Near the front door, Waters hung a dark wreath to commemorate the closure. "I think we were all kind of shocked that it had to happen so quickly," the famed chef, who is a co-owner of the cafe, said.
"It's been 28 years of taking care of Cafe Fanny and my brother-in-law and my sister are in a different place in their lives and they can't take care of it the way that they have," said Waters.
Patrons reminisced and talked about Cafe Fanny like they would a friend who just passed away. "I wanted to come here and say goodbye," said one woman waiting in line.
Since it opened nearly three decades ago, Cafe Fanny has become a staple of fine French breakfasts, sandwiches and salads. It's a place locals savored -- and loved showing off to their international friends.
"A friend was here this morning and she called me on the phone and said, they're closing Cafe Fanny. I said, what? And so I had to come," said Weezie Mott from Alameda.
Some of the customers Friday had never eaten at Cafe Fanny before but rearranged their day to make sure they could sample the fare. Others came as part of their visit to the Bay Area -- only to find out they would be some of the café's last diners.
The abrupt closure came as a surprise to customers and employees alike. One employee said he only heard about the closure Thursday.
Waters said she hopes something new will come to replace the cafe but couldn't offer specifics. Employees will be receiving two weeks' severance.