Banchero's Restaurant Closes After 63 Years

Owner John Banchero said a poor economy and his desire to retire and spend more time with family are factors.


After 63 years of serving generations of diners affordable Italian fare, has closed its doors for good.

"It was just time for us to close. It was a great run," second-generation owner John Banchero Jr. said Wedneday.

On Wednesday afternoon, phones continued to ring off the hook as former customers called in asking for updates on the restaurant located at 20102 Mission Blvd. in Hayward's unincorporated Cherryland.

"I expected a reaction but not this much. It's heartfelt and appreciated," Banchero said.

The restuarant, which employed 33 staff members including some family Banchero's, closed on Monday, June 4. Banchero said he came to make this difficult decision due to several factors including the downturned economy and working countless seven-day work weeks at the restaurant.

"I've never had a job (other than this one)," Banchero said. "I've never had the time to look for one."

However, he isn't planning on sending resume's out soon after. Banchero said he plans to retire and enjoy spending more time with family, including his wife of 31 years.

Originally opened by his father, John Banchero Sr., in 1948, John recalls working at the establishment at the young age of 13 — starting from the kitchen and working his way up to become owner.

The restaurant has had a longtime following of families in the area. During its 50th anniversary celebration, Banchero said a family made up of six generations dinned in and took up two large booths — one of the largest groups made up of the most generations eating in at once.

"I'll never forget that," he said. "I owe a great deal of gratitude to all our faithful families."

To learn more about Banchero's Italian Dinners' history, visit its website at http://bancherositaliandinners.com/our_history.html.

This story .

