Author Archives: Kate Williams
NIZZA LA BELLA HAS CLOSED The well-loved bistro in Albany closed as of July 12. In a note posted on the restaurant’s exterior, Nizza La Bella‘s owner announced that she was ready to retire after 17 years of running the restaurant. The note also thanked the restaurant’s regular customers and listed each employee by name and length of employment. Nizza La Bella specialized in casual cuisine from Nice, France, which has long had an Italian influence. Much of its menu, including its ever-popular pizza, was cooked in a wood-fired oven. The restaurant space is currently on the market, and we will keep you posted as we learn of Nizza’s replacement. … Continue reading »
Something’s in the air this summer. It’s not even August, and we’ve already covered the openings of 30 East Bay restaurants and bars since Memorial Day. With all of this excitement, it can be hard to keep up.
Here at Nosh, we’ve decided to do the hard work for you and compiled a running list of all the new spots. Of course, with restaurant openings invariably come restaurant closings, and so we’ve included our tally of those below. Click on the restaurant’s name to read more about each spot on Berkeleyside. And if you need more dining inspiration, don’t forget to check out the Nosh Guide for all of your breakfast, lunch and dinner needs. … Continue reading »
“We’re not trying to be a jerk bike shop,” says David Archard.
As someone who generally avoids bike shops, and “jerk” bike shop employees as well, preferring to slip quietly in and out of low-key co-ops like Missing Link, that’s good to hear. In other words, I’m Archard’s target customer for Luckyduck, a soon-to-open bike shop, café and “social club” in downtown Oakland.
According to the company website, Luckyduck aims to “focus on self-actualized education, camaraderie, and general bicycle advocacy” in an environment that combines the services and products of a bike shop with the “positive and relaxed vibes found in a coffee shop or beer garden. No pretension or pressure.” … Continue reading »
The fire that broke out at Giovanni last spring may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
In 2014, local developer Nathan George and entrepreneur Xin Jin began discussions on the sale of the restaurant with the Schipani family, the owners of Giovanni. It was a sentimental place for George, who started eating at the historic Italian restaurant with his wife shortly after moving to Berkeley.
“It was our go-to place,” he said. “When [the Schipanis] took it over [again], we became very close to them. We talked with them about their struggles with management, and we were always trying to get more people to eat there.”
George, Xin and the Schipanis went back and forth about the sale for about a year, but finally set a date to sit down with their lawyers to sort out details on April 24, 2015. The restaurant caught on fire the morning of April 23.
The fire slowed down the paperwork, and the deal wasn’t finalized until the end of 2015. Construction started soon afterward, but what was originally intended as a basic update turned into a much bigger project.
“The whole building needed to be upgraded,” said George. “It wasn’t ever intended to be a big project, but we’re more excited about the restaurant’s prospects now. It’s going to be a much better place than if we had just retained the old space.” … Continue reading »
Welcome to the first installment of “Nosh Weekend” — what we plan to be a regular series of travel stories around the Bay Area. We’ll explore off-the-beaten path locations within a short distance of our East Bay home, all with the aim of tasting new and exciting food and drink. First up is Winters, a small city located near Davis in Yolo County.
Driving into Winters after leaving the bustle of the Bay Area is like entering an alternate universe, a universe that looks simultaneously like a picturesque 1950s town and an old western movie. The small downtown area has charm in full effect, complete with a bandstand and wide, lazy streets. Visitors and residents congregate on the street and on the newly constructed nature trail, ready to chat up any passers-by. It’s not a place with a million events and activities, but that’s all the better — here, you’re encouraged to wind down and sip your coffee (or wine or beer) slowly. For a 24-hour trip, Winters is perfect. … Continue reading »
EATSA TO TAKE OVER FORMER CREPES-A-GO-GO IN BERKELEY The robots are coming. Sort of. The high-tech automated quinoa bowl restaurant Eatsa is planning to open its third Bay Area location on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, in the recently vacated Crêpes A-Go-Go. According to Eater SF, Eatsa hopes to open by the time students show back up at Cal’s campus in the fall. Eatsa serves a mostly-healthy menu of grain bowls and salads like the Spice Market Bowl (corn curry, roasted yams, saag paneer, cucumber raita, tandoori tofu, warm lemon-herb toasted quinoa, pita bread and fried chickpeas) and the Bento Bowl (stir-fried quinoa with egg, edamame, crispy wonton strips, teriyaki sauce, miso portobello mushrooms and apple-cabbage slaw). Select locations also offer breakfast. What makes Eatsa stand out amongst the other bowl-and-salad spots now popping up in the area is that the restaurant does not employ any front-of-house staff; instead, customers place orders on iPads or smart phones and then pick up their food in a glass cubicle. (Actual human prep cooks prepare the bowls behind the scenes.) Another difference? The price. Each lunch Eatsa bowl is a mere $6.95 and breakfast items are all under $4 — good news for college students and budget conscious diners alike. Eatsa will be at 2334 Telegraph Ave. (at Durant Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. … Continue reading »
