After three years of operation in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, The Half Orange is shutting its doors. Owner Jay Porter has put the restaurant up for sale, including the lease, equipment, and all assets, with Wednesday, August 2 as its last day of service.
The restaurant has been popular for its rotating selection of local beers, casual atmosphere, and grass-fed burgers. Porter says he hopes to find a buyer that will open something equally as welcoming for the neighborhood, which has seen an increase in businesses over the past few years, including Reem’s California and brewer Ale Industries.
“There’s a ton of opportunities in Fruitvale,” said Porter, who lives in the neighborhood. “Businesses are stretching beyond everyone’s first impression [of the neighborhood], though we still have the best Mexican food in the area. There’s a strong community here.”
Another change in the area: Increased demand for takeout, due to the growing number of commuters that live in East Oakland, something Porter predicts his successor will need to take into account. “You see restaurants that are building that end of their models really well and I think that is going to be an important component.”
As for Porter’s decision to close, it’s partially the result of the demands of the industry, combined with the desire to focus on solving those problems for others by developing tools to help with payroll and permitting, using his technical background to do so. “It’s not super sexy, but so many parts of owning a restaurant are horribly not sexy,” said Porter. “The specifics of the paperwork that restaurants in SF and California have to do are overwhelming.”
Porter was also behind Salsipuedes, the Baja-inspired restaurant in Oakland’s Longfellow neighborhood that closed after ten months; it’s now occupied by The Kebabery. “The industry is taxing. Being an owner/operator is a really taxing job and I’ve done it for fourteen years now,” Porter told Eater. “Everyone in this industry has their expiration date for being an owner/operator and I think I’ve hit mine. Obviously if were generating huge piles of cash we would find a different answer, but this is the right one for now.”
Fans can head over for beers and burgers before the restaurant closes on August 2. Stay tuned for more information on the space.