TCHO Chocolate, B-Side Baking, Bopshop

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TCHO Chocolate is now making chocolate in Berkeley’s Marchant Building at 3100 San Pablo Ave. Photo: Colliers International

Openings, closings…

TCHO QUIETLY MOVED TO BERKELEY Back in February 2014, we announced that San Francisco’s TCHO Chocolate would be moving into the Marchant Building on the border of Berkeley and Oakland on San Pablo Avenue. While the company originally hoped to be up and running at its full capacity (public tours included), the move seems to have taken longer than anticipated. The new location is now fully operational as of November. The company, which was founded in 2005, has signed a 12-year lease, with an option to grow, for 49,000 square feet, part of a 395,000-square-foot property consisting of retail, office, R&D, and light industrial space. TCHO’s recently appointed CEO, Andrew Burke, told Nosh last year that the move was prompted by the need for more space as the company is growing fast. “We looked extensively for a long time, but could not find the space we needed in San Francisco. The Marchant Building was the ideal mixed-use space –manufacturing/warehouse/retail/office,” he said. The new location is more than 30% larger than the Pier 17 space, which had been the company’s headquarters for the past nine years. While TCHO has officially moved all of its operations into the building, it is not yet ready for tours. TCHO wrote on its website: “Our store and tours will make their return at some point, but we don’t have a date yet. Keep checking here for updates — we’ll announce it far and wide, shouting from the rooftops if necessary, when we’re finally ready. Thank you for your patience as we make our way through this phase of our relocation.” TCHO Chocolate is at 3100 San Pablo Ave. (between Folger Avenue and 67th Street), Berkeley. Connect with the chocolate company on Facebook and Twitter.

Bundt cake BSK
Spiced sweet potato bundt cake from B-Side Baking Co. Photo: Jody Horton

B-SIDE BAKING COMPANY LOOKS CLOSED In what may be bad news for B-Side fans, it looks like Tanya Holland’s bakery experiment may have not gone well. In March, she opened B-Side Baking Company in what was previously her barbecue restaurant, B-Side BBQ. While the bakery received many positive reviews, we’ve learned from Yelp that the bakery is currently closed. Lani R wrote in October: “Sadly looks like B-Side Baking might be closed. I bike past every day and haven’t seen it open for the past 2 weeks, plus there’s now tape covering up the sign & hours.” We’ve driven past the bakery and can confirm that it appears to be shuttered. Holland was not able to confirm the closure at this time, but promised that she will keep us posted. Our fingers are crossed that the closure is temporary. B-Side Baking Co. is at 3303 San Pablo Ave. (at 34th Street), Oakland.

Nature's Express has closed. Photo: Nature's Express
Nature’s Express will be replaced by a Korean restaurant called Bopshop. Photo: Nature’s Express

BOPSHOP MOVING INTO NATURE’S EXPRESS LOCATION Solano Avenue is about to get a second Korean restaurant. Bopshop Korean Kitchen has filed for an ABC license for a restaurant in the former Nature’s Express location on Solano Avenue. There aren’t many details on the new restaurant, but it will be located only a few blocks up the hill from popular bibimpap and Korean soup joint, Bowl’d. For the sake of variety, we are hoping for a Korean barbecue or fried-chicken joint. Nature’s Express officially closed in September after summer-long efforts to turn around the struggling vegan fast food restaurant. While we can’t say for sure, we expect the new tenant will be decidedly more meat-centric than Nature’s Express. We will keep you posted as we learn more. Bop Shop will be at 1823 Solano Ave. (at Colusa Avenue), Berkeley.

Sushi set lunch from B-Dama. Photo: Kate Williams
Sushi lunch set from B-Dama. Photo: Kate Williams

AS B-DAMA CHEF TO OPEN SECOND SWAN’S RESTAURANT Chikara Ono, the chef and owner of AS B-Dama in Swan’s Marketplace, is plotting a new sushi restaurant in the same building, according to East Bay Express. The small 25-seat eat-in sushi restaurant will take the place of 9th Street Cafe, a bubble tea spot, which is a standalone restaurant separate from the interior food court. Ono told EBX that he plans to offer “unique, harder-to-find varieties of sushi,” such as vegetable-centric sushi or unusual hand-rolls. It will not, Ono said, serve elaborate American-style rolls. Even more important to cost-conscious diners, the new restaurant will not be terribly expensive. Ono wants to use local seafood and keep prices in a “moderate” range. The sushi restaurant is yet to be named, but Ono plans to open in February or March. The new restaurant will be at 536 Ninth St. (between Clay and Washington Streets), Oakland.


