February 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

A Berkeley café featured on the “Today” show will close its doors after 45 years

A Berkeley café featured on the “Today” show will close its doors after 45 years

A cook works behind the line at Homemade Cafe in Berkeley, which will close on January 1, 2024.

Jesse R. Via Yelp/Courtesy

A Berkeley cafe that became a national news story for its free breakfast tickets is closing its doors after 45 years. The Homemade Cafe, which opened in 1979 at the corner of Sacramento Street and Dwight Road, will serve its last breakfast on Jan. 1.

“It is unfortunate and a great disappointment that we have to close. It is financially impossible for us to remain open.” “The cafe wrote on its Facebook page. “In today’s economics, running a small, locally-owned, full-service restaurant that serves homemade food from high-quality ingredients, at reasonable and relatively reasonable prices, while valuing its employees and refusing to pay less than a living wage, seems unattainable.”

Colin Doran bought the café in 2011 and offered an “Everyone Eats” free breakfast to people who couldn't afford a meal. Customers who donate $5 receive a “Free Food” ticket posted on the bulletin board, which gives away two eggs in any form, potatoes, toast and coffee to the hungry. Politics became national news, earning the café a profit Features of the “Today” program. And the Washington Post.

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“On days when tickets are sold out, we still offer free meals anyway.” Duran told the newspaper. “No one should go hungry. It's the right thing to do.”

But even national acclaim wasn't enough to save the restaurant. a GoFundMe To help Homemade Cafe, Duran said he “invested more than $200,000 of his savings over the past two years to keep the business going,” and when employees faced a “closure,” they “unequivocally volunteered to take a 20% pay cut.”

“We have survived big and strong, but the last few months have not been kind, with expenses for everything constantly going up every month by 5% to 10%,” the GoFundMe post said.

Duran announced Friday on Facebook that Homemade Cafe will close its doors permanently in the new year.

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“Monday will be our last day to serve breakfast all day, with no reservations, our last time to prepare and serve all the delicious, soul-satisfying meals in our group with all the love and care we can muster,” the post read. “We will no longer be able to welcome you as if you were a beloved family member, but you will always be in our hearts and with memories to cherish for a lifetime.”

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