Freehouse restaurant closes for the summer for kitchen renovations

FreeHouse
Audrey McNamara/Senior Staff

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Burger restaurant and pub Freehouse, located at  2700 Bancroft Way, is closed for the summer and undergoing kitchen renovations.

Freehouse, which first opened its doors in February 2012, officially closed in mid-June, according to restaurant owner Daryl Ross. He said he hopes to reopen the restaurant in August.

“We have a bunch of repair on beer lines and other stuff in the kitchen,” said Ross. “This was an opportune time to do it.”

With many students away from Berkeley during the summer interning, studying abroad or enjoying time off from school, many businesses in the city reduce their regular hours or even close temporarily in order to account for the significantly slower amount of business occurring every summer break.

“I would say we’re about 40 percent slower,” said Murtaza Zaidi, assistant store manager at Julie’s Cafe, a nearby cafe that serves Mediterranean cuisine. June and December, Zaidi noted, were its slowest months because of holiday breaks.

Over the summer, like many other cafes in the city such as the Musical Offering and Cafe Milano, Julie’s Cafe has reduced its operating hours to account for decreased customer traffic during school breaks. According to Zaidi, Julie’s Cafe is only opened Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during summer break.

The reduced opening hours of many businesses, however, may lead some students to be confused about hours of operations.

“It is a bit annoying, but it’s not a huge deal for me,” said Joy Liu, a rising campus senior who is spending her first summer in Berkeley. Liu added since most of the businesses here are dependent on students, she understands why they choose to reduce their operating hours.

With many local students away, the campus and city also become crowded with international students studying abroad and taking summer classes.

Zaidi notices a crowd of “new faces” every summer as foreign students come into the cafe, usually taking a longer time looking at the menu to decide what to order.

Although business undeniably takes a dip over the summer, the high-stress environment typically associated with the school year also seems to diminish.

“I love it here over the summer so much more because there’s not this high stress level,” said Liu. “I would love to live at Berkeley if I wasn’t a student here.”

Ross, who also owns the Free Speech Movement Cafe and Caffé Strada, said summer, nonetheless, is still a nice time because “it’s just more mellow and I think people feel more relaxed and able to hang out more and enjoy their coffee.”

Contact Roann Pao at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @roann_pao.