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Maoz Vegetarian Berkeley closing this week.

chocolatetartguy Jun 12, 2012 06:42 PM

Just ran into the very friendly manager today and he told me that Friday would be their last day of business. Their business had fallen dramatically since UC let out at the beginning of the month.

If you never went there, you missed out on very crispy, mild falafel balls, roasted cauliflower, sweet red beets and spicy cilantro sauce. at bargain prices.

I guess it will be back to Sunrise for me.

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    hyperbowler RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 12, 2012 07:16 PM

    That really surprises me. You'll find me at Holy Land in Elmwood ...

    1 Reply
    1. re: hyperbowler
      chocolatetartguy RE: hyperbowler Jun 12, 2012 07:51 PM

      Me too, but evidently the rent was astronomical and neither the fire across the street nor the construction on Channing helped their business.

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      abstractpoet RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 12, 2012 08:35 PM

      That is sad. One of my favorites. I wonder if there's any chance they might pop up somewhere else in the East Bay. The fact that they were on campus actually deterred me from going more often, since I never wanted to deal with the hassle of parking, etc.

      4 Replies
      1. re: abstractpoet
        sydthekyd RE: abstractpoet Jun 12, 2012 08:55 PM

        Yes, very sorry to hear that but we could sure use you here in West Berkeley!

        1. re: abstractpoet
          drewskiSF RE: abstractpoet Jun 12, 2012 11:12 PM

          I'd be doubtful on pop-up. They were an international restaurant franchise location.

          1. re: drewskiSF
            abstractpoet RE: drewskiSF Jun 12, 2012 11:49 PM

            Oh, I just meant reemerge somewhere else...not literally as a "pop-up". =)

            1. re: abstractpoet
              drewskiSF RE: abstractpoet Jun 13, 2012 02:08 AM

              I need to work on my Aspergers ;-)

        2. drewskiSF RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 12, 2012 11:10 PM

          Eh. Maoz never impressed me.

          Sunrise has more consistently good falafel. Fa-La-La had much better pita. Their lemonade & iced tea in the cooler were pre-made with ice making them watery when I tried them.

          I did like the toppings bar.

          1. majordanby RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 12, 2012 11:24 PM

            sad to see it go. despite the potential for good business with such a large work and student population nearby, it seems like there are plenty of businesses that come in and out around that telegraph area. i thought that the fact that maoz is a chain would help. thought they had the best falafels -although i agree that fa la la had a much better pita (another casualty).

            1. hill food RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 13, 2012 12:30 AM

              the Maoz branch in DC recently closed too. wonder if they're closing the US operations.

              1 Reply
              1. re: hill food
                abstractpoet RE: hill food Jun 13, 2012 11:44 AM

                I think it's just individual franchise owners deciding to close. In the case of the Berkeley Maoz, I heard that there are new owners who decided they want to open something else in that location.

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                ZakiKabobhouse RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 13, 2012 07:37 PM

                Bad news :( My heart skipped a beat when I saw this in my email. I tried that place when I first opened my restaurant.

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                  thebestlinda RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 14, 2012 09:36 PM

                  It's too bad they never decided to go kosher like some of their other locations. They would have had a steady stream of faithful customers outside of the student set. Word to Berkeley Restaurants, especially vegetarian or dairy restaurants, there is no kosher restaurant in berkeley. If you want a faithful, reliable batch of customers, many with families that need take out, etc. think about going kosher.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: thebestlinda
                    hill food RE: thebestlinda Jun 14, 2012 10:46 PM

                    not a bad idea.as vegan/vegetarian K wouldn't be all that difficult. rules yes but then everything has them.

                    1. re: thebestlinda
                      drewskiSF RE: thebestlinda Jun 14, 2012 11:43 PM

                      Sounds good in theory. There are not insubstantial costs to go Kosher. At least when I asked, The Holy Land folks said it's a major reason why Elmwood isn't, though Lakeshore is.

