Bites: What’s new, what’s hot, what’s happening, V

Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant and bar news in the East Bay. Got a tip or a scoop? Send it our way at nosh@berkeleyside.comChristina Mitchell, founder of East Bay Dish, is the main voice behind Bites, with a little help from the staff at Berkeleyside.

Freshly served…

Photo: Milthon Rivera

EL GUSANO According to Eater SF, Erin Brooks and Michael Sopher, who own San Francisco’s Tropisueño, opened El Gusano earlier this week in Old Oakland. The menu features Mexican specialties ($3.95-$11) including burritos, tamales and quesadillas, as well as pambazos, a sort of wet torta with chorizo and potato that’s a specialty of Mexico City. Various cocktails, with a focus on mezcal, will be available in the bar. El Gusano, 1015 Clay St., Oakland; 510-444-9676. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.

EAT + LOUNGE Haig and Cindy Krikorian’s K2 Restaurant Group closed Sea Salt on New Year’s Eve and Inside Scoop reports that it was already scheduled to open again as Eat + Lounge under chef Kwin Vu. (Berkeleyside also reported this in December in our Shop Talk column.) The menu is influenced by the Mediterranean and “more farm-to-table” offerings. The plan is to serve lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. Eat + Lounge, 2512 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley; 510-883-1720.

Photo: Christina Mitchell

SWEET BAR BAKERY Remember when Sweet Bar Bakery opened a few weeks ago? Since then, they have been serving soups, salads and sandwiches. More importantly, there are delicious cupcakes, cookies and pies made there as well. Recently, beer and wine have also been added to the menu: Downtown Brown ($5), Hopageddon IPA ($7), Pilsner Scrimshaw ($5), Spanish White: Albarino ($7). I wonder which one pairs best with the cupcakes… By the way, the grand opening party is this weekend so it’s time to celebrate! Sweet Bar Bakery, 2355 Broadway, Oakland; 510-788-4997. Grand opening party, Sunday, Jan. 13, 1-4 p.m.

PIZZA MODA Pizza Moda, the restaurant formerly known as Divino (and, before that, Fellini) opened this week at 1401 University Ave. Divino closed in late summer. Pizza Moda aims high: “think Dopo, Pizzaiolo, Gioia, Boot & Shoe and the café at Chez Panisse.” See the menu. Pizza Moda, 1401 University Ave., Berkeley; 510-841-5200. [Hat-tip: Tom Lent]

SLIVER PIZZERIA This “Cheeseboard Pizza spin-off with a social mission” opens Monday, Jan. 14, according to the Downtown Berkeley Association. Sliver Pizzeria will sell a single type of pizza each day, along with salads, a full bar, and live music for lunch and dinner. The shop plans to partner with anti-slavery organizations to “empower the fight against human trafficking around the world.” Sliver Pizzeria, 2132 Center St., Berkeley. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4-9 p.m.

NEW AMSTERDAM COFFEESHOP New Amsterdam Coffeeshop has closed after three years at 1952 University Ave. Its owners sent a letter to customers and posted a sign on the door explaining they wanted to “spend more time with their boys.” (Read more)

Coming Soon…

Off the Grid, via Facebook

OFF THE GRID Off the Grid is making its first Oakland appearance in a couple weeks. The Oakland Museum will host a rotating selection of food trucks every Friday from 5-9 p.m., starting Jan. 25. There are also plans for a night market, free beer and wine garden, half-price museum admission, free live music and free film screenings. Off the Grid, 1000 Oak St., Oakland. Fridays, beginning Jan. 25.

JACK LONDON SQUARE Inside Scoop has the details about Miss Pearl’s Restaurant & Lounge, the Jack London Square restaurant that closed last weekend after four years. But don’t worry. According to the Business Times, Chris Pastena, co-owner of Chop Bar, has plans to open Lungomare, an Italian restaurant, in its place sometime this spring. Lungomare’s menu will feature seafood, in the style of the rustic cuisine of northern Italy. The space will include two heated patios, a pizza oven, a 120-seat main dining room and an adjacent cafe with morning coffee service. Craig DiFonzo, formerly of Cantinetta Piero in Yountville, has been hired as executive chef. Lungomare, formerly Miss Pearl’s Restaurant, 1 Broadway, Oakland; 510-444-7171.

FROM ZATIS TO HOMESTEAD After 22 years, Zatis Restaurant is going to close at the end of the month and Inside Scoop has news about upcoming plans at the Piedmont Avenue location. Fred and Elizabeth Sassen are going to open Homestead. The husband and wife team met when they were each cooking at San Francisco’s Farallon. He also has experience at Camino, while she’s the sous chef at Waterbar. They’re going to serve what chefs cook at home, using seasonal ingredients in their new restaurant. The plan is to make pasta, vinegar, bread and cured meats all in-house. Homestead is scheduled to open this spring. 4029 Piedmont Ave, Oakland.

Juhu Beach Club, via Twitter

JUHU BEACH CLUB Tablehopper has info about Juhu Beach Club, which will be moving into the former SR24 space, at Telegraph Avenue and 51st Street. There’s not much construction needed, so Chef Preeti Mistry is planning to start serving Indian street food to the Temescal neighborhood in March. The restaurant’s ABC application to serve alcohol has recently been postedJuhu Beach Club, 5179 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.

