Fivetenburger owner opens Handlebar in Berkeley

Robles poses in his new kitchen. Photo: Charles Siler

Roland Robles in the kitchen of Handlebar, his new restaurant on University Avenue in West Berkeley. Photo: Charles Siler

Fans of food truck favorite Fivetenburger rejoice: mustachioed restauranteur Roland Robles’ new project Handlebar opened last night at 984 University Ave., between Eighth and Ninth streets, in West Berkeley.

Robles, who is the owner and head chef of Fivetenburger, opened the restaurant, which is licensed as a full bar, with his partner Jennifer Seidman. Seidman owns Acme Bar & Company at 2115 San Pablo Ave, a half mile away.

“We want it to feel like a bar,” said Robles. “We want you to have a good time here.”

Handlebar is at xxx University Avenue in West Berkeley. Photo: Bill Newton

Handlebar is at 984 University Avenue in West Berkeley. Photo: Bill Newton

Currently the restaurant is serving a limited menu that includes burgers, macaroni and cheese, a salad and a small dessert. Robles said that, though he plans to expand the choices, Handlebar’s offerings will always be simple.

“I came up in restaurants where everybody was trying to do as much confusing shit as possible, and I just never got into it. I think we should make it easy for the customer to come in and have a beer and something to eat.”

After the success of Fivetenburger, which has a 4-star rating on Yelp and has won a variety of awards, Robles is stepping into the arena of brick-and-mortar restaurants. He thinks Handlebar will be a welcome addition to a neighborhood where, he says, good bar food is rare.

“We felt like this area was lacking a place that we like to go to. Because we love going to her bar to hang out, but there’s no food… We wanted a place where we could spend a few hours having a good time and then have some food.”

Robles will continue to run the Fivetenburger truck as well as the new restaurant. Tonight at Handlebar he says he plans on serving chicken and sauteéd greens. Follow him on Twitter and check out the Fivetenburger website.

Handlebar is at 984 University Ave. between Eighth and Ninth streets (not, as Google Maps indicates, between Fifth and Sixth streets.)

Charles Siler is a summer intern at Berkeleyside. He grew up in the North Bay and now attends Tulane University in New Orleans. He can be reached at

Food trucks expand to bricks and mortar (03.04.13)

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  • ttractor

    I don’t think I could eat even a “small desert.”

  • Yasmine Franco

    Is it a Restaurant with Full Bar or is it a Bar with Food??? Just don’t want to show up with my kid and be bummed about not being able to go in… With that said I think this is an awesome idea.. I think we need this in the neighborhood

  • bonne_sante

    How exciting! I saw the marquee this morning for the first time and was delighted to see that something opening up on this side of town. Now I’m way happier to find it’s a gastropub! I’ll definitely check it out this weekend. Best of luck to Roland and his team :)

  • bonne_sante

    I didn’t mean to exclude Sarah! Best of luck to both Roland, Sarah, and their team :)

  • Oh, go on, I dare you! Seriously, thanks for spotting that typo. Now fixed!

  • Start with a sandwich


  • David D.

    Good question! I hope it is a bar with food, as Berkeley is already overrun with restaurants with bars. Between this, Acme, and the Albatross, I might be able to convince my friends to come to Berkeley for once instead of me going to Oakland.

  • guest

    Handlebar has a license type “47”

    the sale of beer, wine and distilled
    spirits for consumption on the licenses premises. Authorizes the sale of beer and wine for consumption off
    the licenses premises. Must operate and maintain the
    licensed premises as a bona fide eating place. Must
    maintain suitable kitchen facilities, and must make actual and substantial sales of meals for consumption on the premises. Minors are allowed on the premises

  • Bill N

    The wooden back bar is still there and still quite beautiful

  • Jahoed

    I was there tonight with the kids. Plenty of families. Turns adults-only at 8pm.

  • bondolo


  • David D.

    Thanks for the heads up about the Google Maps address error. I used the Google Map Maker service to update all the block numbers on University Avenue between the train station and 9th Street, so Google Maps should display correct addresses starting in the near future.

  • Taree

    Front of the article you say its between 9th and 10th. Then at the end you say its between 8th and 9th. Clearly given the address its between 9th and 10th Not a big deal if you hadn’t dissed Google.


  • Taree Lyn

    Except he screws it up too. At the end he says between 8th and 9th and at the beginning 9th and 10th. I couldnt locate it but now that I now its the old Temple Bar location Ill swing by.