with Ethiopian spices and inflections — and welcoming service.
Yammy’s was also known for its catering, was a member of Good Good Eats and helped serve and nourish the community throughout the pandemic. Nosh reached out to find out more about the closure and Gebremedhin’s future plans, and though we had not heard details by press time, we know Old Oakland locals are mourning the loss of this very special restaurant. Yammy’s Cafe was at 542 9th St. in Oakland.