DISTRICT CARRIAGE HOUSE Also this spring, District has plans to open District Carriage House, a takeout area behind the restaurant. Weekday lunches, featuring sandwiches, soups and salads, along with freshly blended fruit and vegetable drinks, will all be available to go. Some of the planned dishes include Boston clam chowder with bacon and Tabasco butter ($5/$8); spiced lamb meatballs with charmoula sauce and Manchego on an Acme baguette ($10.50); buttermilk fried chicken with honey and Tabasco, and creamy pickle slaw, on an Acme hamburger bun ($8.50); and a cheese steak with grilled sweet onions, smoked garlic aioli, arugula and jack cheese, pressed on soft sandwich bread ($12). District Carriage House, 827 Washington St., Oakland; 510-272-9110.

JULES THIN CRUST A new thin-crust pizza shop is set to open in March on College Avenue in Rockridge. Jeff and Heather Clapp, the couple behind Jules Thin Crust, say they’re confident the neighborhood has room for one more. (They’re getting ready to open right across from local favorite Zachary’s.) Jules Thin Crust will be more akin to a flatbread than a pizza. Says Heather, it’s all about a very thin crust laden with fresh, seasonal, organic and healthful ingredients. (Read more on NOSH.) Jules Thin Crust, 5804 College Ave., Oakland.

(Click to view larger.)

What else is going on…

KITCHENER Kitchener artisans have been selling their products at pop-up markets since the shared kitchen opened last summer. (Christina Mitchell even made pound cakes for the Thanksgiving market.) This month, vegetarian and vegan items will be offered by Barbarian Gourmet, Green & Go, Green Girl Bakeshop, Javi’s Cooking, Lila Nell’s, Picnic Bakery, SunnySide Catering, Stroopie Gourmet and Three Trees Foods. Oh, and we should also mention the wine tasting by Selection Massale. And the free beer. Kitchener, 372 24th St., Oakland; 510-835-5885. Tuesday, Jan. 15, 6-9 p.m.

2013 Berkeley Restaurant Week flyer. (Click to view larger)

RESTAURANT WEEK Well it’s January, which means it’s Restaurant Week season. This is a good time to check out new restaurants and go back to your old standbys for discounted prix-fixe menus. Berkeley Restaurant Week starts Sunday and, after looking at the list of participating restaurants offering $30 three-course meals, there are lots of good options. It’s the first time Berkeley has celebrated restaurant week, according to the Downtown Business Association, and 20 of the city’s restaurants are taking part. A bit later this month in Oakland, nearly 50 restaurants will offer prix-fixe menus at $20, $30 and $40. Tickets and special passes are not required, but reservations are recommended. Berkeley’s Restaurant Week celebration runs Jan. 13-20. Oakland’s runs from Jan. 18-27.

BUILD PIZZERIA The Roman-style pizzeria in the works for 2286 Shattuck Ave. has had a name change prior to its planned 2013 opening. Originally going to be called A90 after Rome’s ring-road highway, the eatery will now be known as Build (as in “building” your own pizza), according to Inside Scoop. The fact that San Francisco restaurant A16 is planning a Rockridge opening this year may well have had something to do with the switch. The restaurant is being developed by Lisa Holt and David Shapiro of the Rustic Restaurant Company as the flagship in what they hope to develop as a global chain.

Quick hits and tidbits…

  • In Rockridge, Diablo Dish notes the closure of I Squared, Mian Mian and Great Harvest, and the availability of the former Water Lounge location at 5634 College Ave. Rockridge’s much-hyped Ramen Shop opening last week inspired a lengthy post on KQED’s blog (predicting a new “neighborhood staple”), but the jury’s still out for the Yelp crowd, which has posted mixed reviews to date.
  • In downtown Oakland, Luka’s Taproom is on the look-out for a new chef, following the departure of Jacob Alioto after eight years, according to Eater (as spotted on Craigslist).
  • In Berkeley, home cooks can learn new skills at The Local Butcher Shop, which has released its 2013 class schedule. From braising and stock making to butchery, learn how to master meat in your own kitchen.
  • And Eureka Burger, at 2068 Center St., got the green light for its use permit request to sell alcohol in a new full-service restaurant from the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday night. (Berkeleyside first reported on this new spot in October.)

Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant and bar openings, updates and closings in the East Bay. Got a tip or scoop? Send it our way to nosh@berkeleyside.com. Follow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Some of these items may first have appeared in Shop Talk, Berkeleyside’s regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses. If you’re a Berkeley business with news, or a Berkeleysider who has spotted a change in your neighborhood or on your travels, email us with the details. Read previous Shop Talk columns here.

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  • Berkeleyfarm

    Just ate dinner at Pizza Moda – it is very good! I liked Divino’s pizza but I think Moda’s is better. Not QUITE as good as Gioia but almost (and I had the mushroom which is my favorite and “gold standard” for comparision. My fennel-orange-avocado-green salad was both beautiful and delicious. The only thing that was “meh” was the chocolate cake (the chocolate raspberry was good though). I’ll be back.

  • emraguso

    Can’t wait to try it!