Jack London Square happenings: Grocery Café to open, Haven temporarily closed

Tea leaf salad from Grocery Café. Photo: Benjamin Seto

More changes are afoot in Oakland’s Jack London Square.

Good news first: beloved Burmese restaurant Grocery Café, which closed late last year, will be making a comeback.

The original East Oakland location of restaurant, which made our favorite tea leaf salad in the East Bay, was shut down by a failed health inspection in November. Owner William Lue told the East Bay Express at the time that he would try to reopen in his original location once he made the necessary changes at the restaurant. That plan, however, did not pan out, because, as he later told EBX, the changes would have cost  close to $100,000.

Luckily, Lue, with the help of a frequent customer and Oakland developer, found a new space in the former Hahn’s Hibachi restaurant at 63 Jack London Sq. The new space is larger than Lue’s East Oakland digs, with 2,400 square feet of space, 100 indoor seats and charcoal grills in the kitchen. Its larger kitchen will give Lue the leeway to experiment with more unusual (at least to Westerners) Burmese dishes like durian and alligator stew. He also plans to add Burmese grilled meat skewers to the menu, which he had hoped but ultimately failed to do at his previous location.


According to EBX, Lue hopes to open sometime this spring.

The dining room at Haven after is last redesign in 2015. Photo: Alanna Hale

Nearby, the Daniel Patterson restaurant Haven is taking a break. The restaurant will close its doors — temporarily — starting Feb. 26.

Inside Scoop reported that the closure is due to an “unspecified construction project” and there is currently no timeline for reopening.

Eater SF speculates that there will be a significant conceptual revamp of the restaurant; it cited a Feb. 16 tweet from Patterson that reads: “Much love and respect for everyone who contributed their time and talents to Haven 1.0. Big plans for 2.0. More soon.”

This is the second time Haven has abruptly closed its doors for a revamp. It last did so in 2015, causing speculation that the restaurant had closed for good.


During this spring’s closure, Haven’s executive chef Matt Brimer will head over to San Francisco to help open a second location of Alta CA in the Minnesota Street Project.

We’ll keep you posted when we learn more.