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Sometimes a closure comes with not just a heavy heart, but one torn to shreds. “Last night Hi Felicia was violently broken into,” begins chef Imana’s Instagram post of May 24. “Our upstairs safe was thrown downstairs, glass door completely shattered, our cash register was broken. Everything in the restaurant is in disarray. This will take a long time to clean up, and it is with a heavy heart that I announce Hi Felicia will be closing effective immediately.” Sometimes there is nothing left to say, except — we hope this isn’t really the end of Hi Felicia’s eccentric, all-or-nothing take on fine dining, but if it is, it’s too soon and too sudden…and too bad. Hi Felicia was at 326 23rd St. in Oakland.
For those of you who haven’t yet heard and just did a double-take, yes — Cinnaholic’s flagship at 2132 Oxford St. has permanently closed after 13 years. The vegan cinnamon bun shop and bakery across from UC Berkeley was a campus constant, a popular lure for students who bravely dodged Oxford Street traffic to snack on its plant-based sweet treats — including throughout the pandemic when the local landscape began to change and many of Cinnaholic’s neighbors shut down. Now boasting corporate headquarters in Atlanta, GA, Cinnaholic has grown into a widespread franchise under founder Shannon Radke, with more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Canada, but its first little Berkeley shop — run by local owner Nicole Nuss since 2014 — is no more. Cinnaholic closed May 21. Cinnaholic was at 2132 Oxford St. in Berkeley.
Italy on Gilman
Italy on Gilman opened in June of 2020 during that first, uncertain summer of the pandemic, and was a proud foray into old-school Italian dining for local restaurateur Juan Romo (Casa Latina, La Mission). Romo updated the restaurant’s split-level Gilman District space, formerly T-Rex, touching up the airy dining rooms with white tablecloths and making good use of the appealing spot’s various patios for upscale outdoor dining. A message from the business states, “Our lease at Italy on Gilman is expiring, and we will be closing our doors May 31st of this year. We are incredibly grateful for the support and loyalty of our customers.” Note: Also according to the restaurant, Italy on Gilman’s chef Fabio Bucio will move to the kitchen of Point Richmond’s upcoming restaurant Biancoverde inside the Hotel Mac. Italy on Gilman is at 1300 10th St. in Berkeley, and will close May 31.
Popeyes International Boulevard
Making the news for all the wrong reasons this week was the East Oakland location of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the fast food chain known for fried chicken and biscuits. According to The Chronicle, the franchise location at 7007 International Blvd. is shuttered indefinitely, pending investigation, after reports were filed with the state citing illegal labor conditions for teenage employees and a deeply unsafe work environment, including violence from customers, staff and management. Temporarily closed Popeyes is at 7007 International Blvd. in Oakland.