Burger Depot on Solano Ave to close after 35 years

David and Daisy Cheng have announced plans to retire and close a Solano Avenue institution. Photo: Kady Rachlin
David and Daisy Cheng have announced plans to retire and close a Solano Avenue institution. Photo: Kady Rachlin

A family-run burger shop and ice cream parlor that’s been a fixture on Solano Avenue for 35 years is closing its doors at the end of the night Saturday, July 11.

David and Daisy Cheng said, in a note posted Tuesday at the restaurant, they have decided it’s time “to retire and enjoy life.”

Their daughter, Kady Rachlin, said Thursday that her parents had been entertaining the idea of retirement for some time, but had not set a firm date. 

“It’s hard to say goodbye to people, and also so hard to say goodbye to something that’s such a big part of their life,” said Rachlin.


Her father, who is 68, made the decision last week that the time had come.

“My dad, he just said, ‘OK, we are going to retire.’ And my mom was like, ‘When?'” said Rachlin. “He was like, ‘Next week.’ My mom said, ‘What? We need time to prepare!’ And adjust to the idea.”

Added Rachlin: “For my dad, he hasn’t said it, but I think it’s hard for him to draw out the goodbye.”

Rachlin said, throughout her life, both of her parents have worked six days a week at the restaurant. At times, the couple has had employees, particularly when Rachlin and her brother were younger and needed a closer eye, and rides home from the shop after school. One parent would drive the children home, while the other stayed until 10 p.m. to close up.

But, since the 90s, both parents have worked full-time at the restaurant, taking off just one day a week for errands, housework and family time.

“They spend more time here than they do at home,” said Rachlin, speaking from the phone at the burger shop. “Chores, family time, how much can you do in one day?”

The couple, who lives in Richmond, will now have more time to spend with their two grandchildren, and be able to have more time for themselves.

Customers have begun posting goodbye notes on a poster outside Burger Depot. Photo: Kady Rachlin
Customers have begun posting goodbye notes on a poster outside Burger Depot. Photo: Kady Rachlin

When the couple first immigrated from Hong Kong more than 35 years ago, they rented a home in Albany and opened Burger Depot on Solano Avenue. They fell in love with the area and thought it would be a perfect place to raise their children.

Rachlin said for her, too, saying goodbye has been emotional.

“Growing up here, all my schoolmates came here after school,” she said. “We’d hang out, play video games, do our homework. This place holds a lot of memories. And for our customers, too.” 

Customers praise the business’ friendly service, reasonable prices, wide selection of burgers and hot dogs, and ice-cream flavors that can’t be found elsewhere. Said one recent Yelper, Lisa C., “David and Daisy (the owners) are simply the best!!!  They know most of their customers by name, and visiting there is literally like going HOME.”

Rachlin described the shop’s customers as part of the family.

“Everybody knows David and Daisy,” she said. “All their customers are like family, really close friends of the family.”

But she said she’s happy her parents will have more free time.

“I’m looking forward to having them around more, being able to do something with them during the week,” said Rachlin. “I’m really happy that they’re going to have more time for themselves.”

Burger Depot will shut its doors for the last time at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 11. Stop by the shop, at 1116 Solano Ave., between San Pablo and Kains avenues.

Related:
Oscar’s to close after 65 years in Berkeley (05.26.15)
Best burgers in the East Bay: Nosh readers call it (07.14.14)

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