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Original Chow Location Closes on Church Street After 22 Years

The latest and hardest in a string of closures for Chow

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The interior of Chow Chow

Friendly neighborhood dining favorite Chow has closed after 22 years at 215 Church Street. The cafe, popular for its all-day brunch and backyard patio near Market Street, was the original location in a small local chain founded by Tony Gulisano. It’s the third Chow to close in the last year-and-a-half, leaving just one location of the business still open in Lafayette.

“This is not how we wanted this to go, obviously,” said Jamie Johnson, representative for Chow. “But we have had a beautiful 22-year run here, and are so proud of what we’ve done here, and so proud to have been a part of watching our little neighborhood grow.”

Reasons for the closure were vague: “It was just time for us,” says Johnson, who says relations with the business’s Church Street landlord were amicable.

Trouble for Chow started in January 2018, when Chow’s Inner Sunset location, Park Chow, closed at 1240 9th Avenue. That location of Chow, its second, was in business for 20 years. Park Chow’s closure was tied to the opening of an ambitious new Chow grocery and restaurant, Chow on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. Then things got worse: Chow Oakland closed after less than a year on Piedmont Avenue.

Of all the changes, closing Chow on Church is likely to be the most difficult for Gulisano and company. “This was the first restaurant, where it all started,” says Johnson. “And it’s sad for us. We’re going to miss it.”

But there’s much to take pride in, too. “We love our friends and our guests and our neighbors here” Johnson adds.


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