Cafe Ohlone Set to Reopen Permanently in March 2024 after Closing in May

By Gabby Annicchario

BERKELEY– Cafe Ohlone, the only Ohlone restaurant in existence, plans to reopen in March 2024 at its same location on Bancroft and College. 

 

In the summer of 2022, the first Ohlone restaurant opened outside the Hearst Museum of Anthropology. They closed down in May of 2023 with intentions to reopen, and have now set the date to open again this March. The restaurant will be located in the same outdoor space and will be under a new agreement with the university. 

 

Cafe Ohlone was originally opened with the hopes of creating a community gathering space for recognizing and celebrating the Ohlone people, an Indigenous tribe located in the East Bay. When a UC Berkeley anthropology professor declared the Ohlone people to be culturally extinct in 1925, it caused the Bureau of Indian Affairs to remove the Ohlone people’s federally recognized status. The owners of Cafe Ohlone are hoping to repair the rocky relationship between the Ohlone people and UC Berkeley through education. 

 

The new contract with the university will include their opening at the same location, operating on a seasonal basis and closing during the rainy season. The previous contract was operated by the Hearst Museum, but it will not be involved with Cafe Ohlone going forward. Cafe Ohlone management will work with the UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science and the owners, and the general manager will work as staff for Lawrence Hall. 

 

The co-owners Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino started Cafe Ohlone to share their culture through food, each meal including ingredients native to the East Bay. Every meal tells a story of Ohlone culture and represents different family memories and traditions. Following traditions for preparing and creating meals, their goal is to uphold and teach about their cultural practices. 

 

While open they also held language classes, cultural meetings, and food drop-offs for elders in the Ohlone community. Their goal is to not only be a restaurant but also a safe space for members of the Ohlone community. On Indigenous Peoples Day 2023, the owners announced they were working towards reacquisition and restoration of Ohlone land. 

 

Once reopened in March (exact date still being decided), Cafe Ohlone plans to be a permanent space open for occasional meals for the public which can be booked through reservations, as well as private meals and educational sessions. 

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