Starline Social Club, Hella Vegan, Pho Ao Sen

Starline Social Club. Photo: Starline Social Club
Starline Social Club. Photo: Starline Social Club

Openings, closings…

STARLINE SOCIAL CLUB REOPENS Oakland’s historic Starline Social Club is once again in operation. The building, on the corner of MLK Jr. Way and West Grand, originally opened as an Odd Fellows Club in 1893; over the past century it has housed a saloon, a dance club, and a social club for the deaf. Until recently, it stood empty. Over the last year, Ramen Shop‘s Sam White and local artists Adam Hatch, Eric Siemens and Drew Bennet, have renovated the space. They finally opened the doors on Wednesday, reports Inside Scoop. This newest iteration of Starline will showcase top-notch food from former Boot & Shoe Service cook Austin Holey, a “creative cocktail” program, and events such as monthly dance parties and live performances. The performance space has been enhanced with a state-of-the-art Meyer Sound system. (The Berkeley acoustics company has most recently re-designed the sound for restaurants Comal and Oliveto.) The club will only be open five days a week, but it will serve food as late as midnight. Starline Social Club is at 2236 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (at West Grand Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the club on Facebook and Instagram.

Pho Ao Sen, Name that nosh. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Photo: Emilie Raguso

PHO AO SEN Popular East Oakland Vietnamese restaurant Pho Ao Sen appears to be opening a second branch in Albany. A tipster on Chowhound noticed that it had applied for a liquor license for the former Sizzler location on San Pablo Avenue. Sizzler closed in FebruaryPho Ao Sen will be at 665 San Pablo Ave. (at Portland Avenue), Albany.

Hot sweet soy milk at T&R. Photo:Eugen H.
Hot sweet soy milk at T&R. Photo:Eugene H.

T&R RESTAURANT Reader Kate Harper brings us news of the recently opened Chinese brunch and lunch spot T&R Restaurant on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. Harper “loved it.” She said she enjoyed organic Chinese food and “great” warm homemade soy milk and she met the “enthusiastic” owner, Tina. We look forward to your reports. T&R Restaurant is at 1428 San Pablo Ave. (between Camilia and Page).

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 12.55.44 PMMOUNTAIN MIKE’S PIZZA  Staying in Berkeley, Mountain Mike’s Pizza is taking over the space formerly occupied by Japanese restaurant Genki at 1610 San Pablo Ave. (at Cedar) , which, as we reported in March, closed after the owners retired. The pizza chain was also looking at 1740 Solano Ave. for a restaurant (in the old By Hands space), as we reported in February. We believe that is still going ahead, but are waiting to hear back from those in the know and will keep you updated. Mountain Mike’s Pizza has restaurants around the Bay, including in El Cerrito, Alameda and Moraga.

DORSEY’S LOCKER MAY BE CLOSING A new business has filed for a liquor license at North Oakland soul food restaurant Dorsey’s Locker. The new restaurant, Blue Bay Bar and Grill, has been issued a temporary license and Dorsey’s appears to be transferring its license to the new restaurant. As of publication, neither party has responded to email requests for comment. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.


A Taste of Africa when it popped up at Bar 389. Photo: Kate Williams
A Taste of Africa when it popped up at Bar 389. Photo: Kate Williams

TASTE OF AFRICA GETS A HOME Two years ago, we visited A Taste of Africa‘s pop-up at Oakland bar Room 389 and fell for chef Malong Pendar’s Cameroonian cuisine. Since then, Pendar struggled through a series of financial troubles and almost shut down his business, according to the East Bay Express. Fortunately for Pendar and all of his fans, he was able to crowd-fund enough money to make a comeback, and he has opened a new brick-and-mortar restaurant in East Oakland. The restaurant, also called A Taste of Africa, is currently in soft opening mode and is only serving dinner Tuesdays through Fridays. On the menu are Pendar’s signature vegetarian dishes like ginger-spiced yams, stewed black-eyed peas, jollof rice, and a peanut-spinach stew (ndole), to which diners can add chicken, fish, shrimp, lamb, or oaxtails. Pendar is also experimenting with fish and chicken sliders, African “burritos,” and banana leaf-wrapped steamed cakes made from black eyed peas. A Taste of Africa is at 6638 Bancroft Ave. (at Havenscourt Boulevard), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

OASIS GRILL EXPANDS TO GRAND The Telegraph Avenue Middle Eastern restaurant and grocery store has opened a stand-alone restaurant on Grand Avenue. Oasis Grill is a casual restaurant that serves falafel, kebabs, and shawarma sliced from a vertical spit, according to East Bay Express. The owners have also opened a hooka lounge upstairs and plan to eventually open an ice cream shop, called Icey Cream, next door. Oasis Grill is at 344 Grand Ave. (between Perkins and Lee Streets), Oakland.

Classic Cars West.
Classic Cars West.

