All the East Bay restaurants that closed in August


We don’t think we’re alone in noticing that it’s getting harder and harder to tell if a restaurant or bar is temporarily closed or has left us for good. 

This is not a new problem during the pandemic — since March 2020, when the boards went up and cobwebs began to gather on sleeping businesses, we have all had to put on detective hats and do our best to determine if a place is “closed closed” or simply “closed for now.” 

Occasionally, a business is mistakenly left for dead, thanks to a ghosted space, frozen social media accounts, broken website, and no response to phone calls and emails. 

Businesses, if you intend to resurface, or especially if you don’t, we recommend letting your customers know in the clearest way possible, so that we can be patient — or say a proper farewell. All we’re asking for is a little … closure.

And as always, tips should go to nosh@berkeleyside.org.

Berkeley

Espresso Roma on College Avenue has been plastered with “for lease” signs since February. Photo: Stuart Luman

ESPRESSO ROMA Founded by David “Sandy” Boyd back in 1980, this Elmwood institution has been operating on borrowed time for a while now, with Boyd telling Nosh in February that “the rent is $18,000 a month and the income is $300 a day,” so he’d shutter the business as soon as the landlord found a tenant to take the coffee shop’s place. It looks like a new tenant signed on the dotted line in recent weeks, as numerous tipsters informed Nosh that the business has finally gone dark. Berkeley’s other Espresso Roma, at 1549 Hopkins St., remains open. Espresso Roma was at 960 College Ave.

NICHI RAMEN It has been dormant for a while, but we hear this 3-year-old ramen shop that shared the corner of Bancroft and Telegraph with a Subway franchise has shuttered for good. According to a Daily Cal report from 2018, it, too, was owned by the Espresso Roma chain, and was part of the coffee shop empire’s plan to appeal to Berkeley’s “growing Asian population.” (The Subway is also owned by Roma’s David “Sandy” Boyd, the Cal reported at the time.) Thanks to a tipster for letting us know about this other, Roma-adjacent closure. Nichi Ramen was at 2490 Bancroft Way.

RIVOLI Bitter news came this month when Eve Batey reported on the abrupt closure of Rivoli. The Berkeley restaurant from Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper was a favorite upscale choice for locals for almost three decades, and made big news — and regulars justifiably nervous — when it changed hands in 2020. Now it is closed “…until further notice,” says Rivoli’s website, but it is marked permanently closed on Google, and our guess is that “further notice” won’t come soon. However, it should be noted that the 2020 shuttering of Corso, Brucker and Skipper’s other local favorite, was followed shortly by the good news that it would be revived by new owners, and indeed, Peter Chastain’s new Via del Corso has given that restaurant’s story a rare, shiny, silver lining. Let’s hope a similar, happy fate meets Rivoli. But for now … dark. Rivoli was at 1539 Solano Ave.

Oakland

The Layover shut its doors when the pandemic began, and many former patrons say it won’t ever reopen. Credit: The Layover/Instagram

THE LAYOVER Thanks to a commenter for bringing our attention to this cult-favorite bar and lounge, featured in the 2018 movie Sorry To Bother You and in the blissed-out nights of many an Oaklander. It appears the bar is shuttered, website is dark, phone is disconnected, and unless we’re mistaken, the last social media post from staff was in October of 2020. We’re delighted to print a correction if we’re wrong — and hey, free publicity — but sadly The Layover seems closed for good. The Layover was at 1517 Franklin St.

Beyond

Burma Unique’s spacious Walnut Creek dining room has gone dark. Credit: Burma Unique/Facebook

BURMA UNIQUE At the time of its 2019 opening, Burma Unique was the first Burmese restaurant in Walnut Creek, occupying a 4,000-square foot space that was once home to Le Cheval. Beyond the Creek reports that the restaurant has closed, and an April Facebook post from the restaurant confirms the news. Burma Unique was at 1375 North Broadway in Walnut Creek.

LEMONADE WALNUT CREEK The one East Bay location of this California chain has shuttered, leaving only two locations in all of Northern California, both in San Francisco. The majority of Lemonade’s restaurants are in Los Angeles and other points south. Lemonade was at 1338 S. Main St. in Walnut Creek. 

OUI OUI MACARON Though “macaron” is in its name, this Public Market Emeryville bakery’s menu is dominated by a variety of Basque cheesecakes, that charred and creamy dessert craze that hit a peak last year. The business announced via Instagram that it would shutter its Public Market doors when it lease ends on August 31 , writing that “it’s bittersweet but we’re off to new adventures!” The SF Chronicle notes that one of those adventures might be a trip across the Bay, as the day after its closure announcement the business said it has a lease in San Francisco and will open there eventually.

THE SALT “Dear Friends, Guests and Supporters,” reads a note on San Ramon restaurant The Salt’s website. “Unfortunately we are going to remain closed indefinitely due to the economic impact our industry is currently experiencing.” The note ends hopefully, looking forward to exciting new potential future opportunities for the team. The elegant restaurant opened to enthusiastic reviews in 2019. Thanks for the note, and good luck, Salt team. The Salt was at 500 Bollinger Canyon Way in San Ramon.

SINCERETEA This two-location tea shop has closed its Walnut Creek outpost, Beyond the Creek reports. The spot was known for its boba and milk tea options, but also did a brisk trade in pandan teas and well-regarded egg puffs. Its San Jose location remains open as of publication time. Sinceretea was at 1506 N. Main St. in Walnut Creek.

Nosh interim editor Eve Batey contributed to this report.

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