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Rudy’s Can’t Fail May Just Live Up to Its Name After All

Plus, a Portland brewery is set to open a taproom in Berkeley

The outside of a cafe in Emeryville. Google Images
Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

It was sad news for the longtime East Bay late-night scene when Rudy’s Can’t Fail announced its closure in early August. Yet, it seems that’s not quite the end of Rudy’s story. The E’ville Eye reports that a comeback is in the works for the restaurant, as three former employees are looking to resurrect the space under the Rudy’s name. General manager Doug Smith, along with head chef Guadalupe Rivera, and former sous chef Nelson Ortiz are grouping together to take over the restaurant and a lease for the Emeryville location is being finalized this week. A sign on the door says the trio expects to reopen in October with a menu featuring “many of our longtime customer favorites.” Maybe Rudy’s Can’t Fail won’t fail after all.

How many restaurant jobs were lost during the early pandemic?

We knew that the restaurant industry suffered during the pandemic, but now we have some hard numbers: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that between 2019 and 2021, about 55 percent of food service jobs in San Francisco were lost, going from 31,501 positions in 2019 down to 14,201 in 2021, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, things are rebounding slowly, but yes, there has been some job growth in that sector with a 14.7 percent increase in employment between August 2021 and August 2022.

Portland brewery puts down roots in Berkeley

It’s been two months since Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced the closure of its Berkeley taproom and restaurant, Torpedo Room, but already there’s some movement in that space — the San Francisco Business Times reports that Portland’s Great Notion is readying to move in. The Times caught the fact that Great Notion has applied for a liquor license for the space, although the beer company declined to comment.

Ugly Pickle Co. is no longer

Kayla Abe and David Murphy announced they will be shuttering Ugly Pickle Co., which utilized imperfect produce to make bread and butter pickles, roasted root hummus, and more. The brand had expanded to being sold at over 150 retail spots, including Berkeley Bowl and Good Eggs, but on Monday the duo (who is also behind Shuggie’s) said on Instagram they finally made the “difficult decision” to shut down the business. “As the smallest of family businesses, with just two of us working on the business part-time, plus the rising costs of everything over the past 2 years, we tragically did not see a sustainable future in this,” the post reads.