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Taco Bell Closes, Trader Vic’s Exploring Housing, Bay Bridge Center prepares for Redevelopment, Compound Gallery Moving to Emeryville

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Emeryville’s one month streak without a notable business closure came to a close last week with the abrupt closing of the East Bay Bridge Taco Bell (near Home Depot).

Other news in this report includes the possible end of an Emeryville dining institution and the kick-off of the impending redevelopment of the Bay Bridge Center.

East Bay Bridge Taco Bell Closes

The Taco Bell at the East Bay Bridge Shopping Center near Home Depot has shuttered. According to one source, they abruptly closed on December 27 saying they’d ‘reopen in 30 minutes.’ They never did reopen and signage has since been removed.

Other sources have the pointed out that the adjacent Starbucks has been intermittently closed due to “staffing shortages” amid the ongoing omicron surge.

The nearest available Taco Bell is at 2255 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

Trader Vic’s Property Owners Pursuing Housing on Site?

The owners of the Trader Vic’s property have begun exploring building housing on the site of their fabled restaurant according to the City of Emeryville November Progress report. City Planning staff met with the property owners at the site in November to discuss a potential residential project. Their design team has since also met online to discuss various development options.

The plans are preliminary and no paperwork have been officially submitted but early indications are that the restaurant space as it is would not be preserved. “My understanding is that the restaurant building would not be preserved,” noted a city contact. The Emeryville location is an extension of the original San Pablo Avenue location and still operated by the Bergeron family.

Trader Vic’s has been working hard to adapt amid a challenging business climate exacerbated by the pandemic. They’ve attempted to maximize their kitchen space by incorporating a Mexican food take-out spin-off called Senor Pico’s. That venture was short lived.

Full-service, non-chain dining establishments are a dying breed in Emeryville and the few that have tried have quickly failed within the city including 612One and Yuzu Ramen.

1/12 Correction & Update: A representative of Trader Vic’s reached out to The E’ville Eye to clarify that this project was being initiated by the owners of the property and not the restaurant. “Trader Vic’s Corp. does not own the Emeryville property and has no say in potential plans or projects for the location,” noted Trader Vic’s General Manager Faith Nebergall. “If it were up to us we would continue operating where we are for as long as possible, but it’s not our choice.”

Nebergall reiterated that no decisions have been finalized. “We will continue with business as usual through 2022 and will know more about what happens afterwards in the next couple of months.”


Hidden Spot to Hometown Heroes Kitchen

The Hometown Heroes sports bar has a newish kitchen tenant that we failed to report on EvilleEye.com. Hidden Spot announced they would be taking over the kitchen previously occupied by the popular Likha Filipino food about a year ago.

Hidden Spot also operates a South San Francisco location serving burgers, sandwiches and wings.

Order food online at hiddenspotemy.com


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Compound Gallery “Expanding” to Emeryville

North Oakland’s Compound Gallery has found a new home for their gallery space just across the border in Emeryville. The building at 1339 61st street has lived many lives most recently as an enterprise software company called Relola.

They announced the move in a December 6 Instagram post after finalizing their lease. “It’s been a really crazy time for us and we have been struggling to figure out a way to keep the gallery alive and thriving into the future. First, two years of global pandemic, then landlord struggles.”

They went on to explain the various challenges they had to overcome including reneging and legal threats . “After a crazy search, we were able to find a building we have been eyeing for a while.”

“Our extensive main facilities and studios are staying in Oakland, but the new building will house the gallery, a community print shop (specializing in letterpress-also with etching and screen printing), an art shop, an Art-cade, and the @hifructosemag Micro Mega Store!”

Compound expressed relief and optimism for the future of their business in Emeryville. “We are also delighted to be moving to Emeryville and have already received a wonderful welcome from the city.”


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Feature Image and above photo courtesy of @scoobmx via Twitter.

Bay Bridge Center Officially Closes

All the businesses at the Bay Bridge Shopping Center on Christie Avenue have officially vacated and the lot has been fenced off. Wells Fargo, Allegro Ballroom, EmeryBay Cafe and Copy Central have all either closed or relocated. The Denny’s and 76 Gas station remain open and are not currently part of the redevelopment plans.

Oxford Properties acquired the shopping center back in August with with the intent of building a “mixed-use” project. Oxford has submitted a proposal which will be reviewed by the Planning Commission at a planned January 27 study session.


Oakland Monster Pho Moving

While the Emeryville location remains closed to customers, the Oakland Monster Pho location is moving a few blocks closer to Emeryville on 40th street near Broadway. They have been at the Broadway location since 2014.

Monster Pho reflected on their long journey and appreciating for their staff and loyal customer base in an instagram post. “We would like to sincerely thank them for all their hard work & dedication. We’re also very fortunate to have the community’s continuous support & feedback through the years. Without you guys, we would not be here today too.”

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.

7 Comments

  1. Very concerning to see the Trader Vic’s news: “My understanding is that the restaurant building would not be preserved”

    • I hear from good sources that Trader Vic’s themselves had nothing to do with the housing talks. I think you misread the progress report, Rob

      • The entire blurb from page 8 of the report:

        “Trader Vic’s Housing. As previously reported, on November 9, 2020, Planning staff met with the ownership of the Trader Vic’s property on-site to discuss a potential residential project. On November 30, 2021, staff met with the design team via Zoom to discuss various development options.”

        It referenced meeting with their “ownership” and the quote about the restaurant not being preserved is from a reliable member of staff. I don’t know how else to interpret this. I hope I’m wrong and they are just exploring their options.

      • Rob, Trader Vic’s rents the property. The “ownership” is of the land, not the restaurant “owner”.

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