Mongolian barbecue closes after 28 years, along with other Bay Area restaurant closings in December

As part of our ongoing reporting on local restaurant closures, here is a list of establishments in the Bay Area that have closed or will close by the end of December 2021 (one establishment closes January 1). Notable shutters include Hong Kong-style Richmond District Restaurant, Ken Kee Cafe, Santa Clara’s El Camino Mongolian BBQ, and Lafayette Millie’s Kitchen Breakfast Mainstay. See the list of November closures here.

Santa Clara’s Favorite Mongolian barbecue El Camino closed on December 15 after a period of several decades. SFGATE first reported the shutdown (SFGATE and The San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently.) Owners John and Sunny Seo cited the financial slowdown from the pandemic as the reason for the shutdown. The couple are considering returning to their native South Korea and are hoping someone else will reopen the facility. The restaurant had been around since 1993, but traded hands several times before the Seos took it over in 2005. The barbecue spot was known for its noodle bowls and crispy spring rolls.

Richmond neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco Ken Kee Cafe will close permanently on December 31. The owners have posted a sign advising customers of the closure. Diners frequented the restaurant for its Hong Kong-style comfort food, like baked rice and noodle dishes with pork chops and beef.

Little Sichuan closed in downtown San Mateo in September. In a sign outside the Chinese restaurant, the owners said the COVID-19 pandemic was the reason for the closure.

Motorcycle-themed San Francisco cafe Cafe Lambretta permanently closed in December. The cafe announced it on Instagram and ended its run with a closing night on December 12.

Brunch destination Battery closed its Hayes Valley outpost, as Hoodline first reported. The restaurant has been closed since the start of the pandemic and has never reopened. The Gastropub le Brixton is now ready to take possession of the space. Stacks locations remain open at Burlingame and Menlo Park.

Mill Valley Mexican Restaurant Parranga closed. The restaurant made the announcement on Instagram and served its last meal on December 19. The owners haven’t ruled out a return in the future and have asked diners to watch the ads on their Instagram. The restaurant was known for its dishes like roast chicken, fish tacos and churros.

Borrone Market Bar, owners of the Menlo Park Cafe Borrone institution, is officially no longer. A sign for sale is displayed in the shop window of the El Camino Real company. Borrone Marketbar was born as a restaurant in 2014, closed temporarily and then reopened during the pandemic as a market with fresh pasta, prepared salads and Italian products. The Borrone cafe remains open next door.

After 46 years, the basic Lafayette breakfast Millie’s kitchen closed, as the Marin Independent Journal first reported. Owner Eva Clement has decided to retire, according to a note posted on the restaurant door. Millie Harris opened the restaurant in 1975, serving recipes inspired by her grandmother’s cooking. Clément, a longtime employee, bought it in 2014. The restaurant was known for dishes like French toast, Santa Fe scrambled, and Eggs Benedict. Clément mentioned in his closing note that it would be possible for a new owner to sue the business.

The mainstay of Mission District brunch Universal coffee closed after 27 years. Chef and owner Leslie Carr-Avalos told The Chronicle that the restaurant’s lease had expired and she had not been able to negotiate a new favorable deal. The downturn in business caused by the pandemic had also made it difficult to continue operations. The restaurant was known for its dishes like scrambled eggs for brunch and handmade pasta for dinner.

Hawaiian import Coconut Fish Coffee closed after four years in Cupertino. The East Bay Times first reported the closure, noting that owner Michael Phillips had said it was prohibitively expensive to continue doing business in California. The restaurant is mainly known for its fish tacos. Outposts in Maui, Kauai and Scottsdale, Arizona remain open.

Los Altos cocktail and farm-to-table pop-up House on the first floor will finish its race on January 1st. The project was a pandemic hub for the team behind the local Amandine Project lounge bar. The team decided to refocus their efforts on the cocktail bar in this new year.

European charcuterie the junk ends a 42-year run at El Cerrito on December 30. The establishment was known for its sandwiches, food imported from Germany and Great Britain, and draft beers from those countries.

Chronicle editor Elena Kadvany contributed reporting.

Tanay Warerkar is the associate food and wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @TanayWarerkar

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