Author Archives: Kate Williams

Bites: Noodles Fresh opens, Victory Point is close

Victory Point Cafe is wrapping up construction. Photo: Victory Point/Kickstarter
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Openings, closings…

VICTORY POINT CAFÉ AIMS FOR SEPTEMBER While the owners of the upcoming Victory Point Café on Shattuck Avenue initially hoped to open the doors on their board game-themed spot this month, they are now looking at a September opening. We read on the café’s Kickstarter page that construction plans to wrap up by Aug. 31, with a soft opening scheduled for Sept. 1. Victory Point is also still waiting on its beer and wine license, so guests will likely have to make do with coffee, tea and sandwiches while playing one of the café’s 650 board games. Victory Point Café will be at 1797-A Shattuck Ave. (between Francisco and Delaware streets), Berkeley. Connect with the café on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Oakland Crush store to celebrate small wineries

Oakland Crush interior. Rendering courtesy: Medium Plenty
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For 20 years, Erin Coburn worked to make art more accessible. Now she’s shifting her focus to something more potable — wine. Sustainably produced, small-batch, delicious wine.

Coburn, a former museum administrator, has been quietly building a new wine store in Oakland’s Jack London Square. Called Oakland Crush, the store will showcase wines from small-production, independent wineries, many of which (of course) are local to Northern California. As is typical with many newer wine shops, Oakland Crush will also include a tasting area. There, Coburn hopes to host wine tastings a couple days a week.

Read more East Bay wine stories on Nosh!

But she’s quick to note that Oakland Crush will not be a bar. It will focus on bottle sales and events. She wants to highlight the producers themselves: winemakers will be a consistent presence at the tastings. And she wants to keep things low key. “I want to bring people together to learn about wine in an accessible way,” she said. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Bucci’s and The Growlers’ Arms both closing

Calamari from Bucci's in Emeryville, which will serve its last dinner on Sept. 30. Photo: Bucci's/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

BUCCI’S TO CLOSE SEPT. 30 East Coast-syle Italian joint Bucci’s will have its last day of operation Sept. 30. The popular Emeryville restaurant has been in operation for nearly 30 years, serving up classics like spaghetti and meatballs, gnocchi, fried calamari and pizzas to a rapidly changing dining market. Co-owner Amelia Bucci told the Bay Area News Group that she and and the other owners have decided to retire. “[Co-owner] Paul [Camardo] and I are 70-plus, and we’ve been doing this a long time,” she said. “This is a good time to say goodbye.” The E’Ville Eye speculates that the closure also may be linked to the recent increase in Emeryville’s minimum wage. According to the Eye, Bucci’s had raised its prices and added a $2.50 per person service charge to accommodate increased wages. No word yet on what will be headed to the Bucci’s space next; however, its location near the new Branch Line bar, Prizefighter and Rotten City Pizza may likely prove to be a hot ticket for prospective bar and restaurant owners. Bucci’s is at 6121 Hollis St. (at Doyle Street), Emeryville.Continue reading »

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Recipe: Homemade sauerkraut is easy and fun

Homemade caraway sauerkraut. Photo: Kate Williams
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By Kate Williams/Bay Area Bites

Great tasting raw sauerkraut is not hard to find in grocery stores in the Bay Area, and store-bought ‘kraut is a perfect choice for a last-minute fermented cabbage emergency. (Hey, you don’t have those?) But nothing can really compare to the simple pleasures of making your own sauerkraut at home. It’s almost criminally easy to ferment cabbage, plus DIY sauerkraut is an excellent place to get creative and experiment. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Little Giant launches, Ramen Shop expands

Little Giant Ice Cream launched in Uptown August 7. Photo: Little Giant/Facebook
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Openings, closings

