Emeryville residents and fans of the beloved Italian restaurant Bucci’s on Hollis are reeling after the announcement that the owners have decided to call it quits after 28 years. Amelia Bucci was a fixture of the establishment (and about the most adorable woman I’ve ever met). A huge loss for the city and they will leave a gaping hole in our city’s dining options and the neighborhood. No more warm bread and olives, no more art by featured local artists and no more hand-scribed quotes on their chalkboard.
Photo: Daniel Raynaud
Bucci’s made the announcement official through their Facebook page with the following post:
Bucci’s would like to make an official announcement of our retirement. After nearly three fulfilling and memorable decades of pizza, pasta, friends, and more, we have decided to end this chapter of our career here, and allow ourselves to pursue other endeavors.
We would like to thank each and every one of you that shared a meal with us, and the warmest regards go out to all our loyal patrons that have allowed us to stay in business for 28 years, and flourish even brighter to this day.
Just as all good things must come to an end, Bucci’s will close our doors for good on September 30, 2015.
No mention of the impact from the recently passed highest in the nation Minimum Wage Ordinance was given but the timing is incredible and speculation that this was a convenient time to get out of the restaurant business will persist. Bucci’s were big supporters of the “Scott & Dianne” campaign and in fact held their victory party there. Because of this loyalty, it is unlikely that they would “throw them under the bus” as this would create backlash against Council and the unpopular measure.
Bucci’s tried to offset the impacts of the MWO by raising prices and applying a $2.50 per person service charge. It is unknown how many employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closing and if a new restaurant will turn up in its place. The owner of the property is purportedly committed to keeping a restaurant in the space and Bucci’s has expressed the desire to sell its assets to a prospective buyer.
[Addendum 8/21] As a loyal Bucci’s customer over the last 12 years, I immediately set out to have dinner Friday evening (hopefully not the last time) and chat with Amelia about the sad news of their decision to exit Emeryville. She acknowledged the challenges that the MWO created for her restaurant and others and the adjustments she’s had to make. She acknowledged the inaccurate data that council used to push this through and she acknowledged her preference for a regional approach. She also acknowledged that it ultimately had no bearing on her final decision and timing was the main factor. My speculation was inaccurate and I wanted to set the record straight. I owe her that. Getting it right will always be more important than being right for me.
Bucci’s of course opposed the MWO at the 4/7 Study Session by presenting data that debunked the Berkeley IRLE Study that Council often deferred to:
Stories continue to surface as restaurants struggle to make the transition from an overnight 36% hike for small businesses like them. Despite little support from residents, almost no support from business and many warnings of the implications, Council opted to push through their social justice driven agenda. We can guarantee that this won’t be the last announcement we make of an Emeryville establishment closing or moving.
Retirement plans closing Bucci’s in Emeryville
The huge meatballs come from an old Bucci family recipe.
For nearly 30 years, they’ve cooked East Coast-style Italian food for an admiring East Bay audience.
Now, the three co-owners of Bucci’s in Emeryville are calling it a career. Amelia Bucci, the restaurant’s namesake, Paul Camardo and Les Julian will shut the restaurant on Sept. 30, giving fans old and new plenty of time to make it to Hollis Street for one last meal.
The closing is bittersweet, Bucci acknowledges. “We have such loyal customers, and everyone is dealing with their grief, as we are.”
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Feature Image: David W. on Yelp