Author Archives: Kate Williams

Bites: Ale Industries, Steel Rail Public House, more

A pint of beer at the Ale Industries tasting room. Photo: Ale Industries
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Openings, closings

ALE INDUSTRIES IS EXPANDING Fruitvale’s Ale Industries is growing rapidly, and, according to marketing director Joseph Gudino, has been working over capacity for “a while now.” While Ale Industries will continue to operate out of its current brewery space, it will increase its production capacity 150% by adding 2,200 bbl per year. It is also adding new routes and a more efficient delivery system so more customers can find Ale Industries beer more consistently. “This is an exciting move for us. We are definitely ready to start this next chapter of our journey,” said production manager Richard Angeles. Ale Industries has made a name for itself by making quirky, flavorful beers in a range of styles. As it writes on its website: “We unapologetically refuse to let our beers be categorized into styles, types, or profiles because we believe it relegates our vision of craft beer from a verb to a noun, from a spirit to a product.” The brewery has partnered frequently with The Half Orange and, before it closed, Salsipuedes. The newest Ale Industries beer to hit the taps will be a kiwi sour, which Gudino describes as “awesome.” Ale Industries is at 3096 E. 10th St. (between Fruitvale and Derby avenues), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Sisters finding success with Bowl’d restaurants

Jessica Oh (left) and Chi Moon, the owners of Bowl'd, Spoon and Bopshop, at Bowl'd Alameda. Photo: Clara Rice
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Chi Moon’s favorite Korean dish is bibimbap. “I had it for a whole year — every single day,” she said. “Beef with multigrain rice.” It’s a fitting choice for the co-owner of the rapidly growing mini-chain Bowl’d, which is, at its heart, a rice bowl restaurant.

Moon praised the dish’s health status — it’s vegetable heavy, with whole grains and just a small amount of meat — but heathy eats are not the only reason why so many East Bay residents flock to Moon’s restaurants. There’s also, of course, the chicken wings.

“We’ve kind of turned into a fried chicken place, somehow,” said Moon’s sister and business partner Jessica Oh. “We thought maybe we should change our name to a wing place.”

Bowl’d’s original fried chicken wings are served with an extra thick, supremely crisp crust, doused in a fiery red spicy-sweet sauce that sticks to your fingers, lips, chopsticks — anything. Despite the extra 10 to 15 minutes the wings take to arrive at the table, they’re a must-order for many guests, including this writer. “I think people would riot if we didn’t have wings on the menu,” said Oh.

They’re so popular, in fact, that when Moon and Oh decided to open their third location, Bowl’d BBQ in Temescal, they expanded their fried poultry line-up to full pieces of chicken and three sauces (soy, barbecue and spicy).

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Shiba Ramen, Triple Rock, Austin, more

Miso ramen from Shiba Ramen. Photo: Jake Freed
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Openings, closings

SHIBA RAMEN EXPANDING TO OAKLAND After less than a year in business in Emeryville’s Public Market, Shiba Ramen is opening a second location in downtown Oakland. The new space will be a 40-seat restaurant, unlike Shiba’s Emeryville spot, which operates out of a food court kiosk. It is moving into the old Bittersweet Café location at 1438 Broadway, which closed in May. “We’re going to build off the concept that we started in Emeryville,” said co-owner Jake Freed. “There are lots of limits with a kiosk.” While customers will still order at a counter at the Oakland location, there will be servers delivering food, which will be served in more traditional ceramic bowls. At lunch, Shiba Ramen Oakland will have a very similar menu to the Emeryville location, but at dinner, Freed plans to expand the menu to include more Japanese-inspired small plates and side dishes. There will be a stronger beer and sake focus in the evening as well. Crucially, Freed and co-owner Hiroko Nakamura have hired a menu director/kitchen manager, who will be developing new menu items. Freed was unable to name the new hire as of press time, but he did say that the hire had worked at a “well-known Oakland restaurant.” Construction on the new space has already begun; Freed told Nosh that he hopes to open in December. In the meantime, Shiba’s Emeryville location will be holding a ramen and beer tasting Sept. 17 from 1-5 p.m., featuring beers from 21st Amendment and Voodoo Brewing. There will be beer flights, happy hour pricing on all pints and $1 off all food with a beer purchase. Shiba Ramen Oakland will be at 1438 Broadway (between 14th and 15th streets), Oakland. Shiba Ramen Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Café Clem sold, will become Maison Bleue

Cafe Clem at 2020 Kittredge St. will reopen today after being close for three weeks. Photo: Café Clem
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After five years in downtown Berkeley, Café Clem closed for good. Its last day serving its popular pastries and French-inspired sandwiches was Aug. 31. Owner Dorothée Mitrani-Bell, who also owns La Note, also downtown, has sold Café Clem to Patrice Fayet, a Frenchman, who will open a similar concept, called Maison Bleue, in the space this fall.

Mitrani-Bell told Nosh that she is “making some personal changes in her career” and although she “loved putting [Café Clem] together and loved working on it, La Note is already a lot to handle on its own.”

