The saddest restaurant closings in Oakland and Berkeley in July 2021

Berkeley’s beloved Plearn Thai has closed for good. Photo credit: Plearn Thai

As always, this month’s closings include places that seemed so much a part of the East Bay landscape that their new absence is staggering. But in addition to all the usual risks and reasons for industrial closures, the pandemic fallout continues and, like COVID-19, will be with us for a while. Please keep supporting local restaurants and sharing nosh tips on opening or closing at [email protected]

Oakland

Slojoy Coffee Roasters was known for its positive and uplifting messages, right down to the logo. Photo credit: Slojoy / Instagram

SLOJOY COFFEE TOASTER Slojoy in downtown Oakland has closed after six years as a roastery and three years as a brick and mortar cafe. Owner Chris Stites (who is also a local pastor) and his family passed the baton to Motivat Coffee Roasters in June, which opened in the room in July. Slojoy Coffee Roasters was born in 1528 at Webster St.

THE KEBABERY There is two good news associated with this seemingly unfortunate closure. Firstly, The Kebabery isn’t actually closing but is moving to major digs nearby at 2929 Shattuck Ave. Look for opening news soon. Second, what’s moving into this Longfellow space is Joodooboo, an exciting, accessible new Korean deli specializing in homemade tofu and banchan by Steve Joo (Nokni). Wins all around. The kebabery was at 4201 Market St.

DOGLOCK Readers and Reddit let us know first, and Google and Yelp appear to have confirmed that Uptown’s Dogwood has closed for good after 10 years. Hear soft wails from bar lovers in Oakland; We will miss the simple, accessible class of dogwood. Dogwood was 1644 Telegraph Ave.

Berkeley

Nick’s Lounge is said to be “closed forever”. Photo credit: Joanna Della Penna

NICKS LOUNGE Although we knew Nick’s Lounge was for sale, retired owner Bryan Smith had high hopes that the karaoke and jazz bar would survive, so we hadn’t marked it permanently closed just yet. Months later, there is little news, although a drive past makes a quiet cring over a building under construction, and a Facebook post in June stated, “Yes, it’s true, Nick’s Lounge is closed forever.” We’ll let you know when and if new owners will turn the microphone back on, but for now … Nick’s Lounge was at 3218 Adeline St.

PLEARN THAI Plearn on University is unfortunately out of business. The casual Thai dining room was a local haunt for many, part of the expanded Plearn family of Thai restaurants that opened in 1982 at Berkeley University near the UC Theater. Note: Little Plearn Thai Restaurant on Shattuck Avenue, rooted in the same family group, will remain open, as will Plearn Thai Palace on Walnut Creek. Plearn Thai was at University Ave. in 1923.

Furthermore

EMC SEAFOOD & RAW BAR LA-based EMC Seafood & Raw Bar chain has locations across SoCal, but its Bay Area presence has been cut in half in recent weeks when its Concord outpost was permanently closed. Beyond The Creek was the first to notice the closure, realizing that it “opened at the Veranda Mall a few years ago.” Fans of EMC’s seafood dishes, which include sushi, pasta, tacos, and more, can still head to his other NorCal spot in San Jose. The EMC Seafood & Raw Bar was on Diamond Blvd Suite 100 in Concord in 2015.

ZACHARYS SAN RAMON It’s hard to imagine the end of any reign of any of the five locations of Zachary’s smooth pizza empire, but it’s true – after 15 years, San Ramon’s breeder Zachary’s and his terrace are no longer at Nosch due to a landlord dispute. However, the loss of San Ramon is Pleasanton’s gain as these spinach and mushroom patties are now served 20 minutes past 680 with cocktails at 337 Main Street in Pleasanton. Look for an opening date soon. Zacharys San Ramon was located at 3110 Crow Canyon Place in San Ramon.

Temporarily closed

Berkeley’s newest A&W is mysteriously chained, padlocked and dark. Photo credit: Joanna Della Penna

A&W Of all the zombie eateries in pandemic stasis, this one could be the zombie eatery: Berkeley’s brand new A&W, which opened for Big Hurray on the corner of Ashby and Telegraph last August, is ghostly and devastated and bears the mysterious sign “Restaurant Temporarily “. Closed due to lack of results from Covid 19. “A young clerk at the gas station counter next door offered this blurry insight:” I don’t know, man – it’s been closed for about three years. Something’s wrong. “To unsettle the nearby Willard students and other root beer and soft serve fans, we regret to say that even the national representatives of A&W are not sure whether the franchise location will reopen Good thing Smokehouse is just down the street, A&W is located at 2996 Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley.

BAR 355 Bar 355’s phone is still working and the website is still online, but readers and Google alerted us that the room may be dark. The final closure is unconfirmed at press time, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed to add it to the temporarily closed list for now. Bar 355 is located at 355 19th Street in Oakland.

DOC’S REFRESHER Take a closer look at Eve Batey on why the temporarily closed Doc’s Refresher didn’t reopen as expected in June. Spoiler: Another driver lost control and crashed into a building. (See previous versions of the same story at Oakland’s Howden’s Market, Emeryville’s Prizefighter, Arizmendi Emeryville, and Berkeley’s still-closed Quince Cafe.) Doc’s Refresher is closed until further notice and is located at 984 University Ave. in Berkeley.

FORT POINT ROCKRIDGE Fort Point Beer fans who noticed the company’s first brewery, Beerworks in Mill Valley, closed this month might want to take a peek at the long, papered bar at Fort Point Rockridge. Don’t worry: company officials have confirmed the hibernating Oakland bar will return despite appearances, although a date is still open. Fort Point Rockridge is located at 6309 College Avenue in Oakland.

ROYAL CAF Some may have missed the latest update on this Albany classic. In a happy reaction to a Nosh post by Risa Nye about the uncertain future of the cafe, Royal Cafe owner Majid Mahani announced the intended month for the cafe to reopen: August. See you soon in the pink castle. Royal Cafe is located at 811 San Pablo Ave. in Albany.

BRIGHT Oakland native chef Jonathan De La Torre has found a new appearance in San Francisco and has confirmed that his Moroccan pop-up company Serene in the East Bay is on hold for the time being. Serene previously (before the pandemic) operated at the Hidden Cafe on 1250 Addison St. in Berkeley.

ADVICE The Jordanian style street food pop-up became a permanent fixture. Shawarmaji will be dark for the next few weeks, but fear not, fans – Chef Mohammad Abutaha and his family are only vacationing in Abutaha’s homeland, Jordan. We wish you a safe journey and a speedy return. Shawarmaji is located at 2123 Franklin St., Oakland.

SMISH SMASH In a well-known sign of the times (the real sign is “We’re hiring!” Which is now posted on countless restaurant doors), the popular burger pop-up Smish Smash had to close temporarily due to a staff shortage. Watch Instagram for possible reopening news. Smish Smash is located at Neptune’s, 630 Central Ave. in Alameda.

GRANDMOTHER STAR This personable hangout on San Pablo Avenue has been closed for many weeks without notice or signage. The decor and colorful decor of the spot remain, but attempts to reach the owners through their catering operation also went unanswered, so we stick a pin in it until we hear more. Stella Nonna is located at 1407 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Nosh interim editor Eve Batey contributed to this report

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