GENOVA DELI’S LAST DAY IS SATURDAY Get in for your Italian combo fix while you can, because Genova Delicatessen‘s last day will be April 30. “We are humbled by all the good wishes and love from the community and want to thank you for so many years of support,” wrote the deli’s owners on its website. The 90-year-old Italian deli in Oakland’s Temescal district had announced in February that it may be forced to close due to a rent dispute with its landlord. However, in a story in the San Jose Mercury News, co-owner David DeVincenzi’s wife Patti said that other rising costs were a bigger contributor in the decision to close. They didn’t want to be forced to raise prices. “The cost of doing business is to the point now where it became uncomfortable,” she said. David DeVincenzi told the San Francisco Chronicle that the family is working on finding a new location in Oakland, but was unwilling to hint at where that location may be. In the meantime, the Genova factory on Broadway, the Napa store, and the two Genova Deli locations in Walnut Creek (owned by another branch of the family) remain open. And, according to the Mercury News, the property owners at Temescal Plaza are looking for a new local deli operator to open in the space; property representative John Dobrovich said he hopes the new tenant will hire some of the former Genova employees. Genova Delicatessen is at 5095 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland. Connect with the deli on Facebook.
PEOPLE’S CAFÉ REEMERGES AS BERKELEY COFFEE COMPANY In February, we broke the news that People’s Cafè had closed to make way for two new businesses — Blue Bottle Coffee and Ipuddo NY. The cafè, which was popular with Cal students, did not have its lease renewed once it expired in January. However, we hear from the Daily Cal that it has reopened under the name Berkeley Coffee Company across the street at 61 Shattuck Sq. The name was changed because Berkeley Coffee Company was originally going to operate simultaneously with People’s, so the lease had to be filed with a different name. Owner Mohammed Almahbashi told the Daily Cal that the new cafè will retain its old employees, low prices, and menu items that range from Mediterranean cuisine to all-day breakfast sandwiches. Berkeley Coffee Company is at 61 Shattuck Sq. (at University Avenue), Berkeley.
THE WOLF AIMS FOR NOVEMBER Last summer, we broke the news that Bay Wolf, the iconic Oakland restaurant, would close after 40 years in business. We later learned that Rich and Rebekah Wood, the owners of Rockridge’s Wood Tavern and Southie, would be taking over the space. Now we hear from Inside Scoop that the new restaurant will be called The Wolf, in homage to its former occupant. Rich Wood told the Scoop that The Wolf will maintain the “intimate and familial neighborhood vibe” of Bay Wolf, and it will serve dishes along the lines of fried veal sweetbreads with capers, Meyer lemon, toasted garlic and fine herbs; Maple Leaf duck breast with Anson Mills polenta, wild mushrooms, Fresno chiles, cavalo nero and aged balsamic; and fried apple pies with crème fraiche ice cream. Chef Yang Peng, who is also in the kitchen at Wood Tavern and Southie, will oversee the menu at The Wolf. Wood hopes to open in the early part of November, and will serve lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Monday-Saturday. The Wolf will be at 3865 Piedmont Ave. (at Rio Vista Avenue), Oakland.
DELAGE IN SOFT OPENING In December, we learned that AS B-Dama owner Chikara Ono was planning to open a new sushi-focused restaurant in Swan’s Marketplace. That restaurant, called Delage, is now in soft opening. Ono told the East Bay Express that the opening chef is Masa Sasaki, who helped San Francisco’s Maruya earn a Michelin star. Sasaki will likely stick around in the kitchen for a few months before handing the reins to Ono or one of his sous chefs from B-Dama. The sushi menu will be traditional and nigiri-heavy, while the appetizers will skew towards modern dishes with a slight French bent. (Ono has hired Keisuke Akabori, formerly of Los Angeles’s Spago, to manage that part of the menu.) During soft opening, Delage will only offer omakase, a prix-fixe menu in which the sequence of dishes is chosen at the chef’s whim. The $50 soft opening menu menu consists of about ten hot and cold appetizers, plus eight to ten pieces of sushi. For now, Delage is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30-9 p.m. Ono plans to hold a grand opening sometime in May. Delage is at 536 Ninth St. (between Clay and Washington Streets), Oakland.
