The Kebabery will close for good after 5 years in Berkeley

Five years after the Kebabery hit the scene with a simple yet comforting menu of lamb, chicken and mushroom grilled kebabs, the East Bay restaurant is preparing to close this week.

The forthcoming closure was announced on Instagram in a brief message that indicated that The Kebabery’s last day in service is Oct. 8. The end of the Kebabery comes after the owners shared that the pandemic played a major role in their decision to shutter for good.

“We have felt very loved but the pandemic proved too much for us,” the goodbye message read in part. “We’ve run out of time!”

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, co-owner Russell Moore said that the past two and a half years had put a massive strain on operating the restaurant smoothly, which included finding staff. Moreover, he shared that the Kebabery was “on the verge of running out of money.” In ending the five-year run, Moore will also leave the food industry altogether, the Chronicle reported. (SFGATE and the San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently of one another.)

“We’re all kind of burned-out on restaurants,” Moore told the Chronicle. “It’s just been an exhausting few years and it hasn’t really let up.”

Moore and Allison Hopelain, co-owner and Moore’s wife, opened the Kebabery in 2017 alongside co-owner Brian Crookes. At the time, the restaurant was located on Market Street in Oakland before it eventually relocated to Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley last year. In 2021, Crookes told the Daily Californian that the original plan had been to maintain the Oakland outpost while opening more storefronts, but the pandemic prevented that outcome. Instead, the Berkeley store at 2929 Shattuck Ave. was its only location.

“The new place is in a more discoverable location,” Crookes told the Daily Californian. “It will allow us to grow and serve more people, and give ourselves more breathing room.”

Pop-up Sesame Tiny Bakery also operated within the Kebabery after the relocation, but the bakery’s final operating day inside the Berkeley restaurant was Oct. 1, according to the business website. It will continue operating elsewhere, Sesame Tiny Bakery’s website said. 

Before the Kebabery, Moore and Hopelain operated the popular Camino restaurant in Oakland. The restaurant was known for savory dishes prepared on an open wood-fired hearth. But after a 10-year run, it shuttered in 2018. SFGATE reached out for comment from the Kebabery owners but did not hear back by publication.

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