Denny's shuts down for good in Oakland, citing crime concerns

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Oakland's Denny's shuts doors due to crime

The restaurant on Hegenberger Road, a mainstay in the neighborhood for 54 years, closed for good at 1 p.m. Wednesday

The Denny's in Oakland, known for being "always open," is now forever closed because of crime concerns. 

The restaurant on Hegenberger Road, a mainstay in the neighborhood for 54 years, closed for good at 1 p.m. Wednesday. It seems like only the chickens that congregate outside the diner will be staying. 

Denny's officials would not go on camera. 

But a sign on the front door says, in part, "The safety and well-being of Denny's team members and valued guests is our top priority."

Employees were told of the closure only on Tuesday. Some were in tears on their last day.

Like other businesses in the area, the restaurant's seen its share of car break-ins, robberies and violent crime.

KTVU caught up with some of the restaurant's final customers, like Aloy Ekane, who was picking up for Grubhub but is himself a regular.

"I feel so bad for Oakland because it's like everybody's leaving," Ekane said. "Oh yeah, I eat here all the time, sometimes [at] midnight. I come here and eat, because [in the] last few years, it was quite good. Just a good place. I feel so bad that they're leaving, you know?"

Jeff Lee visits every Wednesday with his mother and brother for the breakfast slams.  Now they'll have to go to another Denny's, either in Hayward or Emeryville.

"Terrible that Oakland's like this," Lee said. "This is probably the oldest business on the block, and it's closing down. It's sad."

'Too little, too late' - East Oaklanders disappointed In-N-Out is closing

While In-N-Out customers aren’t shocked to hear the restaurant is shutting down, many said the city didn’t do enough. OPD says they've been focusing on this area for months.

Lee added, "I'm proud of the Bay, born and raised. It's sad because when I was out of state, I was proud [of] where I'm from…now, I just shake my head because of all the crime going on."

Jerry McComb emerged from the restaurant with a Super Slam with pancakes, country potatoes with onions and bacon, unaware that it would be his last visit to the Hegenberger Denny's until told by KTVU.

"It's overwhelming, it is, because I've been coming here for years," McComb said.

Denny's joins other restaurants near the airport that have closed, like Black Bear Diner, Subway and Starbucks.

In-N-Out, which has also been a magnet for car burglars, will close in March.

Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and