Well-loved Oakland restaurant The Kebabery to relocate to Berkeley in hopes of expanding business

photo of dinner spread at restaurant
Allison Hopelain/Courtesy
The Kebabery restaurant is closing its Oakland location this Sunday and is moving to 2929 Shattuck Ave. to explore business in Berkeley’s community.

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The Kebabery, a lively Oakland restaurant, has decided to relocate from its cozy Market Street location to 2929 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley, hoping to grow its menu and customer base.

Our goals are still to do the same things that we’ve always done — have community-based, delicious, healthy food,” said Brian Crookes, one of the three The Kebabery owners. “The new place is in a more discoverable location. It will allow us to grow and serve more people, and give ourselves more breathing room.”

According to Crookes, The Kebabery began as a casual sister eatery to Camino, a wood-fire restaurant owned by Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain. When Camino closed in 2018, the chefs focused their time on their specialized kebabery, serving a variety of meat and mushroom kebabs and spiced vegetable plates.

Crookes, Moore and Hopelain’s original goal was to keep the Oakland restaurant and spread to more locations, but the pandemic narrowed their options, according to Crookes. Instead, they decided to reopen exclusively at the Berkeley location, although they still have hopes for expanding the business in the future.

The owners chose the Berkeley location for its size and amenities — a side entrance and space would enable The Kebabery to grow its partnership with Sesame Tiny Bakery, a small pop-up business that had previously been operating minimally alongside The Kebabery.

Additionally, the new Berkeley space is two and a half times the size of the previous one, allowing the restaurant to produce at a higher volume and possibly explore catering opportunities. Crookes said the staff had prepared a few test dinners at the new restaurant and loved the welcoming atmosphere.

There’s a warmth to this new space, just as there was in the old space, which lends itself to everything from grabbing a quick bite by yourself to having dinner with 12 friends,” Crookes said. “It has a communal environment.”

Kebabs and flatbread will continue to be a staple at the new restaurant as Crookes plans to keep the original menu while taking advantage of the expanded space to experiment with new recipes. One such item is a tofu kebab, to go along with the lamb, chicken and mushroom courses currently available.

Rana Cho, a patron at The Kebabery, expressed her excitement for the business’s relocation. She’d been going to the restaurant since its opening, and during the pandemic, it’s become her go-to family takeout place.

The new space and permanent addition of Sesame Tiny Bakery has only added to the attraction of the restaurant for her, as she said she’s particularly fond of the seasonal, fruity desserts offered.

The Oakland Kebabery location will be closing July 18. The Berkeley location’s opening date has yet to be determined, but Crookes estimates that it will be in a few weeks from now.

“We’re sad to be moving out of our current place here, because we’ve been part of such a wonderful community,” Crookes said. “We’re looking forward to building a new and extended community in Berkeley.”

Contact Lianna Leung at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @LeungLianna.