Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXIII

A16 photo

A16 Rockridge: opening May 30 on College Ave., from the owners of A16 and SPQR in San Francisco

Openings…

pasta class

A16 Rockridge Chef Rocky Maselli holds a pasta class

A16 ROCKRIDGE All things going well, A16 Rockridge, the sister restaurant to A16 in San Francisco, will open May 30 in the old Hudson/Garibaldi space at 5356 College Ave. This is the third restauraunt for co-owners Victoria Libin and Shelley Lindgren (also the wine director), who, along with A16 in the Marina, run Michelin-starred SPQR in the Fillmore district. Chef Rocky Maselli, formerly chef-owner of Osteria Sfizo, a modern Italian restaurant in Eugene, Ore., is running the kitchen. Expect his dishes to be influenced by the cuisine of the coastal regions surrounding Italy’s A16 highway. (On the opening menu: selection of crudo, including Somerset oysters and Fort Bragg sea urchin; roasted calamari with lovage salsa verde, lemon and fried corona beans; Montanara Rockridge pizza with lightly fried dough, smoky tomato sauce, burrata and basil; salsiccia e vongole; crispy fried lamb sweetbreads with peas and marsala, and pork polpettone with egg, spring onion, and roasted baby carrots.) In preparation for his new role, Maselli recently went to Naples to earn his pizzaiolo certification, and travelled along the A16 highway researching recipes. Drinks will focus on Southern Italian wines and Italian-inspired cocktails. Think “rustic charm” for the décor which was designed in collaboration with Cass Calder Smith of CCS Architecture. A16 will also offer that rare thing for the East Bay: late-night dining. For details, follow A16 Rockridge on Facebook, or at on Twitter at @A16Rockridge.

CPCHEZ PANISSE Alice Waters’ iconic Berkeley restaurant plans to re-open June 21, the summer solstice, after the March 8 fire that required it to undergo extensive rebuilding. Opening night will see the restaurant hosting a fundraising dinner for the Edible Schoolyard Foundation, with special menu, wines and dancing. Dinner will be $2,500 a head in the restaurant, and $1,000 a head in the upstairs café. Details on the Chez Panisse website.

Easy CreoleEASY CREOLE New Louisiana restaurant Easy Creole has opened in South Berkeley serving “all natural, never fried, cajun and creole food.” Owners Grant Gooding, Jess McCarter and Jeron Thomson have been serving their southern dishes at The Residence in the Castro and La Victoria in the Mission, according to Eater SF, but now have their own place. The menu changes daily, but includes items like turkey pozole, Bourbon Street red beans and rice, jerk shrimp in a Red Stripe marinade, and spinach and mushroom étouffée. Easy Creole is at 1761 Alcatraz Ave.

PiccoloNapoliPICCOLO NAPOLI A new Italian restaurant is coming to the old Bonfire Pizzeria space in Orinda’s Theater Square, according to Diablo Dish. Piccolo Napoli (Little Naples), will focus on family-friendly fare including thin-crust, Italian-style pizza. Owner Peter Eberle is planning a June 29 opening.

KEREN CAFÉ AND MARKET According to A Temescal Blog a new spot called Keren Café and Market has opened on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. Details are sketchy, but it sounds like the restaurant is joining the area’s cluster of Ethiopian eateries and serving specialties from that country as well as coffee. Find it at 3932 Telegraph Ave. just south of 40th Street.

Screen shot 2013-05-24 at 11.49.35 AMAMERICAN OAK American Oak in Alameda has reopened after a fire shut it down for several months. According to Inside Scoop, the interior has been completely redone, and the East Bay Express reports that the menu has also been completely overhauled by consulting chef Gabe Cortez. American Oak, 2319 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda, 510-521-5862.  

Screen shot 2013-05-24 at 12.21.08 PMCAFE 3016 Cafe 3016 has just opened on the border of the Dimond and Laurel districts at 3016 Macarthur Blvd., across from the Food Mill. East Bay Dish reports that owners Edwin and Amber Poon grew up, got married and still live in the neighborhood — the cafe’s counter was even made from a tree in Amber’s father’s yard. Cafe 3016 serves Wrecking Ball Coffee and baked goods from IndieCakesMuffin Revolution and Authentic Bagel Company. Sandwiches and salads are made with ingredients from Farmer Joe’s and Hodo Soy Beanery and bread from Semifreddi’s. Cafe 3016, 3016 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland.

