Guacamole 61, a Mexican taqueria and bar, closed the doors of its Center Street location last week, as first reported by Berkeleyside.
A Chinese restaurant has been approved to move into the 2142 Center St. space, Berkeleyside reported. Guacamole 61’s Shattuck Avenue location is still open.
Guacamole 61 was given the green light to open its second location on Center Street in February 2017. Just over a year later, rising rent prices and a decrease in foot traffic may have led to the closure of the second location, said Marco Gil, a nearby store employee and Berkeley resident.
“Maybe they raised the rent a little bit,” Gil said. “Guacamole 61 had a place that was way too big for the amount of traffic (it received).”
The owner of Guacamole 61 could not be reached for comment as of press time, and an employee at the Shattuck Avenue location declined to comment.
Gil added that Guacamole 61’s business most likely decreased when its neighbor, Sliver Pizzeria, relocated after its rent was doubled to nearly $400,000 a year.
“A lot of traffic that they got — Guacamole 61 — was from Sliver, so (customers) would go to Sliver and have dinner and then maybe go to Guacamole 61 to have drinks,” Gil said.
Gil added that although his place of work has not experienced any rent hikes, he has seen many businesses close on Center Street over the past two years.
UC Berkeley alumnus Miguel Velasquez said he was surprised and disappointed to find the Center Street location shuttered up. Only a sign in the restaurant’s window with Chinese characters and the words “China Center” offers any clues about what will come next.
“I think it’s a shame,” Velasquez said. “We would go here at least once a week in the beginning of the summer, watch the World Cup games, eat breakfast tortas. So it’s heartbreaking, to say the least.”