WESTBRAE BIERGARTEN West Berkeley’s much-anticipated beer garden on the corner of Gilman and Curtis streets is set to have its official opening June 12, Joel Di-Giorgio, who’s helping launch the place, tells us. In the run up, you might find the gate to the outdoor eating and drinking space ajar — and, during this soft opening phase, you just may be able to slip in and enjoy food from anchor tenant Brazil Café, as well sipping a brew of course. Owners Linda and Carl Lasagna — whose family founded Westbrae Nursery next door to the lot and are behind the venture — want to make sure they iron out any wrinkles before the hordes descend. And descend they will: Local residents seem universally happy that the beer garden, modeled on the Hayes Valley Biergarten on Octavia Street in San Francisco, is coming to their neighborhood. “From my neighborhood conversations we predict the place will be mobbed,” said Steven Donaldson who lives nearby.
THE COOK AND HER FARMER The Cook and Her Farmer has opened at Swan’s Marketplace in Oakland. The owners are cookbook author and former Berkeleyside contributor Romney Nani Steele and her partner Steve Day. Steele wrote My Nepenthe about her family’s Big Sur restaurant and Plum Gorgeous. Day is a former Oakland public school teacher turned oyster maven who most recently spent a year studying at Tomales Bay Oyster Co. The new casual spot is designed as an all-day café, with De La Paz coffee, scones and more starting at 9 a.m, according to Eater SF. The menu will likely feature salads, sandwiches, a grilled flatbread and pickles — Steele is a pickle enthusiast. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with dinner served Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10 p.m. Those hours, and the menu, may expand once the new spot gets up and running.
LOS CILANTROS Los Cilantros has opened a breakfast and lunch restaurant at La Peña Cultural Center in South Berkeley. The eatery is the culmination of more than a decade of hard work for owner Dilsa Lugo, reports Inside Scoop SF. Lugo came to the Bay Area in 2003, learned English and took business classes with the goal of opening her own restaurant. After working in catering for five years, she found a location for her first restaurant with the help of Mission district food incubator La Cocina. Los Cilantros’ menu will feature homemade regional Mexican specialties (including fresh, made-in-house corn tortillas), such as chilaquiles verdes and arroz con leche for breakfast, and albondigas meatballs and five-hour, slow-baked carnitas for lunch. A grand opening is planned for May 29. Los Cilantros: 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-849-2568.
SUSHI BANZAI Sushi Banzai in West Berkeley, which is closing after 25 years of serving a loyal clientele, say tonight, May 23, is its last night. Owner and sushi chef Hide Nagano is retiring. A new restaurant, Sanctuary Bistro, is set to open in the space. Sushi Banzai is at 1019 Camelia St., Berkeley, 510-524-6625.
PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE As reported on Berkeleyside’s Shop Talk, new barbecue/craft beer hall Perdition Smokehouse is looking to open its doors at 2050 University Ave. (between Milvia and Shattuck) Friday, June 13. (We first tipped you about Perdition in March. ) The owners are Mike O’Brien and Chuck Stilphen (founder of Øl Beercafe, The Trappist, Trappist Provisions and Mikkeller Bar SF). The menu will include classics like beef brisket, pork shoulder, hot links, ribs and turkey breast. Expect traditional Southern sides such as collards, mac n’ cheese, coleslaw and Texas black-eyed peas, and a large selection of pies for dessert. The kitchen at Perdition Smokehouse will also double as a production facility for the newly formed Mikkeller Sausage Company which will supply associated bars and restaurants. There will be 43 beers on tap, a small, curated wine list, as well as non-alcoholic options like brewed iced tea, lemonade, and cold-pressed Blue Bottle coffee. A Boylan’s soda fountain will also be available. The space, which used to house Zaika’s and, very briefly, Amadeus, includes an outdoor courtyard. Opening hours will be from 5 p.m. to midnight the first few months, and lunch service will be added near the end of summer. Unlike Stilphen’s other beer establishments, Perdition is open to all ages.
CINNAHOLIC Also from Shop Talk: Florian and Shannon Radke, owners of Berkeley’s Cinnaholic vegan cinnamon bun bakery at 2132 Oxford St. have partnered with Atlanta Franchise Group to franchise their store, with a potential 100 units opening up over the next five years nationally. The deal announcement comes on the heels of a recent appearance on the ABC reality show Shark Tank, where the pair turned down a $200,000 investment offer. The Radkes received several hundred franchise inquiries and offers within the first couple hours of the Shark Tank episode airing May 9, they told the San Francisco Business Times. “We didn’t know the plant based food industry would blow up so immensely,” Radke said. “Now you have people like Bill Gates investing in the plant based foods industry.”
HOI POLLOI We first told you about nano-brewery Hoi Polloi Brewpub & Beat Lounge in March last year. It opened Thursday at 1763 Alcatraz Ave. (at Adeline, next door to Easy Creole restaurant). Owner Viet Vu said he hopes the place will become “a neighborhood gathering space where everyone can enjoy craft beer and good beats.” There’s a bar and a few tables, with brew kettles and fermentation tanks in the back. Follow Hoi Polloi on Facebook.
What else is going on…
WHOLE FOODS In an effort to support local producers Whole Foods is offering grants to 120 local foodmakers who make less than $100,000 a year. The project is organized in partnership with Working Solutions, a non-profit dedicated to helping business thrive. “We’ll select 120 businesses we’re most excited about near our stores and then, to keep the community involved, our customers will vote on who will receive the grant,” Whole Foods explains on the project website. The grant from each store will be funded by Whole Foods’ July 2 5% Day. The average grant size is $3,000-$6,000. Find out more and apply online.
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