Andy & Joe’s closes down

According to Mike, there is a sign at Andy & Joe’s Restaurant saying that the restaurant is for sale or rent. I’m not surprised, as every time I walked by (and as it’s on my way downtown I walked by it a lot) it was empty or semi-empty. Alas, if they didn’t improve on their food, I’m not surprised. The restaurant business is hard and you need to offer a superior product to make it. If you do, like Le Soleil, staying alive shouldn’t be a problem.
I think there were a couple of other things that andy & joe’s did wrong (apart from offering mediocre food). One was to offer the same type of food that you can get at other established restaurants downtown. And it wasn’t a destination sort of food, like Vietnamese, Thai or Indian may be. The other was to not advertise widely at first. That’s when they need to get the word of mouth going. Putting flyers in area businesses and homes would have helped them. And finally, they priced their offerings too high.
The location may be a problem, too. This is the third restaurant in a row that fails there. The first one (since we’ve lived in San Leandro), Casa María #2 was closed down by the health department, briefly reopened afterwards, and then moved to a different (and one hopes cleaner) location. I haven’t been there again.
The second one started as Kolbeh, offered mediocre Mediterranean fair. Though I wished the owners well, their food just did not convince me. Apparently it didn’t convince others’ either, as they closed it and revamped it as a Mexican restaurant, Taqueria. They had a strange scheme, they served burritos and you paid $1 for each ingredient you wanted. That made a meat and guacamole burrito a bargain, but an “everything” burrito quite expensive. Alas, the pre-cooked meat wasn’t that great either. I was sorry to see them go, I liked the owners, but it was also inevitable.
And now Andy & Joe’s.
But alas, I don’t think the problem is the location. I think the problem is the mediocre food that all these restaurants are serving. And the lack of imagination. Do we need a burger place downtown? Ummm, no. Do we need another taqueria? Los Pericos practically has the whole San Leandro market. What we do need, if anyone is listening, is an INDIAN restaurant. There is one in Hayward, Favorite India, which delivers to San Leandro – but it’s not the same as having one here. Plus an Indian buffet would do well with the downtown business crowd.
And here is a radical idea, how about an Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant? As judged by who attends the library story time, San Leandro has a large Ethiopian and Eritrean population. That provides a built-in market for a restaurant. Add to that all the Berkeley-transplants who live here, and you have a winner. An Ethiopian restaurant could offer a killer lunch buffet as well.
A Persian restaurant could be a great addition, as well, though I’m less sure there is enough of a market for it.
But anyway, restaurant entrepeneurs take notice, here is a space you could turn into a good and much needed restaurant with some vision.
On a different note, I’ve learned there is a new Jamaican place in town, but when I went looking for it I didn’t find it (not surprising, given how I am). Friends ate there, though, and they liked it. I’m hoping to visit it soon and give you a report.

1 Comment

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One Response to Andy & Joe’s closes down

  1. Anonymous

    The Jamaican place is on the bock with Traders Sports, another ‘death
    spot’. They are from Sacramento and have a fabulous reputation up there.

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