Bites: Troy on College to close, Picante ends curbside pickup, Tofu Hackathon

Photo: Lance Knobel

TROY IN THE ELMWOOD TO CLOSE Berkeleyside reader Thomas Eng alerted Nosh that six-year-old Elmwood restaurant, Troy Greek Cuisine, will be closing. Nosh confirmed the news with the restaurant’s regional manager Hannah Le via email. Le wrote, “We are closing the Troy location on College Avenue on the 15th of November. We still have our sister location in Berkeley at 1843 Solano Ave. as well as locations in Alameda and San Francisco.” Le said that Troy decided to close the College Avenue restaurant because it was too expensive to keep both Berkeley locations open. She added that a burger restaurant will be taking its place. Before Troy opened in 2011, the space was occupied by Marc 49 before it moved to Temescal and before that, Flame Burger. Troy offers affordable Mediterranean food, like gyro, kebab and souvlaki wraps, plates and salads, moussaka and mezza — offered with their addictive spicy green and red sauces in plastic squeeze bottles. If you’re a Troy fan living near the Elmwood, you’ll want to pay your respects (and get those Greek fries) before next Wednesday. Troy is at 2985 College Ave. (between Ashby and Webster), Berkeley

WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS Another Berkeleyside reader, David Chapman, shared a tip that West Berkeley Mexican restaurant Picante is no longer offering its curbside pickup service. Picante first launched curbside pickup in 2012, offering customers a way to grab food from the popular eatery during its busy evening service, all without having to find parking or even get out of the car. Customers who placed to-go food orders could pay for and pickup their order with an attendant outside, while temporarily parked in a designated area in front of the restaurant.

Nosh spoke with Picante owner Jim Maser who said he personally decided to end the service a couple of weeks ago, not because it wasn’t popular, but because it was becoming a traffic hazard. “It was an accident waiting to happen,” Maser said. “My job is to solve problems before they happen.”

He added that in the last two years, Sixth Street, where the restaurant is located, has seen an influx of car traffic. On top of that, he witnessed pickup customers making illegal u-turns and violating traffic rules. The restaurant made a policy to refuse service to these hazardous rule-breakers as a way to curb the reckless driving, but in the end, Maser decided, “The overall traffic situation is beyond working with.” Fortunately, Picante has two parking lots, and there’s usually street parking nearby — and if not, just think of it as a way to walk off that super burrito you’re about to eat. Picante is at 1328 6th St. (between Gilman and Camilia), Berkeley 


TOFU, DISRUPTED Hodo Soy is about to get hacked. No, it’s not a nefarious plot to overturn the Oakland-based tofu manufacturer, but an event that UC Berkeley’s FoodInno hopes will get more people excited about its tofu and yuba. While Bay Area omnivorous locavores may already be familiar with Hodo, how does the company market to tofu newbs or an older Asian population that’s not yet heard of the brand? These are questions that will be addressed and attempted to be solved at FoodInno’s Tofu Hackathon with Hodo Soy. Participants will form or join teams to come up with innovative ideas on marketing Hodo’s products to different audiences. Industry professionals will help mentor the teams in creating a pitch that will be scored by a panel of judges. All that innovative thinking will surely work up an appetite, so free lunch (Chipotle burritos and Sweetgreen salads) featuring Hodo Soy products and snacks from Ladera foods will be provided to participants. Admission is free for students, $5 for general public, but all participants must register on Eventbrite. Tofu Hackathon with Hodo Soy takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Haas Innovation Lab, California Memorial Stadium, 2227 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley.

The pulled pork sandwich from 4505 Burgers & BBQ. Photo: 4505 Burgers & BBQ

TWO NEW CAVIAR POP-UPS  Food delivery service Caviar recently announced two new East Bay delivery pop-ups. Both are meaty and finger lickin’ good.