In a Facebook post, Mitrani-Bell wrote: “After close to five years of servicing the neighborhood and with a tremendous amount of joy and gratefulness, we are happy to announce that Café Clem will be changing hands to a wonderful new French team as well and will become “Maison Bleue” after a few weeks of remodeling. Uncanny coincidence that the building is now being repainted blue, as to welcome the new café!  Thank you Berkeley and locals for your patronage! We will miss you! You can still come visit us at La Note restaurant.” … Continue reading »

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Dee Spot Café open in old Emeryville Farley’s spot

Scallop special at Dee Spot Café. Photo: Dee Spot/Facebook
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On Sept. 10, a small crowd gathered at Emeryville’s new Dee Spot Café for its grand opening party. An oversize character from the Minions movie stood outside for selfies as diners gobbled down sandwiches, pork ribs and Cambodian bread pudding. The event marked a quick turnaround for the space, which operated as the third location for Farley’s Coffee until it closed Aug. 30.

Dee Spot’s owner Channarith Vanthin, an engineer who has worked for Apple, Cisco and Intel, hopes to build on the community that Farley’s cultivated since it opened its Emeryville location in 2010. To that end, Vanthin has kept “every single Farley’s employee” on staff and has left much of the café’s menu intact. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Blue Bottle Berkeley, Four Barrel coffee, more

Photo: Blue Bottle Coffee/Facebook
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Openings, closings

BLUE BOTTLE BERKELEY SETS OPENING DATE Downtown Berkeley coffee drinkers will not have to wait much longer for their Blue Bottle fix. The Oakland-based coffee company’s new café at 2011 Shattuck Ave. has set as soft opening date for Sept. 23, according to workers at the construction site. (Ippudo, the New York-based ramen restaurant to open next door, is still under heavy construction.) It will be the third East Bay location for Blue Bottle, which also has locations in Jack London Square and in the W.C. Morse building on Broadway, in addition to eight other Bay Area cafés and 15 locations in Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo. Although downtown Berkeley has a Peet’s, a couple of Starbucks and coffee sources such as PIQ and Lindgren’s Café, it has not yet housed a brick-and-mortar spot for one of the more fashionable third-wave coffee brands. However it’s not the first time Blue Bottle has been served in Berkeley. For many years it had the coffee contract for the Berkeley farmers market. That was taken over by Red Bay Coffee earlier this year. And Guerilla Café, at 1620 Shattuck, then co-owned by Red Bay founder Keba Konte, was the first coffee shop to serve Blue Bottle when the company was still in its early days. Blue Bottle Coffee will be at 2011 Shattuck Ave. (at University Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the coffee company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Celebrate sunshine with favorite East Bay salads

Adding a scoop of fermented tea leaves to the salad at Grocery Cafe. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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After what seems like an eternally windy and cool summer, the weather seems to finally be taking a turn for the better, with warm temperatures and sunny skies predicted for this week (at least). Now that we’re starting to move into our strange Bay Area summer, it is the perfect time to put away the soups and stews and dive into a plate of something more refreshing.

From simple leafy greens to elaborate Burmese tea-leaf salads, we’ve got countless salad options to choose from in the East Bay. Here at team Nosh, we’ve picked out 11 of our favorite options, listed below in no particular order. And if we’ve left off your favorite, let us know in the comments below. … Continue reading »

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Bites: The Dock, Agrodolce, Duchess Oakland, more

The Dock. Photo: Vanessa Yap-Einbund
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Openings, closings

THE DOCK TO CLOSE, REOPEN AS BREWPUB IN 2017 The big news out of Oakland this week is that James Syhabout’s West Oakland restaurant The Dock will have its last night of service in its current iteration on Saturday. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Syhabout will reopen the restaurant early next year with a new partner, Adam Lamoreaux, who co-founded the next-door Linden Street Brewery in 2009, but left the company in 2014. Linden Street Brewery will leave the building by the end of the year, and will move to an as-yet-unnamed new location. Once Linden Street leaves, the new restaurant project will take over the space, with Lamoreaux heading the brewing portion of the venture. He told the Chron that he will continue to brew classic beer styles, similar to his approach at Linden Street. Syhabout will reimagine the food menu to have a more casual approach than The Dock, with a focus on beer-friendly food like sausages, burgers and sandwiches. The new restaurant is not yet named. It seems that the change was spurred by the sale of the building that houses both the brewery and restaurant to Pandion Investments and Cyrus Etemad (Los Angeles’s Highland Park Bowling Alley in Los Angeles and Portland’s Hawthorne Theatre). It will be renamed the Standard Underground Building. Meanwhile, the adjoining The Beer Shed tasting room will remain open throughout construction. The Dock is at 95 Linden St. (near 3rd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Use Nosh Guide for weekend eating, drinking plans

Emilia's Pizzeria. Photo: Emmeline Chuu
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If, like us here at team Nosh, you plan to avoid traffic and stay in town this holiday weekend, we suggest consulting the Nosh Guide before stepping out to your usual haunts and watering holes. A holiday weekend is, after all, a great time to check out a new restaurant or two — with weekend travelers away, it can mean shorter wait times and easier reservations.

