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Turns Out Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe Actually Can Fail

Against all odds, the Emeryville cafe has closed effective immediately

The outside of a cafe in Emeryville.
The Emeryville cafe and diner closes after 20 years.
Google Images
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Early on Monday, August 8, fans of longtime Emeryville cafe and diner noticed Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe had closed — which, given the name, confused stalwart fans. The business posted on Facebook and Instagram not long after expected opening hours that, after 20 years in operation, the owners have decided to call it quits. No specific reason was given upon announcement.

Launched in 2002, the business was a late-night hang for many East Bay residents; losing the business is, in some ways, a sign of the times. Fans came to Rudy’s for the cheap shrimp tacos, indulgent dishes like Mr. Roadie’s Fish and Chips, and the Monster Chili Cheeseburger, all offered during expansive 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily hours.

The closure comes after the 2018 closure of the business’s Oakland location, which was attached to the Fox Theater. The cafe was nominated and awarded multiple times for Oakland Magazine’s Best Cafe award and won as recently as this year. Guy Fieri, TV host and political representative of Flavor Town, also dropped by in 2010. Famously, the cafe was named after Clash song “Rudie Can’t Fail” and is partially owned by Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt.

It’s unclear what will come into the space next, though the closing announcement indicated it was time to “pass the torch.” Before Rudy’s Can’t Fail took over the lease, the location spent 40 years as Eugene’s Ranch House, so a change of the guard is nothing new to the space — though tenures as long as these are nothing to balk at. Eater SF called the restaurant Monday morning but, probably given the whole “closed effective immediately” situation, no one was around to pick up the phone.