First up, San Francisco’s 4505 Burgers & BBQ will be available in the East Bay via delivery during dinner service (5 to 9 p.m.) on Thursdays through Sundays. This promotion will be available until the 4505 location in Oakland opens. As Nosh reported last year, Ryan Farr’s second outpost of 4505 Burgers & BBQ will be in the former Glenn’s Hot Dogs location in the Laurel. The Oakland spot will open sometime in spring 2018.

And this week, Caviar will be adding another limited-edition pop-up to its roster, this one from a restaurant a bit farther than San Francisco — Honey Butter Fried Chicken from the Windy City. This fast-casual fried chicken restaurant first opened in 2013 in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood, where fans flock to get crispy fried chicken served with honey butter, as well as sandwiches, salads and sides. Honey Butter Fried Chicken will be available for delivery via Caviar from Thursday, Nov. 9 through Sunday, Nov. 12 only. The food will be prepared and delivered from the Caviar Commissary at Forage Kitchen in Oakland. Caviar says these out-of-town pop-ups allow restaurants to test in different markets, but at this time there is no plan to open a permanent Bay Area HBFC, so don’t count your honey butter fried chickens before they’re hatched.

HAWKER FARE ALUM TO OPEN NEW THAI SPOT West Berkeley is set to get a new Thai restaurant next year. According to Inside Scoop, Supasit Puttikaew, who was most recently chef de cuisine at James Syhabout’s Hawker Fare in San Francisco, is opening Funky Elephant in the Gilman District, in the space once occupied by Doughnut Dolly, which closed in February. Puttikaew is still developing his menu, but he plans to serve Thai comfort food that he and his family regularly eat; that includes standards like pad Thai. If all goes as planned, Funky Elephant will open in early 2018. Funky Elephant will be at 1313 Ninth St. (at Gilman), Berkeley


Photo: Wine Mystery Tour

MAGICAL WINE MYSTERY TOUR OK, there’s no magic involved but if you like wine and you like surprises, Sip and Swirl’s Wine Mystery Tour could be a fun afternoon for you. Guests purchase tickets for one of three dates (Nov. 18, Dec. 9 or Jan. 13) and select a pickup location (West Oakland BART, Dublin/Pleasanton BART or Hayward BART), but will not know where they’ll be tasting wines until they’re picked up and heading toward the location. One week before the event, guests will receive clues about the location, as well as instructions on what to wear and info about tasting fees, which are not included with ticket cost. Transportation, snacks and drinks, however, will be provided.

WHAT WOULD ODYSSEUS DRINK? “It is the wine that leads me on, the wild wine that sets the wisest man to sing at the top of his lungs, laugh like a fool – it drives the man to dancing… it even tempts him to blurt out stories better never told,” once wrote the wise poet, Homer, in his Classical tale, “The Odyssey.” Wine, it turns out, also leads archaeologists, educators and wine professionals to dream up events like The Wines of the Odyssey. Guests to this unique literary-culinary mashup will taste 10 wines that Homer’s Greek hero, Odysseus, could have imbibed on his ten-year adventure-filled journey home to Ithaca, along with Mediterranean food pairings. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Society for Humanitarian Archaeological Research and Exploration. The Wines of the Odyssey takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Solano Cellars, 1580 Solano Ave. A (at Tacoma), Berkeley

GOTT’S ROADSIDE TO OPEN FIRST EAST BAY LOCATION Northern California boutique burger chain, Gott’s Roadside, has announced that it will open its first East Bay location in Walnut Creek. Gott’s first opened in 1999 in St. Helena, when brothers Joel and Duncan Gott took over a roadside diner called Taylor’s Refresher and gave it a high-end makeover, offering classic burger shack comfort food made with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Following its success, Gott’s opened three more locations in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, Napa’s Oxbow Public Market and Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village. Gott’s Walnut Creek will open in outdoor shopping district, Broadway Plaza in early December. Gott’s Roadside will be at 1275 S. Main St. (at Botelho), Walnut Creek