R.M. June 07, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I'm sad.. It was a great place. I've been going there since I was a kid. The comments from Nena Mia sounds like she got some sort of anger issues...she's the only one post negative comments. This was a cool place!
Michelle Leonard June 07, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I have shed a few tears!! Boy am I going to miss Bancheros!! My family has been going there since 1948 and myself since 1981 when I was born!! We've celebrated numerous special occasions and have wonderful memories there with family members that are no longer with us!! Please come back!!
Darlene Mills June 07, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Im so sad, but I truly wish the Banchero Family the best and hope they enjoy their retirement !! Its been amazing time I was going their when i was born with my mom and dad and continued through the years with my family and grandchildren. My mom is 92 yrs young and was sad but also knows that it has been a great experience adn she has lots of memories .... My Hat off to you the Banchero Family for giving all of us a Great dining experience !!!!! Darlene PS As for those who complainned in this article Why? No need the business spoke for themeselves they stayed open 63 years !! Why cant we leave positive things instead of negitive
Sydney Santos June 07, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I have been eating there since I was a little girl. I had my sixteenth birthday there and many other birthdays there too. I too remember Gino the bartender, he signed my jr high yearbook, lol. I will miss the rib eye steaks and garlic bread the most. My son who grew up eating there was hoping to have his 50th birthday there (in two years). Guess thats not going to happen. Maybe when John sees how many of us will miss this great place, will decide to let someone else take it over. Not too late yet.
Troy LaFontaine June 07, 2012 at 09:25 PM
This is sad , my family has been going there for years. I wish i could buy a set of their dishes to eat with at home and be reminded of all the good times with my family there .
Terry Re June 07, 2012 at 11:33 PM
My friends and I have been goping to Banchero's for almost 40 years. I rember when a glass of wine was 50 cents. They had the BEST garlic bread. My husbands wants to know where to go for good Italian take out now? Terry Re
Gayle June 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM
My parents took us to Banchero's in the 60's where the soup, garlic bread and Shirley Temples were our favorite treats. After dinner, my brother and I always stopped to look at the huge Coke bottle at the Coca-Cola facility next door (on the corner of Mattox Road). Great memories of dinner out with my parents.
Georgean Vonheeder June 08, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Oh No !! That is the worst news I've heard in a long time. I was born the year the restaurant opened. I have been going there for 60+ years. Very Very sad.
roberto June 08, 2012 at 12:57 AM
where to go now ?
Betty mendoza June 08, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Betty M. The last time we were at Bancheros I found a difference, the portions of food were much smaller than in the past and the prices were higher. Have to say the only thing we enjoyed was the soup! so it was very disappointing and decided at that time that we would not be returning to eat-in, but we would have ordered out the soup, just can't beat that soup!!!!
jerry adams June 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM
63 Years....Had to be a great family place....I lived in Norther California a long time and remember San Leandro but sadly was not familiar with the restrurant. God Bless the business man that can keep his restrurant going all that time. jerry
pat van zanten June 08, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Wow it opened the year I was born I grew up 3 blocks from there , sad day to hear of it closing !! I live in Ripon now and still traveled to eat there. Sad day for me and my 15 children that love Banchero's ! Please sell and let the memories continue !! Think of all the people that enjoy what you created !
Cathy Zulkowski June 09, 2012 at 03:57 AM
It seems crazy to be so emotional about a restaurant, but I've had Bancheros since before I had teeth! I hope that John Banchero reads this and will do this for us all. If we can't come get it anymore, would he please publish the recipes and make them available for purchase? My dad used to own Metal Craft down the road, and whenever he comes back to visit in CA we always drive in from Chico for Bancheros. Maybe a Bancheros Facebook page? Have a wonderful retirement, I'll miss running after you to get to our table. Love, the Zulkowski's
Chris June 09, 2012 at 06:04 AM
My father, Ray Orrock, a longtime daily columnist in the Bay Area, was a devotee of Bancheros. When we were little kids, he'd bring home cartons of their minestrone with french bread. It breaks one's heart to see these wonderful old standbys move on. Thank you, Banchero family, for your years of generous service to a hungry, adoring public.
Mr. Lum June 09, 2012 at 07:02 AM
I was first introduced to Banchero's Restaurant in 1967 after I got married. My in laws absolutely loved it. My father in law thought the Chicken Cacciatore to be the best. Many years have passed and I was able to raise a wonderful family who also fell in love with the restaurant. It's been 45 years for me, my wife, three daughters and 8 grand children as we are certainly saddened by the closing. But just as time must move on, John must also move on with his life and family. Good Luck John! Mr Lum
Barbara Vigil June 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Wow, you gave some very interesting information. We used to go to Bertolas before we moved to San Lorenzo in 1951. To see that Bancheros, Bertolas, and Luccas are some how connected. Thank you so much.
Carolyn June 09, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Another 60+ years customer - - - we've celebrated our birthdays, our children's birthdays and our grandchildren's birthdays at Banchero's. We've also lost our 50+ years of mexican food in Alameda at Acapulco. This economy is killing our eating out choices - - - where now?
