Hartz Avenue institution closing after 30 years

San Ramon restaurant will take over building

La Ultima owner Connie Komar won't be asking customers whether they would like red or green chili anymore.

"It's just time. We're really ready for a change but it's really hard to leave the customers, hard to leave Danville," said Komar, who runs La Ultima with her husband and staff of 13.

The New Mexican restaurant, which has occupied a prime Hartz Avenue locale for 32 years, will officially shut its doors on Saturday, April 30. A former San Ramon resident, Komar has lived in Antioch for the past few years and will open a sandwich shop near her home in July.

"It'll be a lot easier work and not as many hours and days," she said. "Customers let us know that they'll come see us."

While Komar looks forward to making avocado, mushroom and sprout sandwiches (a recipe held over from her "organic days"), closing La Ultima's doors is a bittersweet process. A few customers, some of whom have grown up eating at La Ultima, have cried while others have given gifts in appreciation.

"What's really hard is that people have been telling us how much we mean to Danville and the community," she said. On a Monday afternoon -- her day off -- Komar spoke with two customers who expressed their gratitude and promised to come in several times before the restaurant's closing.

In addition to the customers and neighboring business owners she's grown to love, Komar said she will miss the smell of carne adovada, a pork steak marinated in chili sauce, as well as chips and salsa and the sopapilla she allows herself once every six months.

La Ultima's staff, many of whom have been at the restaurant for over a decade, have taken the closing well and some have may work for the incoming tenants. Although Komar said she will not have a party on Saturday, she plans to buy a Costco-sized bottle of Patron tequila to share with patrons and staff.

"I'll be crying, the customers will be crying and I'll pass (the Patron) around," she said.

Established in 1979 by Komar's parents, La Ultima is the only New Mexican restaurant in the area and, according to Komar, has the best location on Hartz Avenue. Come August, it will be home to a new cuisine with a similarly homey atmosphere.

The owner of the incoming restaurant did not wish to have news of the move printed but said he was very excited to be part of the Danville community.


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Posted by Thom Cady and Jom Gregson
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2011 at 7:23 am

Gosh, we remembered her parents from Oakland, to Danville and Walnut Creek. In our 22 years now in Southwest Florida, we have not found any authentic recipes at any restaurants to match La Ultima. Best wishes, Thom and Jim, Fort Myers, FL

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Posted by JC
a resident of Danville
on Apr 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Wow! This is a really sad day. I have been eating at La Ultima since they opened. In fact, even when we moved to Stockton for a few years, whenever someone was heading for the Bay Area, we always asked them to bring La Ultima Tamales and Carnitas back for us. I even had LaUltima Tamales broght in specially for me at my Wedding Dinner.
I will really miss them..I guess nothing lasts forever.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda J. Tullis
a resident of Alamo
on Apr 26, 2011 at 11:54 pm

NOBODY does chile rellenos like you do! We sure will miss you!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by john tanner
a resident of Danville
on Apr 27, 2011 at 9:06 am

A place like this closes, and a health department dump like Don Jose's in Alamo manages to stay open. The rugs at Don Jose's are teeming with gunge, uck.

La Ultima fell prey to a very poor drive-by appearance, and an even worse inside layout. They failed to make the investment to stay current, and with all the turnover and competition for entertainment food dollars in Danville, staying current is a must. A good lesson for the owner and both current and future restaurateurs.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carol
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Growing up in northern New Mexico I was so excited when I discovered La Ultima years ago!! Living in Livermore I didn't get there often, but always looked forward to it. I'll miss their stacked enchiladas and sopapillas! There's no where in the area to find really good Mexican food like NEW Mexican at La Ultimas. Good luck with your new venture!

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