Phil’s Sliders to close, will be replaced by Comal expansion

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Phil’s Sliders on 2024 Shattuck Avenue will close its doors July 1 after six years in business, according to restaurant owner Hugh Groman. The owners neighboring modern Mexican restaurant Comal will expand into the space.

Plans for the expansion are not set in stone, according to Comal co-owner Andrew Hoffman. He said, however, they are planning for the new space to be separate from Comal, with a different menu and more of a fast-casual, daytime set-up.

“We really like the idea of doubling down in Berkeley,” Hoffman said. “We’ve been looking to expand our operations and this became available, and seeing as how it’s right next door, the advantages of the location were too hard to pass up.”

As for Phil’s Sliders, according to Groman, though the Shattuck location will be shutting down, this is not the last of the sliders. Phil’s will be focusing on catering from now on, becoming the third of Groman’s catering companies with the other two being Hugh Groman Catering and Greenleaf Platters.

“People can still get their fix of Phil’s Sliders if they need to,” Groman said. The restaurant is already dropping off sliders at offices, birthday parties and other events, he added.

In addition, Groman plans to launch a mobile form of Phil’s Sliders in the next month, which will set up a pop-up tent to cook onsite for outdoor events.

“I’m sorry to be disappointing people,” Groman said. “But I’m excited about the catering option.” He added that it has become almost impossible to make a profit in the restaurant business nowadays.

Diana Lui, co-owner of nearby cafe Asha Tea House, said she was sad to hear Phil’s is closing.

“With things like minimum wage going up and the cost of materials, it’s not easy but it’s not surprising for us to hear,” she said. “It’s obviously sad because I think Berkeley is known for having small businesses … it’s a little harder these days.”

Brendan Pritikin, a customer at Phil’s and Berkeley native, said he was surprised to hear the restaurant was closing.

“It’s kind of a unique concept, and it’s easy and quick,” Pritikin said. “It’s one of my go-to spots when I’m home.”

He said he had noticed a distinct transformation in the landscape of Berkeley businesses over the years, particularly when Andronico’s Community Markets was bought by Safeway in 2016.

Despite many small Berkeley businesses going under in recent years, Lui said she feels Berkeley is a very “thriving and supportive community” to new businesses.

“Comal has been here pretty much as long as we have, and they’ve really done a good job bringing more business to this area,” she said. “It’s exciting to see what they’ll do with this space.”

Contact Madeline Wells at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @madwellsdc.