I Squared KoboberyBELOTTI PASTA RESTAURANT TO ROCKRIDGE Although the neighborhood doesn’t lack for Italian restaurants, Rockridge will soon be home to a pasta-centric restaurant and to-go shop called Belotti Ristorante e Bottega. The restaurant, which is moving into the former Homespun Fare/I Squared Kabobery space at 5403 College Ave., is the newest venture from chef Michele Belotti, who had been at San Francisco’s Ristobar since 2011, reported Tablehopper. Belotti plans to offer housemade pastas, sauces and more, with the option to eat-in or take home. He hopes to open in January for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. We will keep you posted as the restaurant approaches its opening date.  Belotti Ristorante e Bottega will be at 5403 College Ave. (at Hudson Street), Oakland.

What else is going on…

The Dock. Photo: Vanessa Yap-Einbund
The Dock. Photo: Vanessa Yap-Einbund

THE DOCK SHIFTS CONCEPTS As of this week, James Syhabout’s restaurant, The Dock, is no longer a “small plates” spot, according to Inside Scoop. Syhabout brought Geoffrey Davis on board as chef de cuisine earlier this fall, and he has launched his own take on a “supper house-inspired” menu. A few of The Dock’s most popular items, like the caesar popcorn and jerk chicken wings, will remain, but much of the menu will be revamped to a more traditional a la carte format. Heartier dishes, like chocroute garni and toasted farro risotto, will be on the docket instead. Plus, The Dock will now be making all of its bread and biscuits in-house. The Dock is at 95 Linden St. (near 3rd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Twitter and Instagram.

Photo: Novel Brewing/Facebook
Photo: Novel Brewing/Facebook

NOVEL BREWING MAKING PROGRESS, FUNDRAISING We last brought you news about Novel Brewing Company in October. The North Oakland craft brewery is making progress on construction, but is now looking for help funding the last elements of the build-out. As owners Brian and Teresa Koloszyc write on their Indiegogo page, “Opening a brewery and tasting room is really freaking expensive!  We need your help. … The $25,000 raised through this campaign … will go a long way towards putting our glycol chiller on the roof, pouring a new slab of concrete in the cellar and brewery, and to create a welcoming space to exchange your wild yarns and novel ideas.” The Koloszycs say they are only “months away” from brewing their first batch of beer and they still plan to open the brewery’s tasting room by June 2016. Novel Brewing Company will be at 6510 San Pablo Ave. (at 65th Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Cookies from Standard Fare. Photo: Standard Fare
Cookies from Standard Fare. Photo: Standard Fare

MORE HOLIDAY DINING Last week, we brought you a big round-up of Christmas and New Year’s Eve events and specials, but more keep popping up on our radar. Some more interesting items: In Berkeley, Standard Fare is offering a special holiday menu to accent your Christmas table. Think buttery glazed Riverdog Farm carrots, potato and butternut squash gratins, and assorted holiday cookies. Holiday items must be ordered 24 hours in advance; pantry items are available for pick-up at the restaurant. The Advocate will be serving celebratory dishes during regular hours on New Year’s Eve. These items include scallop crudo with Meyer lemon and pistachios, oysters on the half shell with green apple and lime granita, rotisserie prime rib of beef with Sangiovese-marrow butter and crispy spigarello salad, and sausage-stuffed rabbit saddle over braised lentils with persimmon-celery root salsa. In Oakland, Calavera is serving a special menu starting on Christmas Eve and running through Dec. 30. Chef Christian Irabien is calling the menu La Fiesta de la Abuela, or “Grandmother’s Menu,” and it is inspired by his grandmother’s family’s recipes. Dishes, like Chile Guero Relleno de Bacalao (salt cod-stuffed Geuro Chiles) and Tamal de Calabaza estilo Yucatan
 (blue masa tamal, achiote rubbed winter squashes, salsa yucateca), can be ordered as a full tasting menu or as a la carte dishes alongside the regular Calavera menu. At Homestead, you can celebrate New Year’s Eve with a special prix fixe tasting menu that includes indulgent ingredients like American caviar, Maine lobster and Hudson Valley foie gras. Two seatings are available: the 5:00 to 6:30 seating will be served a $100 four-course meal and the 6:30 seatings will be served a $130 five-course meal and receive a complementary sparkling wine toast. Standard Fare is at 2701 8th Street #118 (at Carleton Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram. The Advocate is at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and InstagramCalavera is at 2337 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and InstagramHomestead is at 4029 Piedmont Ave. (at 40th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

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