After nearly six years of service in Berkeley, Remy’s Mexican Restaurant on Haste Street has shut its doors, leaving behind questions about the cause and permanence of the closure.
Some community members speculated that the closure may be related to the restaurant’s recent citations for serving alcohol to minors. The restaurant was cited twice in recent months by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC, for serving alcohol to minors, according to John Carr, a spokesperson for ABC.
Remy’s was suspended from serving alcohol from Dec. 22 to Dec. 31 as a result of their alleged sale of alcohol to a minor Aug. 9. They later served a 25-day suspension between Jan. 1 and Jan. 25 for allegedly selling alcohol to a minor Sept. 24.
“Part of me wants to say I’m surprised (about the closure), but part of me isn’t surprised,” said campus junior Kevin Ji after learning that Remy’s had closed. “I never felt that they were struggling for business, but they never (seemed) super active like other student places. … They were always a bit more lowkey than that.”
Ji noted that while he had not noticed any change in the number of customers during his recent visits to Remy’s, he had heard from friends that the restaurant appeared less busy this semester on nights that it had normally been crowded.
Management from Remy’s could not be reached for comment.
Remy’s was formerly known as Mario’s La Fiesta and had an additional location on Telegraph Avenue. The restaurant made the move to its banquet room on Haste Street in April 2009 in an attempt to cut costs during the economic downturn.
Mario and Rosalinda Tejada, who had owned Mario’s La Fiesta since 1959, sold the restaurant to new management in 2011, and the location was renamed Remy’s Mexican Restaurant.
For Ji, after his first time visiting Remy’s as a sophomore with friends, the restaurant evolved into a spot where he could relax after a final or midterm with a burrito.
“I developed a personal affinity for Remy’s,” Ji said. “It had been kind of like this familiar comfortable experience for me. I’m kind of sad that I won’t be able to do that anymore.”
Remy’s had also served as the weekly dinner spot for FoCUS at Cal, the undergraduate ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley.
“We always had a great experience,” said Ryan Pemberton, the minister for university engagement at the church. “(It was a) good environment for us. We love Remy’s.”
Pemberton said he had heard about Remy’s recent citations for serving alcohol to minors and rumors that the restaurant would be closed for a short time, but that it would eventually reopen.
“They’ve always served us very well,” Pemberton said. “We’re hoping to see them open again soon.”