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Berkeley’s Only Indonesian Restaurant Is Closing

Owners cited rising business costs

Storefront of Jayakarta in Berkeley Google Maps

Jayakarta, the only Indonesian restaurant in Berkeley, appears to be closing, as Berkeleyside reports. At the foot of the hills and edge of campus on University Ave, it’s been serving Betawi-style street food to the Berkeley community for 14 years. But this weekend will be the restaurant’s last, owners tell Berkeleyside.

Eater has reached out to Jayakarta for further comment on the closure. According to Berkeleyside, the restaurant’s final dinner is this Saturday, August 24.

For a family-run restaurant with few employees, Jayakarta’s menu runs impressively deep, focusing on Indonesian street food. Favorites included the gado-gado, a warm salad with fried tofu, shrimp crackers, and spicy peanut dressing; mie tek-tek, egg noodles with a runny egg, chicken, and spicy sauce; and nasi bungkus, a dish of either jackfruit, coconut beef, or chicken curry served over rice and wrapped in a banana leaf.

Opening chef and owner Irianti Jin, who goes by Mama Talen, came to the US from North Jakarta, where she grew up on indegenous Betawi cuisine and worked as a street food vendor. Her father was a merchant, and her mother a dedicated baker, to whom Mama Talen attributes her fierce work ethic and her recipe for gemblong, or caramelized coconut donuts.

Escaping political turmoil, Jin moved to San Francisco during the ’90s, cooking at an Indonesian restaurant in the Tenderloin before opening her own spot in Berkeley in 2005. Regulars at Jayakarta include Indonesian expats, Chinese Indonesians, Dutch people, Cal students, and Berkeley locals. The business says it’s a favorite spot for the Indonesian embassy, welcoming dignitaries, and Julia Roberts even stopped by once.

Jayakarta is one of several Indonesian restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area that happen to be recently closing. According to the Chronicle, Borobudur Restaurant on Polk Street is closing after 28 years in business sometime this September, and in March, the Castro’s Indo also shuttered.

Jayakarta Restaurant

2026 University Avenue, , CA 94704 (510) 841-0884 Visit Website

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