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Banchero's Closing: Patch Readers' Reactions, Memories

Have you dined at Banchero's in the past 63 years it was in business? Share some of your memories, photos and well-wishes of this East Bay Italian eatery, which closed its doors for good on Monday.

After Castro Valley Patch announced , an overwhelming amount of readers began to share their memories and reminisce of times spent at the iconic East Bay eatery.

Located at 20102 Mission Blvd. in Hayward's unincorporated Cherryland, Banchero's closed its doors for good on Monday. It served countless diners family-style Italian favorites since 1948.

Second-generation owner John Banchero Jr. told Patch it was time for the place to close, not only because it was hit by the recession like many businesses, but also because he was looking to retire and spend more time with his family.

Many readers shared their memories on and Facebook page.

One reader even went to lengths to create a Facebook fan page urging folks to share their memories in hopes of having Banchero reopen his doors. She said she will sorely miss the restaurant's scalone — a combination of scallops and abalone pounded into a "steak of sorts" and then breaded and cooked "just so," according to Catalina Garcia-Quick.

"Hands down Banchero's has/had THE BEST in the area," she said.

From the scalone to the minestra soup (their version of a minestrone soup), readers voiced meals their tummies will grately miss.

Here are a few of those dishes, along with some of our other favorite heartfelt memories shared by various readers, many of whom have been dining to Banchero's for decades:

Nancy D. — Crazy as this is, I recently met someone who now lives in New York City while I was on a trip in Tennessee. She said she used to date someone from Hayward and the one thing she remembered most about Hayward was Banchero's.

David Ashton (of CVLegends) — So, how about we at least get the recipe for the soup, now that they're closing and it doesn't need to be a closely guarded secret?

Ken D. — I've literally been eating at this restaurant for 45 years and still loved to go there every time I was in town. Also, they had the best minestrone soup in the world! Thank you for all the memories and great eating.

Dominic P. — I am dishearten to hear that this ICON is closing... sign of the times, too much fast food and no time for family eateries.

Amy S. — My Italian born grandfather (1885-1977) used to like eating there. We went there for my high school graduation dinner in 1973.

I have been coming here for over 20 years with my mother and my own family. I will miss the fried chicken dinner for sure... and of course the spumoni. Thanks for many years of great food Banchero Family. You will surely be missed!

Carol P. — Shock and sadness. A huge part of my childhood was spent waiting for a table at Banchero's in its hey day in the 1950s through the 1960s. But the wait was always worth it. Huge portions, friendly service, good food at the right price point for Hayward at the time.

Nancy P. — My husband will be 80 in December and he goes to Bancheros for his birthday dinner every year... this was to be a special one... We are so sad.

DJ R. — Five generations of my family have been able to enjoy your wonderful meals. You will truly be missed by all! Thank you for being part of my family all of these years.

Christine W. — We took visiting family to Banchero's when my son was just 4 days old. I love their soup, scalone, garlic bread, potatoes, anchovies and everything else on the menu.

Janice F. — Although my husband and I moved away from Hayward in the mid -90s, Banchero's will always be a part of our histories. I went there as a child in the early '50s with my family, driving out from Oakland. We moved back to Hayward in 1963 and Banchero's was always a frequent option for a dinner out, regardless of the wait time. I can't imagine that building being anything else.

Kathi H. — I will add that I am 51 and remember many celebrations, get together, and hanging in the bar (best Bloody Mary's); when our family moved to Ceres and I commuted, Friday nights I picked up dinner and brought it home with the garlic bread in the trunk (otherwise it would not make it home).

Patti — Wow... what a shock... many people don't know that under all the facade is a Quonset Hut like many older buildings on Mission Blvd and E 14th St ... most of them came from the closing of the Oakland shipyards. and how do I know, cause I've been going there most of my life and remember when the hut was more visible than it is now.

DeAnne H. — I lived in the area for 45 years (raised in the Ashland area) and moved to North Dakota two years ago (where my husband is originally from). I have many family memories there. I remember going to Banchero's when I was 4 years old and that was 1969! In fact, we had my going-away dinner at Banchero's before we moved.

