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Walnut Creek Magazine


Aug 13, 2019 12:46PM ● By Pam Kessler

It’s a tough time in the restaurant industry. Chefs, restaurateurs, and experts point to a variety of motives behind popular restaurant closures—everything from employee recruitment and retention to labor laws, increasing payroll costs, demographic changes, and real estate conditions. Several businesses of notable rank and popularity succumbed to closures over the past 12 months, including some that served their communities for decades—Jardinière, Lucca Ravioli and Elite Café in San Francisco, Spenger’s Fish Grotto and Mexicali Rose in Berkeley, Camino in Oakland, Shed in Healdsburg, Redd in Yountville, Terra in St. Helena, Yankee Pier and Chow in Lafayette, Black Angus in Pleasant Hill, and the list goes on.

Walnut Creek has not escaped the trend. Le Cheval, Momo’s, and Sweetwater Café were followed by the shuttering of Baygreen’s Salads, Evie’s Hamburgers, Stanford’s, Cinco de Mayo, Andy’s Sushi, and Mary’s Pizza Kitchen. Then in June came word of another biggie. Without making much noise, Tender Greens—a pioneer in the healthy fast-casual food movement—announced it was closing on 1530 Locust Street, requesting a lease-buy-out equivalent to $314,253.40 from the City of Walnut Creek, who owns the property. A sign in the window said, “Despite your support, this is our poorest performing restaurant.” The company’s CEO, Erik Oberholtzer, did not respond to our request for comment.


Others like Sunrise Bistro are transitioning their brand and restaurant model into something fresh and new. As soon as the ink is dry on the deal, we’ll have an exclusive story to tell. Stay tuned.


Notable restaurant and retail openings

Take a bite out of So Cal tacos. Newbury Park’s Patron swiftly surfaced on Locust Street in the former Cinco de Mayo space, dishing up authentic Mexican food. Tacos Walnut Creek opened in the former Andy’s Sushi spot at the end of Locust Street. Nos Encanto la Comida Mexicana! Coming Soon…Brioche de Paris in the former Canvas and Cabernet. Croissants anyone?

 If you’re curious about Burmese cuisine—a fusion of Thai, Indian, and Chinese cuisines—check out Burma Unique on Broadway (formerly Le Cheval) and freshly opened Burma 2 on S. Main Street (most memorably the OIC-Bowl.) Flavorful curries, vermicelli, samosas, and tea leaf salad star on both menus.

In the historic brick building on Main Street that housed Schroder Insurance for decades, Lever Coffee Parlor is making its debut this fall—a fitting location to pay homage to the art of coffee making with hand-crafted Lever Press machines.

Bringing their gaucho tradition to Walnut Creek Galpao Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse opened on California in the former Momo’s space. Expect an authentic experience here: choice meats, chicken and fish are accompanied by at trip to the robust market table for salads, cheeses, condiments, and vegetables.

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