Bites: La Boulangerie Oakland is open, Barclay’s in Berkeley has closed

A sign on Barclay’s Pub in Berkeley does not give an explanation for its closure. Photo: Natalie Orenstein

FAREWELL BARCLAY’S Barclay’s Restaurant and Pub in Berkeley has closed. This is a bit of surprising news, as the bar had just relocated to 2430 Shattuck Ave. in June 2017 from its original location on College Avenue, where it was open for close to 25 years. Just recently, Barclay’s was listed as a participant in Berkeley Restaurant Week, and it’s still being advertised as a host for a SF Beer Week event in February. Adding to the confusion, a handwritten note on its door says, “Barclay’s will be closed today (sorry for the inconvenience),” which seems to have a hopeful suggestion that it may reopen. But alas, it is not.

Our attempts to reach Barclay’s for an explanation have been unanswered, but general manager Derek Bromstead confirmed the closure on Barclays Resurgents Facebook page. On a post made by one of the Facebook group’s members on Jan. 18 about Barclay’s closing, Bromstead responded. He wrote, the “location and the move just took its toll on Gene [Bromstead, Barclay’s owner]. He was expecting more of the regulars to come out in the beginning, but the location just wasn’t as convenient as the old one, so visits were infrequent… it was essentially like starting from scratch, new customers had to be made, and that was taking longer than he thought, too. Things had finally been going in the right direction the last month or two, but it was apparently too late and Barclay’s was not profitable enough to be sustainable. So Gene pulled the plug.” So unfortunately, it sounds like the shutter is for good this time. We’re sorry to see you go, Barclay’s.

La Boulangerie in Rockridge. Photo: Sarah Han

LA BOULANGERIE OPENS As Nosh reported earlier this month, San Francisco bakery chain La Boulangerie has a new Oakland outpost. The Rockridge café opened today (Tuesday, Jan. 30), but it was already handing out “training goodies” on Monday in preparation for the big day.

Found within the former Pasta Pomodoro space, La Boulangerie Oakland is spacious and well-lit, with plenty of outdoor seating (and heat lamps that were on full blast this morning, perhaps to herald the opening?), which will be key once it starts to warm up again. As with its other locations, the College Avenue spot serves breakfast, sandwiches and tartines, salads and soups. When we stopped in this morning, a full staff was ready to make coffees and take orders from customers who were already streaming in. The pastry cases were full of croissants and other tempting, flaky pastries, as well as pre-made grab-and-go sandwiches and salads.

La Boulangerie was originally founded by Pascal Rigo in 1995. In 2012, he sold his Bay Area cafés to Starbucks, all of which the corporation closed just three years later. Rigo retook the brand a year later, and so far, has reopened seven cafés in San Francisco, and now this one in Oakland. La Boulangerie, 5500 College Ave. (at Lawton), Oakland

BICYCLE COFFEE IN UPTOWN SPOT GETS A FLAT The Uptown location of Oakland’s Bicycle Coffee is closed, but the company’s website reassures visitors that it’s only temporary. And don’t worry, the company’s Jack London roastery and café is still up and running, as usual. The Uptown spot is its second location — at 1745 San Pablo Ave. (at 18th) — which it opened in the summer of 2016 in the building shared with the New Parish venue. Bicycle took over the space after Mockingbird left to reopen in Downtown Oakland. Nosh reached out to Bicycle for comment, but have not heard a response. We’ll keep you updated on developments.

UNDERWOOD REOPENS WITH MAKEOVER In October, North Oakland’s Underwood temporarily closed its doors. The reason for closure was necessary roof repairs. But while they were fixing the roof, the neighborhood café-bar also decided to undergo some other big changes. About three months later, Underwood reopened Jan. 19 in its new format, with a new layout, an expanded food and drink menu and extended evening hours.

Hoodline reported that physical changes to the space include a “consolidated, family-style seating area on the first floor; a rejuvenated patio with sanded and polished benches and tables; and an improved roof.” For its food menu, it’s now offering bar bites like charcuterie and cheese boards, as well as sandwiches and toasts. As for the bar, the drinks menu will offer local brews and spirits made with seasonal ingredients. If coffee’s what you’re searching, you’ll need to wait; Hoodline reports the coffee program is not yet up and running, so stay tuned.

The new hours are still in flux, but Underwood plans to eventually be open from 6-11 a.m. for coffee, then from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m. for dinner and drinks. Underwood, 308 41st St. (between Emerald and Broadway), Oakland

Zazzi Foods in Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

CAFÉ FANNY GRANOLA BOWLS ARE HERE In October, Nosh got a sneak peek inside Cassandra Chen’s new café on University Avenue. Chen is the owner and producer of Café Fanny Granola and CC Made confections, and she offers both of these products at Zazzi Foods, which opened on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Zazzi is still in soft opening mode, Chen said when we visited last week on its third day in business. She hopes to use this time time to iron out wrinkles and get staff hands-on training before the official grand opening, which she said will happen in another week.

While Zazzi is still on the downlow, you can get most of its menu offerings, including an assortment of granola bowls, toasts, pastries and coffee drinks. Granola bowls here come with Straus Organic whole milk or non-fat Greek yogurt and include toppings like fresh berries, house-blended açaí, matcha or cacao and various other “superfood” toppings. The savory and sweet toasts are made with Acme pain au levain or pain de mie, and are loaded with fresh and seasonal housemade toppings. For your caffeine buzz, Zazzi uses Tartine’s Coffee Manufactory as its supplier, and adds rich CC Made chocolate and caramel sauces to its mochas and other flavored coffee drinks. Zazzi will eventually also offer soft serve, but for now, that’s still to come.

Zazzi Foods is in a large bright space, with a small retail store in the front, selling Café Fanny granola (which is made in the production space next door) and CC Made products, as well as a small selection of ceramic wares and other gifty items. Behind the retail area is a large cozy seating zone, with smaller pods of tables and chairs, as well as bench seating with pillows.

As for the name, you can thank Chen’s godson for it. As a young child, he couldn’t pronounce “Cassandra” and so he called his aunt “Zazzi.” Zazzi Foods, 1398 University Ave. (at Acton), Berkeley 

WINNER, WINNER CHICKEN DINNER Ari Feingold, co-owner and executive chef of Bay Area fast-casual restaurant, Proposition Chicken is donating $20,000 to Northern California fire relief funds, the prize money he won as a contestant on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games.” As first reported on J. Weekly, Feingold went on the show (which aired Jan. 17) with the singular goal of fundraising to help fire victims. “I knew going in that if I won, there was no other option,” he told J. Weekly. Feingold was victorious, winning with his signature fried chicken atop an Israeli salad spiced up with jalapeños, pepperoncini and mint. You can try his fried chicken at Prop C’s Oakland spot. Proposition Chicken, 3260 Lakeshore Ave. (between Lake Park and Trestle Glen), Oakland