LITTLE GIANT ICE CREAM NOW SCOOPING Last month, we shared news on Little Giant, the new ice cream shop headed to Uptown Oakland. The scoop shop debuted its ice cream last Friday, Aug. 7, during the First Friday celebrations. Little Giant Ice Cream is serving “American premium hard scoop” ice cream made from scratch on site in a wide array of ice cream flavors, from standard options like vanilla and salted caramel to savory and booze-filled varieties. Little Giant Ice Cream is at 1951 Telegraph Ave. (at 20th Street), Oakland. Connect with the shop on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Developers hope to keep Pyramid a beer destination

Retail West, Inc. plans to divide up the Pyramid Alehouse building into several smaller breweries and retail spaces. Image: Retail West, Inc.
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Many local beer drinkers were surprised to learn of the abrupt closure of West Berkeley’s long-running Pyramid Alehouse last month. The closure was part of a consolidation effort on the part of Pyramid’s parent company, North American Breweries, which says it is shifting focus to its Portland and Seattle locations. Now, Retail West Inc., the group behind the Gilman District’s recent spate of development, hopes to transform the 114,000-square-foot building into a “collective campus of makers, food producers, brewers and distillers,” said Matt Holmes, a principal at the firm.

Retail West is collaborating with the Oakland-based real estate group Colliers International on the project, which will potentially divide the building into a series of smaller breweries (with associated tasting rooms), distilleries and retail spaces. Holmes also plans to build out a shared kitchen for up to 40 small food businesses, which could then sell their wares in the retail area. Retail West is currently in talks with two breweries who are interested in leasing part of the space. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Salsipuedes, Crispian Bakery open, more

Shishito peppers, fruit and salt plum from North Oakland's Salsipuedes, which is now in its soft opening. Photo: Salsipuedes
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Openings, closings

SALSIPUEDES NOW IN SOFT OPENING Salsipuedes, the long-awaited North Oakland project from Jay Porter, Marcus Krauss and Bradford Taylor is officially in soft opening mode as of August 5. The restaurant will be open for dinner (no reservations) Tuesdays through Saturdays, and has tentatively scheduled a grand opening for August 20. Krauss, who is heading up the kitchen, has developed a menu focusing on “seaside barbecue” and California cuisine; menu highlights include black cod with yuzu ponzu and serrano peppers, corn two ways with salmon roe, and octopus melt bao with Oregon shrimp and cracklings. Wine comes courtesy of Taylor, the owner of Oakland’s Ordinaire wine shop, and it includes coastal and maritime wines from the Pacific, Mediterranean, Adriatic and Sicilian growing regions. Desserts will include creative ice creams (think flavors like fresh corn and nopales) from Luis Abundis of Nieves Cinco de Mayo. Salsipuedes will be at 4201 Market St. (at 42nd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Drake’s set to open Oakland outpost this month

Drake's Brewing Company, which is based in San Leandro, is expanding into the Hive Oakland complex in Uptown. Photo: Drake's/Facebook
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Uptown Oakland is quickly becoming a destination for outdoor craft beer tippling. Soon to join the Telegraph Beer Garden, Lost and Found and the cozy patios at bars like Beer Revolution and The Trappist is Drake’s Dealership, a restaurant and beer garden from San Leandro-based Drake’s Brewing Company.

Drake’s Dealership will open this month as part of the Hive Oakland complex on Broadway’s Auto Row, and it will feature wood-fired pizza, 32 beers on tap and a “brewery store” with a growler station in addition to an open-air beer garden. Its name is a reference to the original occupants of the 100-year-old building — a Dodge dealership that operated through the 1950s. Drake’s Dealership was designed by Flynn Architecture and Farm League Design (the folks behind Berkeley’s East Bay Spice Company, Tigerlily and Westbrae Biergarten). … Continue reading »

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Bites: The Advocate, Source Mini replacement

John Griffiths, executive chef at The Advocate. Photo: Postcard PR
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Openings, closings…

