ALBANY -- Zaki Kabob House, a popular community presence on San Pablo Avenue for the past five years, has announced it will be closing on June 1.

Ramzy Ayyad, who runs the restaurant along with his parents, said that his family declined an opportunity to purchase the property, a former KFC location at San Pablo and Dartmouth Street, after its owner recently died.

But more than that, Ayyad said, it was time to take a break.

"We haven't had a break since we opened five years ago," Ayyad said.

Ayyad added that some customers have come in crying upon hearing the news.

That's not surprising, as Ayyad and his family have worked hard to make the restaurant an integral part of Albany.

The small space has hosted a number of performers, including Mary Ellen Donald, an American percussionist who plays Middle Eastern music. Donald performed a final show at Zaki Kabob House in April.

Ayyad said the property owner may have plans for a sushi restaurant on the site. Ayyad added that although he isn't planning on jumping back into the restaurant business, his parents might be. The family lives in El Cerrito.

"We just want to say thanks to the community for support, allowing us to do what we did for the past five years," Ayyad said. "We felt welcomed every day."

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