Spiraling costs prompt Jayakarta, Berkeley’s only Indonesian restaurant, to close

Bakmi ayam campur (egg noodle soup) from Jayakarta Restaurant in Berkeley.
Bakmi ayam campur (egg noodle soup) from Jayakarta Restaurant. This dish is a common street food in North Jakarta. Photo: Jayakarta Restaurant/Facebook

Jayakarta Restaurant, Berkeley’s sole Indonesian-Singaporean eatery, will serve its last laksa and mie goreng this weekend. Owner Debi Jin confirmed that the restaurant at 2026 University Ave. will close after service on Saturday, Aug. 24.

Jin said he is closing Jayakarta because the cost of running a business in Berkeley is too high.

“We don’t make any money now,” he said. “Berkeley is too expensive. I cannot raise the prices. So many businesses have closed. Even 85°C closed. They cannot make it.”

Jayakarta Restaurant in Berkeley
Jayakarta Restaurant in Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

Jayakarta opened in 2005 on University Avenue, a short distance from the Cal campus, where it has been a go-to for many in the Indonesian community. On Yelp, the restaurant writes, “Our job is simply to bring you the most authentic cuisine you could find on the streets of the capital city of JAKARTA (Betawi) and nothing more. That’s it. We are not here to win awards for all-around best restaurant or best designed restaurant or best ambiance. If you want that… trust us… we’re not it.”


According to a 2006 East Bay Express review, Jayakarta was opened by industrious chef Irianti Jin (aka Mama Talen). Jin is Betawi (a member of Jakarta’s indigenous community), hailing from North Jakarta, where she started as a street food vendor. She later cooked at San Francisco restaurant Indonesia, before opening Jayakarta in Berkeley.

Jayakarta Restaurant’s remaining hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.