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End of an Era: Rudy’s Can’t Fail Closes last Emeryville Location

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It was the end of an era in Emeryville today as Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café announced their permanent closure.

“With a heavy heart, the ownership of Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe has decided to permanently close operations effective immediately.” they posted on their social media accounts.

Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool.

At their peak, Rudy’s had over 50 employees as well as locations in the Uptown area of Oakland and were exploring expanding to other cities (rumored to be Las Vegas and Livermore).

They became a destination eating spot in part because of their connection to Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt and television appearances including Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

Weekend service saw large crowds of customers with seating times often beyond an hour.

Original owners of Rudy’s: Steve Mills, Jeffrey Bischoff and Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt (Photo: Joe Rosato Jr./NBCBayArea.com).

Their breakfast served all day, intense coffee and other signature items such as the “Shakin’ Jesse” (chocolate milkshake with Guinness and espresso) helped them develop a cult like following. They also catered to a “late night” crowd by closing at 1 a.m..

They were among the first to refer to Emeryville as “E’ville” and inspired the name of this news source.


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In the wake of intense social unrest, they opted to close their Oakland location and temporarily shuttered their Emeryville location to retool. “We can either try to rebuild the engine while speeding down the highway, or slow things down a bit,” Co-Owner Jeff Bischoff noted at the time.

Rudy’s 20 year lease came to an end last year but received a year extension to help them recover and evaluate their long-term future post-pandemic. They also received a temporary rent reduction to assist them during a particularly difficult time for the food service industry.

The price of food and labor during this span continued to skyrocket making their business unsustainable.

Property owner Ben Yee has expressed the desire to find a new tenant and maintain the space as a neighborhood café.

“This is a sad day for us,” responded General Manager Doug Smith who was at the helm of Rudy’s for a combined 18 years. “We had a great 20 year run and are so thankful to all our loyal customers and staff.”

We have reached out to Jeffrey Bischoff for further details on their closure and will update this story with any new information.

Their “farewell” post is reprinted below in its entirety.


To our loyal customers;

With a heavy heart, the ownership of Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe has decided to permanently close operations effective immediately.

We are grateful and appreciative to our talented staff for their tireless efforts and creative contributions over the years. You are Rudy.
You made Rudy’s what it was: a continuously award-winning diner where everyone that “Walked Among Us” were always welcomed.

20 years ago we strived to create that same environment and ethos that the Yee Family did at Eugene’s Ranch House for 40 years before us but now it is time for Rudy to pass the torch.

Many thanks to all our customers for your patronage and support over the years, we will miss serving your preferred Brew For Breakfast and Late Night Munchies.

We wish you well.

P.S.: Always remember to Give ‘Em Enough Meatloaf and God Save Southern Fried Chicken.

I Am Rudy.

Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

5 Comments

  1. One of SO many changes since the Covid debacle. My question: The food and labor costs were cited as the primary reason for the shutdown. The owner of the property expressed a desire to have a another food service entity as a tenant. Why would such an entry be any more viable? In addition, to food and labor cost (and probably increased rent) they would have marketing costs of a restaurant.

  2. Hopefully someone buys the place and restores its glory as a 24 hour truck stop diner. I remember when prices were reasonable and they never closed before the owners in this article took on the name and location. The Can’t Fail Cafe was so much better before Rudy’s was introduced.

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