COOKIEBAR CREAMERY NOW OPEN IN OLD OAKLAND Around the block from Delage, the second location for popular Alameda ice cream shop Cookiebar Creamery has opened. It is holding its grand opening celebration, complete with free scoops of ice cream, today. The Oakland location has a slightly expanded menu from the original, featuring about 20 types of ice cream — in flavors ranging from the simple (Madagascar vanilla bean) to the borderline nutty (Fruity Pepples and blueberry pancake) — and about 16 types of cookies. Cookiebar Creamery is at 517 Eighth St. (between Clay and Washington streets), Oakland. Connect with the ice cream shop on Facebook and Instagram.
MONTCLAIR BAKING IS NOW BATCH PASTRIES The 26-year-old bakery Montclair Baking has been sold to Emily Buysse of Batch Pastries, a three-year-old wholesale bakery. Buysse wrote on her website that she will not be “getting rid of Montclair Baking;” rather she will be combining the two different concepts “under one roof, updating and refocusing them into one to better serve the Montclair, Oakland, and East Bay communities.” The new bakery will offer a selection of morning items, cookies, cakes and individual pastries, all made with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Montclair Baking was opened by Cherly Lew in 1990, and it became known for its diverse assortment pastries and cakes. Buysse says that the new Batch Pastries will “retain much of what makes it a vital part of the community. We’re excited to refocus, refresh, and revitalize this gem of a bakery, while remaining true to our roots and history.” Batch Pastries is at 2220 Mountain Blvd., Ste. 140 (between Scout and Snake roads), Oakland. Connect with the bakery on Twitter and Instagram.
ROOFTOP NOW OPEN IN WALNUT CREEK The second restaurant to open in Walnut Creek’s splashy new development at 1500 Mt. Diablo Blvd. is now open. Rooftop Restaurant and Bar is, appropriately, on the rooftop of the building (above Telefèric), and is decked out with a living wall, 360-degree views, and a fully retractable canopy that can cover the seating when it rains. Owner Jim Telford told Inside Scoop that Rooftop is focusing on “New American” shared plates (emphasis: comfort food), and he has brought on Justine Kelly, formerly the chef de cuisine at San Francisco’s Slanted Door, to run the kitchen. Small plates include items like crispy beer battered green beans, crispy lamb meatballs with Greek yogurt, and hamachi kama with pea shoots. Larger offerings include banana leaf wrapped black cod, smothered pork shank and a Niman Ranch ribeye. The drinks list is extensive, with an emphasis on cocktails and wine by the glass. Rooftop is at 1500 Mount Diablo Blvd. (at South Main Street), Walnut Creek. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
Dinners and events…
CINCO TORTAS DE MAYO AT THE LOCAL BUTCHER Berkeley’s Local Butcher Shop is starting its Cinco de Mayo celebration early. Its fourth annual “Cinco Tortas de Mayo” event begins this Saturday with beef-based taco menu. Special tortas, courtesy of prepared foods chef Kel Troughton, will be served May 1-5. Troughton said in an email that the event started “because I always want to be making Mexican food, and the Rocchino’s both humor and encourage me as best they can.” Indeed, Troughton said he could trace his Mexican food obsession to “my first burrito at La Cumbre in San Francisco at at six.” The Mexican-inspired sandwiches will feature everything from citrus marinated pork roast to soft-boiled eggs and delicata squash. You can find the full menu here. The Local Butcher is at 1600 Shattuck Ave. (at Cedar Street), Berkeley. Connect with the butcher shop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
ELOTES AND POZOLE AT COMAL Also in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Berkeley’s Comal will be adding elotes — Mexican street corngrilled over coals and finished with chipotle aioli, cotija cheese and fresh cilantro — to the menu. It will debut on Comal’s fourth anniversary May 4, and will stay on the menu for the rest of the summer. Comal is also adding pozole to its menu starting at 9 p.m. each night. The soup will feature pork, chiles and hominy, and each $10 will also include a choice of a michelada or a can of Tecate. Comal is at 2020 Shattuck Ave (between University Avenue and Addison Street). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
What else is going on…
12 EAST BAY RESTAURANTS MAKE CHRON’S TOP 100 Michael Bauer dropped his annual Top 100 listing online this week. Premiering for the first time is James Syhabout’s Michelin-starred Commis in Oakland, which Bauer calls “one of the best fine dining bargains in the Bay Area.” The other Oakland restaurants that made the cut were A16 Rockridge (its first appearance on the list), Camino, Hawker Fare, Pizzaiolo, Boot and Shoe Service, and Ramen Shop. In Berkeley, Bauer once again highlighted Chez Panisse, and kept Comal, Ippuku and Iyasare on the list. He also gave a nod to Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa for the second year in a row. You can read the full list here. (The list is under a pay wall for subscribers until Sunday.)