THE ADVOCATE GETTING CLOSE The Elmwood’s contentious new restaurant, The Advocate, is slated to open at the beginning of August. The restaurant has secured its liquor license and is in the process of passing its final inspections. As we reported in June, The Advocate will offer a menu of dishes inspired by southern Mediterranean and Moroccan/North African cooking, “all viewed through a Northern Californian lens,” according to owners Andrew Hoffman and John Paluska. Paluska and Hoffman have recruited John Griffiths to be the new restaurant’s executive chef. Griffiths was most recently at The Kitchen in Sacramento, a well-known spot where food is treated as theater and chefs are expected to emcee as well as to cook. Griffiths left The Kitchen in October after 16 months in the job to join The Advocate. The Michigan native was the opening chef at Larry Forgione’s An American Place in St. Louis, and was later executive chef at Truffles in the same city. He has been working with The Advocate team since December 2014. The Advocate will be at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Dana Bushouse brews unique, ‘crooked’ hard cider

Dana Bushouse (right) with Karen Kilkenny of Prickly Pig Barbecue, is launching Crooked City Cider in the East Bay. Photo: Dana Bushouse
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Dana Bushouse has a family history with booze production — her great uncles were big moonshiners during Prohibition. “Rumor was they worked with Al Capone, and they were running all of southern Michigan and northern Indiana,” she said. “It was a big family shame, nobody talked about it. I could never get details. My grandfather disowned that side of the family.”

But instead of hiding from her ancestors, Bushouse found inspiration in their less-than-legal profession. She originally wanted to get into beer brewing, but a stint on a cleansing diet turned Bushouse onto naturally gluten-free hard cider.

“Cider was refreshing at first, but it was so sweet. The stuff that was on the market, I could drink two, and then I was just like, ‘I’m going home, sugar crash, done,'” she said. “So I started wondering if I could make my own. I started researching and traveling. Every vacation I went on was based around visiting a cidery.” … Continue reading »

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NOSH neighborhood guide: Berkeley Warehouse

The Rare Barrel. Photo: Adam Chandler/Flickr
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We know that there’s more to East Bay dining than Temescal, Rockridge and the Gourmet Ghetto. NOSH’s neighborhood guides explore the best of the rest. This month, we explore Berkeley’s warehouse district on the west side of town.

Okay, so the Warehouse District isn’t a defined neighborhood per se, but the strip of West Berkeley between San Pablo and the Bay is chock-full of old manufacturing buildings and delicious food businesses all the same. We’ve defined the north and south borders at University and Ashby, respectively. Feel free to dispute in the comments. Below are our picks for the best bites and tipples in the area; check out the map to find out precisely where they are. … Continue reading »

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Farley’s launches employee profit-sharing program

Farley's 65th, Emeryville. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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When Chris and Amy Hillyard opened Farley’s East coffee shop in Uptown Oakland in 2009, they knew they wanted to involve their employees in the business in a more inclusive way than is typical for a coffee shop. It took them six years, but they have now launched a profit-sharing program for all of their employees across the three Bay Area Farley’s locations.

The Hillyards announced the program at Farley’s first all-staff meeting last week. “Farley’s is proud to share the success of the business with the people who are core to that success: our employees,” the Hillyards wrote in a Facebook announcement July 21. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Grand Lake Kitchen expansion, Trouble Coffee

Grand Lake Kitchen, Name that nosh. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

GRAND LAKE KITCHEN BEGINS EXPANSION Business has been good for Grand Lake Kitchen, the sandwich-slinging neighborhood deli on Oakland’s Grand Avenue. Co-owner May Seto Wasem tells us  that they have just begun construction on the previously vacant storefront next-door. The expansion will double the seating capacity of the restaurant and allow for larger groups (and reservations). Plus, the larger Grand Lake Kitchen will have a full bar — a big plus for anyone stopping in for dinner. Wasem said that the new space needs “quite a bit of work” as far as seismic retrofitting and the sewer system are concerned. She hopes to open in the larger space at some point this fall. Grand Lake Kitchen is at 576 Grand Ave. (between MacArthur Boulevard and Euclid Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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