                      1. re: drewskiSF
                        milklady RE: drewskiSF Jun 18, 2012 10:17 AM

                        My understanding is that costs are signicantly higher for certifiying the kashrut of a meat restaurant (which needs near-constant supervision), like Holy Land, than a dairy restaurant.

                      2. re: thebestlinda
                        Robert Lauriston RE: thebestlinda Jun 15, 2012 10:23 AM

                        There weren't enough Berkeley residents who cared about that enough to keep Raphael in business.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          ZakiKabobhouse RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 15, 2012 10:43 AM

                          Is "halal" an alternative to Kosher?

                          1. re: ZakiKabobhouse
                            Robert Lauriston RE: ZakiKabobhouse Jun 15, 2012 11:40 AM

                            Not for people who will eat only at kosher restaurants.

                            1. re: ZakiKabobhouse
                              hill food RE: ZakiKabobhouse Jun 15, 2012 06:04 PM

                              somewhat similar in idea but not at all the same for those to whom it matters. a parallel in a way but different.

                            2. re: Robert Lauriston
                              milklady RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 18, 2012 10:16 AM

                              True, but Raphael also had other challenges (such as being closed on Sundays, if I recall, which is when many kosher consumers eat out, consistently making major mistakes on takeout orders, etc.). I really liked Raphael and still miss it. I think that to have a kosher restaurant with crossover appeal, it is critical to have excellent service and keep costs reasonable.

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                            thebestlinda RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 15, 2012 04:12 PM

                            Interesting replies.

                            Here is my read (with a little inside knowledge).
                            First - I think Rafael died (sadly, because I really loved them) due to a flawed business model, not because of the costs of kosher or lack of kosher community wanting to support. They assumed they would attract a second turnover at dinner, which kosher families were not providing and which is hard to achieve in early closing Berkeley. Second, they were too high end and high priced. Though they deserved their prices, it was too much for families to eat there regularly.

                            A better alternative would be a more mid-scale existing veggie or dairy place like Udupi Palace, or the veggie Thai place on Shattuck, or Maoz if they were still around, though I think the kosher market is saturated right now with middle eastern food. Or if someone wanted to open a vegetarian Chinese place that was good and didn't serve non-kosher fish. Shangri La in SF has been kosher for some time, and gets lots of community support. It is reasonably good and well-priced.

                            I have also heard from reputable sources that there may be orthodox rabbis around outside the Vaad, who are not always easy to work with, who would be willing to provide free to inexpensive supervision. However, the restaurants would still have to pay whatever costs may be associated with kashering and purchasing new utensils.

                            I wish Halal meant the same as kosher, but it doesn't. Halal is less strict, hence more Halal restaurants.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: thebestlinda
                              ZakiKabobhouse RE: thebestlinda Jun 15, 2012 09:23 PM

                              I think the fire on Telegraph had a lot to do with the closing of Moaz. It was a young business in the very volatile and risky and some times unprofitable opening stages of the first few years (franchise or otherwise). The fire was the perfect storm as they probably didn't have enough cash to hold them over for the decrease in traffic as Telegraph recovered. I agree with Linda here I dont think it was a lack of community support for Kosher. Holy Land has been open for years.

                              1. re: ZakiKabobhouse
                                drewskiSF RE: ZakiKabobhouse Jun 16, 2012 09:43 AM

                                Holy Land has been open for many years, but the College Ave location is not Kosher. See note about lack of rabbinical supervision on their website

                              2. re: thebestlinda
                                Robert Lauriston RE: thebestlinda Jun 16, 2012 09:57 AM

                                You could get some investors together and approach an existing restaurant about going kosher.

                                Seems like vegetarian Chinese or Japanese might be the cheapest to kosherize since there's already no meat or dairy.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  hill food RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 16, 2012 06:12 PM

                                  I don't know all the rules but one has to wonder if it's easier to go K from the ground up rather than retro-fix it.

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                                ZakiKabobhouse RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 16, 2012 06:50 PM

                                I just heard (unconfirmed) that the owner of the Turkish Kitchen on Shattuck will take over the Moaz space, dont know what the concept will be.. probably Turkish.

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