Sunrise Deli closes its Berkeley shop after almost 15 years

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Sunrise Deli, a family operated business that has served the Bay Area since 1984, closed its Berkeley location to the public April 6.

Co-owned by a couple and their son, Sunrise Deli’s Berkeley location has been open since 2005.  The restaurant picked up “numerous awards” and made “the best quality Middle Eastern cuisine” in the Bay Area using the “freshest” and “finest quality” of ingredients, according to Sunrise Deli’s website.

Some items on its menu included its signature round sesame bread, spinach pies, Armenian and Thyme pizzas and baked sweets. According to the website, the deli uses “handpicked ingredients from highest quality local farms.” Sunrise Deli is also committed to not serving frozen or prepackaged food, according to its website.

Sunrise Deli co-owner Khaled Ramadan said that his mother, Linda Erakat, was the main person who ran the Berkeley location and that she was always on “top of things.” Although it was a “great success over the years,” Ramadan said that it was no longer feasible to operate the deli in its continued manner, thus, the family decided to close the deli’s Berkeley location.

The store, now closed, displayed a letter in its front window written by Erakat stating, “Thank you for the many years of allowing us to be part of your campus community. From the moment we opened this location, we felt right at home.”

Ramadan mentioned that in January, Erakat was diagnosed with breast cancer and although he expects her to make a full recovery, it was a factor in her decision to retire.

According to Ramadan, however, the decision to close mainly stemmed from Erakat’s desire to spend more time with her family.

Almost 15 years later and 3 grandchildren older, I feel this is the best time to say goodbye,” said Erakat’s written sign. “As a minority woman it’s very rare to go out on your own terms, but I am proud to say that I have.”

Sunrise Deli continues to operate and deliver out of its Irving Street location in the Sunset District, mainly taking larger orders from Oakland, Emeryville and East Bay clients that it has accumulated over the years.

Ramadan mentioned that the business also remains active in its food truck operation on First Fridays in Oakland.

“I was wondering why they hadn’t been open when I came by, but I just thought I missed them,” said Lauren McKinney, a previous customer and campus senior, who added that the deli had really good falafel and recalled how she would go in and buy about a half dozen of falafels between classes.

According to Ramadan, the store located on Bancroft Way was sold to a restaurant called i Pizza which also has a location in Newark.

Sarah Chung covers business and economy. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sarahchungdc.