AGAVE UPTOWN NOW OPEN Uptown Oakland’s second Oaxacan restaurant officially opened on Wednesday. Agave Uptown is the second restaurant for chef Octavio Diaz, who opened the original Agave in Healdsburg in 2010. Arcsine-designed Agave Uptown focuses on “farm-raised ingredients and handmade cooking … [and will] draw from the artisanal tradition of Oaxaca,” according to a statement. Its menu highlights mole, plus other traditional dishes like molotes (empanadas made with masa), cecina (pork in adobo), and several tacos. Most notably, the new restaurant is working in alignment with the Kapor Center for Social Impact in which it is located. Diaz wants the restaurant to serve as an incubator for underrepresented communities with interest in the culinary field. He plans to partner with nearby schools and colleges to provide internships. Agave Uptown is at 2135 Franklin St. (at 22nd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. … Continue reading »
To get to Shiba Ramen, you must navigate the Emeryville Public Market parking lot, weaving around small children running free from their parents and shuffling behind slow moving tourists spilling out of Hot Italian. The Shiba stall is near the back of the market, surrounded by mostly empty stall-fronts. On a Saturday evening, the market’s tables were about half full, with at least a quarter occupied by guests eating ramen.
While Shiba generated long lines and quite the hype before its opening in late 2015, the diners that evening seemed more concerned with eating dinner and getting on their way than having a mind-blowing ramen experience.
That’s what co-owners Jake Freed and Hiroko Nakamura were aiming for — accessible, streamlined ramen — and that’s what we found on our recent visit. … Continue reading »
It’s a sunny day in West Oakland. I pull up to the corner of 10th and Campbell streets and look for produce. The lettuce and vegetable sprouts are at first a little hard to find, but eventually I spot three long rows of dark, healthy soil tucked in the back of a church’s yard.
RED BAY COFFEE BOX NOW OPEN AT THE HIVE Close to a year after announcing it would be opening a café built out of a converted shipping container in Oakland’s Hive complex, Red Bay Coffee Roaster‘s “Coffee Box” is now open. In addition to coffee, we hear from East Bay Dish that the Coffee Box is offering baked goods from Oakland-based Tart Bakery. Funds for the café were raised through a successful $80,000 Kickstarter campaign last spring — the most successful coffee campaign ever on the crowdfunding site, according to Red Bay founder Keba Konte. But permitting issues delayed the opening of the café, despite the fact that Konte had finished construction on the container months ago. In the meantime, Red Bay launched several farmers market stands, including one at the downtown Berkeley market, added Uber as a client, and built out a new headquarters in a converted factory in Fruitvale. The Red Bay Coffee Box is at 2327 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the coffee roasters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s third parklet, and downtown’s first, will officially open at 5 p.m. today. The outdoor seating area covers 2130 to 2136 Oxford Street in front of Sunny Side Café, East Bay Spice Company, Cinnaholic and Suya African-Caribbean Grill.
The Oxford Street parklet’s design was inspired by the west entrance to UC Berkeley, which is almost directly across the street. It has a concrete wall inspired by the classical buildings on campus adorned with metal cutouts of a Cal Bear, the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. “Our communal vision was to create a similar aesthetic, that of ornate cement and metalwork with an old world field,” Joel DiGiorgio, co-founder of Farm League Design and Management Group, told Nosh in an email. Farm League is the management company behind East Bay Spice Company.
… Continue reading »
When I first heard about a cookbook being written by two teenagers, I must admit that I didn’t expect much. I knew the co-authors were enthusiastic, and that one of the two had experience working in well-regarded Oakland restaurant kitchens. I knew they had a good idea — telling a story of Oakland’s diversity through recipes — but I couldn’t imagine that two full-time students with no publishing experience could pull off anything more impressive than a culinary ‘zine.
I was wrong, of course.
“Flavors of Oakland: A Cookbook in 20 Stories” is a solid, honest-to-goodness cookbook with tested recipes and a spine that thankfully allows for any page to stay open when flopped on the kitchen counter. It weaves together 20 very different life stories of home cooks from every nook and cranny of the city, while offering a quirky and fairly comprehensive array of recipes. … Continue reading »