Seafood lovers were left scrabbling at a locked front door at one of the East Bay’s most venerable institutions Wednesday, a misspelled note pasted to the glass attesting to permanent closure of Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto.
Spenger’s, located in the heart of Berkeley’s Fourth Street Shopping District and a go-to for seafood lovers since it opened in 1890, was a favorite haunt of first-daters, businessmen dining on their expense accounts, and locals alike who favored it for its nautical motif and deep commitment to seafood “from the Pacific Rim, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.”
Deals were made over lobster dinners in its darkened back rooms and everyone who was anyone in town – and maybe not anyone at all – hung out there at one time or another.
A recent ownership transfer and changes to the neighborhood apparently led to a breakdown in quality and food service, according to reviews recently posted to social media.
If true and as permanent as it sounds, the restaurant’s closure leaves a deep wound in the hearts of local seafood lovers.