Cigar Box Kitchen and Bar

Dearest Friends,

It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I must let you know that Cigar Box Kitchen and Bar is closing.  The time we had was all to brief, but the joy it brought will live on. The journey which began more than a year ago proved to be too long, and too expensive. 

I want to thank everyone in the El Cerrito Community that welcomed us, and eagerly awaited our opening, and ultimately were as disappointed as we are for the short life span.

The idea of bringing live acoustic music to a small café in El Cerrito seemed ambitious at first. Will anybody want to play there? Will anybody come? Will anybody care? And why the heck is it called
Cigar Box anyway? Well, the answer to the first three questions is a resounding yes, yes, yes! 

Thanks to Musical Director David Cook, The Mary’s and Scott Underwood, collectively known as Almost Home, Bluegrass found a new home In El Cerrito at CBK.  David had lined up many musicians that were excited about playing at this intimate local venue. Folk, Blues and Old time among the genres of music that was to flow out of CBK on to the Avenue and beyond.

There were many people that made this dream become somewhat of reality.  First and foremost, my wife Gail and daughter Leah.  Their love, patience and understanding, made this difficult journey easier to navigate when those seeming endless delays and hurdles arose. I love you both! 

Wendell Edwards – Artist/ Painter for the fantastic mural that graced the dinning room, and the other portraits and paintings around the café.

Joe Sanger, welder and metal craftsman extraordinaire, for the railing on the front patio, first one on San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito! Eddie and Julie at Velocity Lock and Key. John Graton for helping me with the interior, after working a full day at his job, found the time and energy to help me. Deb Weeks from Fillmore West Vineyards for the great graphic design work. David from Elevation 66 and Paul at Lucky Devil Brewing. Thanks to Gary Fuller for hanging in there with me! 

And thanks to the Gazebo gang, that help build the cover for the Back Patio Beer Garden that we never got to use, John Graton, Chris Morgan, Kevin Flynn, Steve Crawford, Brian McGilloway, Joe Sanger and Eddie.  Apologies to anyone I forgot!

The idea was to create a place where local musicians would have a place to play, hang out, hone their skills and connect with the community.  All in a casual café that served fresh approachable food, local beer and wine, in an intimate, welcoming coffee house environment.  I think we accomplished most of that.

It would be a real shame to let this beautiful space become a shoe store, if you have any thoughts, dreams or ideas how to keep this vision alive, no matter how far out there it may seem, email me, let’s talk!

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”  Beverly Sills


Steve Zwetsch

Embrace Live Music and support local Musicians and Artists!


Email me if you can help keep the dream alive!