HELLA VEGAN EATS TO CLASSIC CARS WEST Exciting news for vegan beer lovers — San Francisco’s Hella Vegan Eats is joining the new beer garden at Classic Cars West in Uptown this summer. We told you earlier this year that the vintage car dealership would be adding food and drink to its Friday evening hours. Now we’ve learned that Hella Vegan will be providing the food component. Inside Scoop reports that the menu will include a full selection of Hella Vegan dishes, like its fried “chicken” and biscuit sandwich, potsticker burrito, hash tacos, and smoked seitan reuben. Hella Vegan will serve Thursdays through Sundays, starting mid-summer. Classic Cars West is at 411 26th St. (between Telegraph Avenue and Broadway), Oakland. Connect with Hella Vegan Eats on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What else is going on…

Red Bay Coffee Roasting Company employees. Photo: Red Bay/Kickstarter
Red Bay Coffee employees. Photo: Red Bay/Kickstarter

RED BAY COFFEE Oakland roaster Red Bay Coffee has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for its first worker profit-sharing coffee bar to be opened in Uptown’s Hive complex. Red Bay Coffee is passionate about providing living-wage jobs to its employees and hopes to use this first coffee bar as a proof-of-concept for its business model. As it explains on its Kickstarter, all of the profits from the coffee bar will be divided up between employees and that the business model represents a place where “education meets commerce.” Indeed, training and education will play a large part in the coffee bar: “By design, the employees of the​ Red Bay Coffee Bar are an integral part of the business model,” explained owner Kebe Konte on the Kickstarter page. “We’ve designed a process that incentivizes a​n understanding of how the business works. Fellow workers grow and share their profit, and over time, they’ll be supported in crafting and starting their own successful companies.” Red Bay Coffee is also throwing a party to celebrate and raise awareness for the Kickstarter campaign on May 9 at OwlNWood. Learn more about the Kickstarter here and the party here.

Alice Medrich. Photo: Deborah Jones
Alice Medrich. Photo: Deborah Jones

ALICE MEDRICH WINS JAMES BEARD AWARD Berkeley-based cookbook author Alice Medrich took home a James Beard Award for her newest work, Flavor Flours. The book, which explores baking classic desserts with non-wheat flours, was honored in the Baking and Dessert category. Medrich will be leading a discussion on the book at the The Pasta Shop in Rockridge’s Market Hall on May 9 from 2-4 p.m. The event will also include tastings of desserts from the book as well as a book signing. Rockridge Market Hall is at 5655 College Ave (at Shafter Avenue), Oakland.

Mary Berry. Photo: Oliveto
Mary Berry. Photo: Oliveto

OLIVETO COMMONS WELCOMES MARY BERRY Rockridge’s Oliveto restaurant is hosting Mary Berry, daughter of Wendell Berry, as a part of Oliveto Commons, “a series of lectures, classes, workshops, and discussions designed to better engage with the neighborhood and offer a venue for a connected community.” Berry is the executive director of The Berry Center, which continues the work of her father. At the event on May 3, Berry will likely discuss her own work as an organic farmer in Kentucky as well as the health of farm communities and local food economies across the country. Learn more about the event and purchase tickets here. Oliveto is at 5655 College Ave. (at Shafter Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House. Photo: Nancy Rubin

HIMALAYAN TANDOORI AND CURRY HOUSE GIVES TO NEPAL The Solano Avenue Himalayan restaurant will be donating 10% of its sales between today and May 15 to earthquake relief efforts in Nepal. Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House is not the only area organization raising funds. The Berkeley-based Seva Foundation has also established its own relief fund. Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House is at 1645 Solano Ave. (at Tacoma Avenue), Berkeley.


Comal. Photo: Postcard PR
Comal. Photo: Postcard PR

CINCO DE MAYO IN THE EAST BAY Get your fill of tacos and margaritas this Tuesday on Cinco de Mayo. Several East Bay restaurants are in on the action. Berkeley’s Comal will be throwing a party, complete with a special Oaxacan snack: a fried masa cake topped with grasshoppers. For the less adventurous, bar manager Matthew Campbell has created a special cocktail featuring both mezcal and rum. DJ Jose Ruiz will be spinning an all-Mexican playlist. Also in Berkeley, the Hotel Shattuck’s FIVE restaurant will serve a five-course tequila pairing menu. Each course will be paired with a cocktail made with Berkeley-based Tres Agaves tequila. Tres Agaves founder Barry Augus will also give a talk to guests. In Oakland, soon-to-open Calavera will pop-up at sister restaurant Lungomare. The event will essentially be a preview for the forthcoming restaurant’s menu, and it will include dishes such as bistec asado (grilled marinated steak) and coctel de camaron (shrimp cocktail), plus plenty of drinks. Nearby, Plank will also be celebrating with tacos, tequila and a Mariachi band. For those who can’t get out on Tuesday night, Chop Bar is celebrating Cinco de Mayo all week long. Its entire menu will consist of Mexican dishes, such as oxtail mole, coctel de siete mares (seafood cocktail), and pescado zarandeado (whole broiled snapper). Comal is at 2020 Shattuck Ave. (at University Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. FIVE Restaurant is at 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. Lungomore is at One Broadway (at Water Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twtter. Plank is at 98 Broadway (at Embarcadero West), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Chop Bar is at 247 Fourth St. (at Alice Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

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