TOAST Restaurant/wine bar Toast in Rockridge has expanded into the space next door, nearly doubling its size, which gives them a full kitchen and an expanded menu, reports Tablehopper. Its menu will now include roasted chicken, pastas and grilled meats, with sandwiches, salads and soup at lunch. Toast, 5900 College Ave. at Chabot Road, Oakland, 510-658-5900.

What else is going on…

MyYute_Poster2-1JAMAICAN JERK COOK-OFF FESTIVAL For the fourth year in a row, Linden Street Brewery at 95 Linden St. in Oakland is hosting the annual Jamaican Jerk Cook-Off Festival & Fundraiser on Monday, May 27, 1-5 p.m. The event is a benefit for My Yute Soccer, a camp that provides access to “the beautiful game” to youth ages 6-12 from diverse social, economic and cultural environments. Bay Area league soccer players and coaches provide skills training with an international influence. This year’s family friendly event features Chef Team Rumbo Al Sur,  s+s gastro grub, Commonwealth Cafe & Pub, C & C, Africari Jerk, Brude Boys of Linden Street Brewery, Grand Tavern, Evil Jerk Cart, Nora Spanish Cuisine. Tickets, which provide general admission and unlimited jerk tastings: $25 online, or at the door (cash only). Kids under 12 are free. Buy tickets here.

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Photo: Nancy Rubin

FAMILY FUN FESTIVAL The Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets’ ninth annual Family Fun Festival in Berkeley takes place Saturday, June 1. Described as “a whole day of free fun for the whole family,” it is co-sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley YMCA, the City of Berkeley Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department, BART, and Parents’ Press. Featuring hands-on activities, games, contests, performances and informational booths. Admission is free. Where: Saturday farmers market at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Center Street. When: Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

SHOPS AT BROADWAY The developer of the proposed Shops at Broadway project is holding a community meeting on the project, which involves an approximately 26,000-square-foot grocery store and approximately 10,000 square feet of additional commercial space in a new one-story building. The project site is located at the northwest corner of Broadway and 30th Street in the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan area. Meeting details: Thursday, May 30, 6:30-8 p.m. at Z Café meeting room, 2801 Broadway. For more information about the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan, please visit the plan website. For more information about the meeting, call 510-849-4811.

Recent Nosh stories (in case you missed them):

Snapshot: Barkada Bakery and Café on Telegraph 
To Die For: Banchan at Casserole House in Temescal 
Edible Schoolyard grad puts hemp burgers on the map
Community farm buys 2+ acres in West Berkeley
The vegetable season: Books for all tastes
Michael Pollan: We teach kids about sex, why not cooking?
Good Eggs: The lazy (wo)man’s Farmers Market

Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant openings, happenings 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. Got a tip for Nosh Bites? Send it to nosh@berkeleyside.com.

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  • Kristina Franziska Johnston

    Thanks for this! SO excited about all the new stuff, especially A16 and Easy Creole. Oh, and it was March 8. =)

    Love all your posts!

  • B2B

    Almost top posted excitement for the same two!!! Can’t wait to try them!

  • Chris J

    One reading the lead teaser about the grand reopening of Chez Panisse might be taken back by the $2500 or $1000 serving. Do note that they haven’t increased prices egregiously but money is mostly going toward the Edible Schoolyard Project of hers…or whatever its called.

    Is it odd of me to believe that learning to cook is just as important a developmental tool for our children as their math and science?

  • Chris J

    A16. Build. A couple more pizza joints…what is up with all the pizza joints? Chance? Are pizza restaurants considered ‘easy’ to open and make profit? There is a new one over on Addison, as well, with its socially forward philosophy.

    Fwiw, I wish them well. But these days I can’t get really excited over pizza…or burgers. Not that they don’t make them well out there, just…hmm. Despite being referred to as ‘foodie’, a term which bothers me somewhat, when it comes to certain cuisines or food styles, I tend to visit places I know can deliver…Barney’s, Boot and Shoe…and am reticent to try new places for ‘standard cuisine’.

  • Cowboy

    Why Pizza? It is one of the cheapest foods to make.

    So here comes the 120 seat A16 with no parking and dark windows to Rockridge.
    Watch for nearby restaurants go out of business due to the parking crunch.

  • Chris J

    This city needs more Spanish restaurants–not Mexican, Spanish.

  • Andi

    Thanks for the updates, I look forward to “Bites” every week! :)