Check out the Nosh Guide.

Do you always eat brunch at 900 Grayson? Maybe it’s time to try a new-school diner like Sequoia in the Oakland hills. Or are you a regular at La Mission? Try venturing out to the Tacos El Autlense truck for a few carnitas tacos. Instead of your usual Thai takeout, give Albany’s Da Nang a go. Or step up to the bar at Belotti for some of the best pasta in the Bay. We know old favorites are favorites for a reason — there’s nothing wrong with visiting established spots. But when there’s so much to try across the East Bay, it’s a shame to always stay so close to home. … Continue reading »


Rhetoric Coffee roasting symphonic coffee blends

Rhetoric coffee cropped. Photo: Rhetoric Coffee/Facebook
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What do comic books and symphonies have to do with coffee? Not much, unless you’re talking with Rhetoric Coffee co-founders James Parrish and Colin Curtin. The 8-month-old coffee company, based out of Berkeley’s Bay Area CoRoasters, is taking its inspiration from both art forms.

Delivered by mail every two weeks as part of a subscription service, Rhetoric’s beans are not the typical Bay Area single light roast. Instead, Rhetoric is “trying out experimental blending methods, [like mélange roasts], that you don’t see anywhere else,” said Curtin, a web developer with a longstanding dream to get into the coffee industry.

Read more about coffee companies in Berkeley.

Parrish, a Blue Bottle barista and one of the founders of Alchemy Collective Café, is heading up coffee roasting. He may roast one single origin bean two or three ways, ranging from light to dark, and then blend the different roasts to create complexity. Or he’ll roast several different origin beans at different roast levels “to get a wide spectrum of flavors,” said Curtin. … Continue reading »

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Take a tour of Boccalone’s Oakland salumi factory

Orange and wild fennel salame at the Boccalone factory. Photo: Kate Williams
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I’ll be the first to admit that I have long associated Boccalone with San Francisco — its co-founder is SF’s only Top Chef Master, Chris Cosentino (Cockscomb), and its its shiny Ferry Building stall hawks its “meat cones” to a bustling crowd of tourists. But Boccalone is far from just a San Francisco brand. Its home is, in fact, in an unassuming building on International Boulevard in East Oakland. A small red sign, high above the sidewalk, is the only thing that distinguishes the factory from the banh mi shops, apartment buildings and Asian groceries that surround it. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Saha, Lucia’s, Farley’s on 65th, Fred’s, more

"Green hummus" made with fresh herbs at Saha restaurant, which will soon open in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Saha/Facebook
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Openings, closings

SF’S SAHA RESTAURANT HEADED TO FORMER HERBIVORE LOCATION That didn’t take long. Last week, we broke the news that the Berkeley location of Herbivore had closed; we’ve learned from SFist this week that a Yemenese restaurant from San Francisco, Saha, will be moving into the space. Saha operated for close to 12 years in Lower Nob Hill, gaining acclaim from the San Francisco Chronicle, Zagat and The Examiner, as well as a loyal following on Yelp. According to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page, the move was prompted by a need for more space: “We promise not to abandon what is important to you, but realize the limitations of the space we have been been in. We have been blessed with the best of landlords and support staff of the Hotel Carlton for the past 12 years. However, it is time for Saha to soar!” The restaurant serves what it describes as Arabic fusion cuisine — dishes from co-owners Mohamed and Marmee Aboghanem’s home of Yemen prepared with a California ethos. Much of the menu is vegetarian and/or vegan, a fact that will likely appeal to those mourning the loss of Herbivore. A note on Saha’s website lists an opening date of October 2016. Saha will be at 2451 Shattuck Ave. (at Haste Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Bites: Herbivore, The Crown coffee lab, Bonita Fish

Berkeley's Herbivore restaurant in 2009. Photo: George Kelly/Flickr
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Openings, closings…

HERBIVORE HAS CLOSED We received a tip this week that downtown Berkeley’s Herbivore restaurant has closed after nine years of operation on Shattuck Avenue. The restaurant’s original location in San Francisco’s Mission district appears closed as well. Our tipster said that he spoke with a “now-former” employee, who reported that all locations are closed indefinitely. A sign on the door of the restaurant reading “Herbivore is closed today” has been up for at least five days. Nosh attempted to reach both restaurant locations, but the phone calls went to a standard voicemail message with no indication of permanent closure. Other potential guests expressed disappointment on Herbivore’s Facebook page earlier this week: “I heard you closed your doors for good today,” wrote John Hawkridge. “Tell me it’s not true!!!” Gary Ware added: “I’m sorry to see you go, but it would be nice if it was acknowledged somewhere on your website or facebook page (aside from a visitor comment).” Herbivore is the second exclusively vegan restaurant to close in Berkeley in the last year; Café Gratitude shuttered last December and will be replaced with a Sicilian restaurant, Agrodolce. We will keep you posted as we learn more about the future of the Herbivore space. … Continue reading »

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