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

Rico's diner

The former Rico’s Diner, which closed recently, will reopen Friday with later hours. Photo: Rico’s Diner

Openings, closings…

RICO’S HI LIFE Rico’s Diner, which closed just two weeks ago at 400 15th St. in Oakland, will reopen in the same spot as Rico’s Hi Life this Friday, Aug. 2. According to the East Bay Express, it is evolving from burgers and milkshakes to pizza, sandwiches and beer. And, in the hopes of bringing the Oakland nighttime food scene back to life, the owner of Rico’s plans to keep the eatery open until 2 a.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, and possibly all week once things get going. After 2 a.m., those who are still up can grab the remaining pizza slices at the Rico’s takeout window.

Garden to Table

Photo: Garden to Table

GARDEN TO TABLE The two-year-old Albany-based initiative that connects backyard gardeners with local restaurants is coming to a close. According to a Facebook post by Bay Food Shed, the umbrella organization promoting “a functional gift economy” under which Garden to Table operates, “there has not been the assistance or buy-in” needed to continue the program. Since 2011, founder Doug Reil has been collecting produce donations from community members and delivering them to restaurants, primarily in Albany, that are interested in locally sourced food. Participants included Bua Luang Thai restaurant, Cafeína Organic Café, Benchmark Pizzeria, and Elevation 66 Brewing Company, in addition to the individual community contributors who supplied the surplus of their home harvests. Although Garden to Table will no longer deliver to restaurants, Bay Food Shed says that going forward, “Garden to Table will focus on fewer, high volume deliveries to the needy, so stay tuned.”

flavor

Photo: Camille Baptista

FLAVOR  The Mediterranean restaurant we tipped you about earlier this month, Flavor, is now open at Epicurious Garden on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood. According to owner and chef Ezra Malmuth, the most popular dish so far is a cauliflower salad with date syrup, tahini and mint. Plates of fresh garnished hummus, beet salad, zucchini and whole plums also decorate the display window, which stands in front of a compact but comprehensive kitchen with a colorfully tiled wood-burning stove. Lunch- and dinner-goers at Epicurious Garden can find limited seating in the back garden next to Imperial Tea Court — a lush little haven with large wooden benches and a small creek.

TIAN JIN DUMPLINGS A new takeout spot with dumplings and other Chinese street food offerings has popped up at 989 Franklin St., suite B, in Oakland. Chowhound readers report seeing the servers roll out dumpling dough by hand. Menu items include pork and chive dumplings, pork buns, vegetarian chive pie, and pan fried pancake fruit, served seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Photo: Camille Baptista

BRAZIL CAFÉ Featured in Shop Talk last month was the news that Brazil Café, the popular eatery with a food shack on upper University Avenue in Berkeley and a hole-in-the-wall storefront on Shattuck Avenue, is opening another extension a few blocks west at 1960 University Ave. We now hear that the new space will be open for business starting Thursday, Aug. 1. [Just in: Brazil Café pushed back its opening date to Tuesday, August 6. They’ll be open for both lunch and dinner.] (In case you missed it, the café will replace Peruvian restaurant Brasa, which closed its doors recently.)

TRABOCCO A new authentic Italian restaurant will soon be moving into Alameda’s South Shore Center at Shoreline Drive. Tablehopper tells us that Italy native Giuseppe Naccarelli and his wife Christine will be taking over a cavernous restaurant space and filling it with fresh pasta, bread and pizzas (all made in-house) plus roasted meat and fish dishes. The space includes a large, heated outdoor patio and an exhibition kitchen. Naccarelli plans to open sometime in the fall, but hasn’t promised an exact date.

What else is going on…

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 3.26.05 PMSHABBAT ON THE FARM Urban Adamah, the urban farm in Berkeley run through a nonprofit that focuses on farming and environmental education, is hosting its first ever Kabbalat Shabbat service and dinner at the farm on August 2. The free event will start at 6:30 with a service led by Urban Adamah staff and founder Adam Berman, and a vegetarian potluck dinner will follow. The farm, at 1050 Parker St. in West Berkeley, runs a free farm stand every Wednesday and organizes other farm-based events throughout the year. Register for the Shabbat potluck here.

PHAT BEETS FOOD ‘N’ JUSTICE The Aug. 3 workshop hosted by Phat Beets at the North Oakland farmer’s market will focus on “the ins and outs of irrigation” and “urban resilience.” Stop by between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to learn about crops and harvesting as well as swap homemade food, seeds, produce, and cultured food starters like kombucha and kefir. The farmer’s market is at 942 Stanford St. at Lowell.

Recent Nosh stories (in case you missed them):
Partners to open Take 5 Café as new Berkeley hub (07.31.13)
10 Berkeley spots where you can eat outside with kids
 (07.31.13)
Yoshi’s chef to take over O Chamé space in Berkeley (07.31.13)
Nosh on the town: Stella Nonna in Berkeley (07.30.13)

Camille Baptista is a summer intern at Berkeleyside. She grew up in Berkeley and now studies at Barnard in New York City, where she writes for the Columbia Daily Spectator.

Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant openings, happenings and closings in the East Bay. Some of these items will have first appeared in Berkeleyside’s Shop Talk column. Got a tip or scoop? Send it our way to nosh@berkeleyside.com. Catch up with previous Bites columns.

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  • Rob Selover

    Word on the street is that Amadeus is closed until further notice due to issues with the chef/ charging $5 for a Coke. Open for a whopping 4 days!

  • DwntwnBerkeley

    The new location for Brazil Cafe pushed back its opening date to Tuesday, August 6th. They’ll be open for both lunch and dinner!

  • Twill Monkey

    OMG! Rob is definitely on to something: the new bakery next to Peet’s on Domingo is charging $4 for a 2 1/2″ diameter tart with a thin slice of tomato. I’ve walked out twice without buying anything because I know that the thing may cost as much as $2.50 -$3 including all business taxes, rent, salaries, and ingredients. Same artificially high prices at the two newish cafes on College between Ashby and Russell. How do I know this? Well, I consult to businesses and have experience with complete pricing. I also cook, so I know what’s what with high quality ingredients.

  • Andrew Lazarus

    Judging from the lines, Elmwood Café is doing OK without you.