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A sad goodbye to Oakland’s Jojo

December 6, 2008

I managed to miss the announcement just before Thanksgiving that Jojo, a small French restaurant that’s been at our end of Piedmont Avenue for almost a decade, is closing at the end of the year, a victim of the recession. It’s bittersweet news amidst all the hoopla around all the new places opening. We’ve only been to Jojo a couple of times, but it was lovely, and I often stop to “window shop” their menu as I’m walking along Piedmont. They serve a mix of French comfort food and more upscale French cuisine; the menu is comfortably consistent, with tweaks for seasonal produce and meats. (Ironically, that’s also one of the reasons we didn’t go more frequently: we knew, or at least we thought we did, that we’d be able to get the same deliciousness later—and now I feel terrible!) They do a mean steak if that’s your style and a good veggie bread pudding if it’s not, with fabulous wines and desserts. (If you can’t swing the cost of a full meal there, try stopping by in the later evening for dessert and coffee, which never disappoints.) They’re also some of the nicest people I know. We have a friend who was a regular there when he lived nearby and loved to start and end every meal with a plate of Jojo’s famous chocolate soufflé cake, usually having a steak in between the two; they never questioned it. The staff would also keep cans of a particular kind of soda cold for him even though they didn’t actually sell the stuff, because he didn’t drink and was particular about what he had in place of wine. I’ll miss their presence on Piedmont. Apparently someone has bought the space and it sounds like it will be another restaurant (though no details yet), but it just won’t be the same.

Jojo closes their doors for good after their annual New Year’s celebration, so you have until then to try them out before they’re gone forever. Don’t miss your chance!

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