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. 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.
This Cal campus Berkeley eatery from Charles Phan, opened since 2017, went through an update summer 2022 that may have foretold some of the issues that led to last week’s somewhat abrupt closure, but the media’s spotlight of its departure from Wurster Hall shows how deeply the eatery had become entrenched in the university community. Rice & Bones featured fast-casual dishes — rice plates, pho — inspired in part by Phan’s famed Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door; that restaurant’s San Ramon location and Chuck’s Takeaway in San Francisco are now the only remaining Phan-owned restaurants still operating in the Bay (for the moment). Rice & Bones was at 230 Bauer Wurster Hall at U.C. Berkeley.
A couple of recent, quiet closures to report in downtown Berkeley, beginning with Cousins Asian Street Food, the former, newer incarnation of Lucky Bird from chef Kimberly Gamble. Gamble has been making the entertainment rounds lately, which might explain why Cousins’ closure many weeks ago is still unreported on social media and the Internet. Neighbors tell us the pretty little spot (also, briefly, the site of Kol Juice Bar) has been shut up tight since at least early spring. Cousins Asian Street Food was at 1926 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.
The decades-old Shattuck Avenue standby that closed in 2021 when married owners the Nguyens retired, reopened under new management in August of 2022. The name and no-frills vibe were kept the same, and folks seemed to appreciate the similar food — fast, budget-friendly Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, including soups and salads. Sadly, the new incarnation did not last long — friendly neighbors tell Nosh on a recent attempted visit that The Oriental went dark several months ago with no note, announcement or explanation. The (new) Oriental Restaurant was at 1782 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.