Mike K. June 10, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Chris, I worked with your dad at the Daily Review. He obviously loved restaurants like Bancheros. He wrote about his fondness for the "double ravvy" at the Deport Hotel in Napa, and we talked about it and I finally got to try the Depot, which was a lot like Bancheros. I thanked him for telling us about his "secret" find. Both of the restaurants were of a different time, and we were awfully lucky to get to be part of it.
Patti (Zemola) Erdely June 11, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Banchero's was a cornerstone. We went there for every major celebration, including my rehearsal dinner in 1981. Who could feed 15 people (1/2 of whom chose the double rib-ey) 2 rounds of drinks and 2 bottles of wine for only $115.00. Even in 1981. Banchero's also served the Spaghetti dinner and lunches at Moreau High School. Loved their roasted potatoes and chicken. The sauce was great to put on french bread. Another memory place gone, along with Lucca's delicatessen, McFarlane's Ice Cream, Neldam's Bakery. While my Mother was in her last month and we visited introducing her to my son's future wife, she insisted we leave the visit and take her to Banchero's. Banchero's thank you for all the food food and fun times. You will be greatly missed. Enjoy retirement, you have earned it.
Debbie White June 11, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Aubrey you are very dedicated if you just wanted at minimum soup. It's funny you say that, I have a friend that moved to Colorado and she loved Porky's Pizza in San Leandro, and is always wanted me to send her their awesome pizza sandwich. It's very good. I mentioned Porky's should start a mail order service, but it's not likely to happen. Enjoy your day.
Cal and Jan Wilson June 12, 2012 at 02:38 AM
I started going to Bancheros when I was 4 years old!! Now am 62!! That's along time!! It was always a family favorite...driving from Modesto to Hayward...When I married it became my husbands favorite and our 2 sons. They both are living out of state now and it was always a good bribe to get them to fly home if we promised them "Bancheros". You always remembered us, perhaps not by name but remembered our last move to Chico, CA....and now your gone....Enjoy your retirement....but know that you have left a big HOLE it so many lives....you were truly a family institution to so MANY. There will NEVER be another so good as YOU . How about sharing that reciepe for your soup, pasta sauce and swiss chard and garlic bread..I'm making myself hungry now!! Blessing to you and you family and all the servers, cooks and their families You served so well for Sooooo Many, Many years.... Cal and Jan Wilson
Michelle June 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I am so sad... I was just told this from my Alhambra guy, he knew I LOVED this place. My mom and dad took me there back when I was a little girl and I celebrated a lot of dinners there. I remember when I was younger I use to think all the bartenders were lil people and then as I got older I saw the bar was a lower level in the ground. My family and I moved away in 1988 and everytime I came back to visit the Bay Area from Arizona and Oklahoma I would make it a point to come here. I finally moved back here in 2001 and was in HEAVEN. I was enjoying the Garlic Bread, Soup and Salad dressing (extra dressing so I can dip my bread), and entree. I was out of town for a holiday two years ago and my mom and dad said she would not go without me and then we went there, BUT.. They had pictures of the customers on the wall and THERE THEY WERE. I was like REALLY? You came without me. I had a HUGE crush John. When I was 13 I was in AWE of him... Up to this day he still makes me smile when I think about him. I will miss you Bancheros and the Bancheros family!!! Michelle Arzaga in San Jose
Mike August 17, 2012 at 06:03 AM
John family& staff. we will miss you thank you for all the enjoyable years! God Bless..
Mike August 17, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Thank you Kris cringle. for keeping it real!. thanks to the politicians. we have elected. times have changed. and we bring back the same bunch over and over. Wake up folks.33 employees lost there jobs thanks to the bureacrates who don't give a dam about anybody but themselves!!!...
Mike August 17, 2012 at 06:43 AM
Thank you Kris cringle. for keeping it real!. thanks to the politicians. we have elected. times have changed. and we bring back the same bunch over and over. Wake up folks.33 employees lost there jobs thanks to the bureacrates who don't give a dam about anybody but themselves!!!...
Tom Abate (Editor) September 10, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Here's a question for Banchero's fans: now that it is gone, where would you go for that special family dinner. In other words, what's the closest replacement?
Cres Archuleta September 13, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Wow, we all enjoyed the wait for a special family dinner at Banchero's and always went there even after moving to Santa Fe. Will miss that famous soup and chicken! That said it all, you will be missed! Cres Archuleta
j smith1 November 03, 2012 at 09:11 PM
NOOOOO! Just discovered the loss. Live out of town and hadn't been for years until last when family member moved and Bancheros became a takeout stop every few months on visits. How heartbreaking. I'm so upset that we seem to be losing the value of history and tradition. My father died when I was young. When I was middleaged I discovered a journal he had kept as a young man. He wrote about a trip he had taken and I realized I had been to the same places when I was in my twenties. The spiritual connection was overwhelming. To think I had walked the same sidewalks, climbed the same stairs, seen the same sights as my father had decades earlier made a contact I hadn't had since childhood. That's what Bancheros did for a lot of people. Corporate restaurants can't replace. We'll miss it forever.
Jason G. November 23, 2012 at 04:20 PM
i created a group on facebook called "Banchero's - Fans for Life!". check it out, and send me an "add" request - I'll add you to the group.
Eileen M. December 06, 2012 at 09:46 AM
Only just saw this tonight, Chris. Sad to see that they are gone. I too remember Dad bringing home their minestrone soup, setting it on the counter and saying, Mmm-Mmm, my my!


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