John P. — I was born the year it opened and my parents first meal after my birth was during its first weeks of operation. Less then a year later I was in tow freshly baptized with our first family outing at Banchero's, with hundreds that followed. I may have moved throughout the Bay Area, but I always found time to stop for dinner, or pick it up to go on my way home, enjoying a cocktail until it was ready. Five generations of us have enjoyed the family style offerings, and to think I will not enjoy another Banchero's Ravioli, or dip a slice of garlic bread into a bowl of its parmesan laden soup truly brings a tear to my eye. I really felt I would leave this Earth before the demise of this institution, thank you for so many great memories.

Christina M. — So sad to hear the news. I have gone to Banchero's with my family since birth (1979) and still frequent even if it is just to get raviolis and garlic bread on Tuesdays. There is nowhere else as good, the East Bay has lost a true gem.

Jacqueline V. — I live in Redding and I have gone to our family's favorite spot for 20+ years, and still made a point to go there every time I was in the bay, even got my fiance to love it.. I am truly sad over this news.

Dick M. — First went to Banchero's in 1952 when my family lived in Hayward. Had my first date with my wife of 45 years there because it was the only restaurant I knew. Announced the impending births to family there for all four of our children. Had our 25th anniversary at the same table as our first date with all our children. and celebrated many birthdays there.

Mary K. — The end of an era. The best garlic bread in the world! Banchero's will be missed.

Share some of your memories in the comments section below! Have a photo of a family gathering at Banchero's or photos of your favorite dish? Upload them directly to our photo gallery above by clicking the "Upload Photos and Videos" button.

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Pam June 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM
How about that dressing?!?!? Oh my gosh! Recipe??? Pleeeaaassseee!?!? ;)
chris wilson June 25, 2012 at 11:25 PM
I can't remember life before Banchero's. My mom, Blanche Cole, was a waitress, Dad was a bartender and my Hungarian grandpa, Frank Terdik, washed dishes. Our family holiday photos usually pictured my mom in her long skirt, white blouse and apron since she was headed for work. They worked hard but also had fun. My mom once slipped a chicken foot into another server's apron. When she reached for her pad of paper she let out quite a scream. Mom got in a bit of trouble for that! By the way, chicken feet are secret ingredient that give the minestrone soup it's wonderful flavor! I am the same age as John Banchero, Jr. so the adults teased us about getting married some day. I think they liked to see me blush! I loved the food and always requested to go there for my birthday. Mom was embarrassed to have her friends serve her so she wasn't thrilled about my choice. I chose the restaurant as the site for my engagement party. (Not to John, Jr.!) Over the years John and his partner never forgot who we were. Banchero's was a culture in itself.
jFilograsso July 03, 2012 at 02:03 AM
most people may think me strange, but i loved the swiss chard the best - loved everything but that was my fav! my family and my husbands family both grew up going there. I REALLY THINK THEY SHOULD PUT OUT A BANCHERO'S COOKBOOK - WOULD SELL LIKE HOTCAKES - I WOULD BUY AT LEAST ONE COPY FOR ME AND ONE FOR MY GRANDMA AND ONE FOR MY MOTHER-IN-LAW!!!
The Rogers Family August 24, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Rogers Family, You have no idea how sad we are that you decided to close. Our kids were only3 nas 5 when we started going to Banchero's. Kids are now 49 and 51. Don knew us well and he will also be missed. So, we also want the soup, salad dressing and swiss chard recipe's..Please share., love to obtain the receipes...Thanks for the MEMORIES.. The Rogers
Joseph Lewis October 17, 2012 at 07:38 PM
My grandma used to go to Banchero's when it was just down the street across from the bowling alley used to go there when the husband-and-wife used to run the little building there and then when he got bigger they move down the street further up and her family's been going ever cents . I am her grandson and ever since we been going there now 46 years old and I went we went all the special occasions in our family and we love that place

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