Author Archives: Kate Williams

Bites: B&B Wine Bar, LocoL, 2 Laurel beer gardens

Octopus and chorizo from B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar. Photo: B&B
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Openings, closings

B&B WINE BAR OPENS TOMORROW In January, we broke the news that Burritos, Inc. had abruptly shuttered. We now know that the owners Abraham Masarweh and Julia Joslyn have stuck around and will reopen the restaurant as B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar tomorrow for dinner. B&B will be a seafood-focused sister restaurant to the owners’ Rockridge spot Bourbon & Beef. Masarweh told Nosh in an interview that they decided to overhaul Burritos, Inc. because the space was too big for the concept. He said that they landed on a seafood restaurant because the neighborhood is currently lacking in classic American seafood dishes. Menu highlights include butter-poached lobster with squid ink linguine, a grilled octopus and chorizo appetizer, and classic cold seafood towers of oysters, shrimp cocktail, ceviche, crab and lobster tail. For those skipping seafood, B&B will serve steaks, burgers and pork chops, and there will be both vegan- and gluten-free dishes as well. On the drinks side, B&B will serve around 30 affordable wines by the glass — “There will be something for everyone,” said Masarweh — plus 10 draft beers. B&B will open for dinner hours this weekend; starting Monday, it will transition to its full schedule, which includes weekday lunch, nightly dinner and weekend brunch. The restaurant may stay open later on the weekends if the community wants it, said Masarweh. B&B Kitchen and Wine Bar is at 2116 Shattuck Ave. (between Addison and Center streets). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Maker’s Common to ‘geek out’ on local producers

Cheese plates like this one will be served at Maker's Common. Photo courtesy: Maker's Common
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Sarah Dvorak, Oliver Dameron and Eric Miller weren’t thinking of Berkeley when they first began planning the expansion of Mission Cheese, their popular Valencia Street cheese and charcuterie bar. They expected to open their new spot — called Maker’s Common — somewhere in San Francisco.

But, as has been the case with other restaurants like Millennium, which relocated to Rockridge, and Pal’s Takeaway, which opened in Uptown Oakland, finding affordable space in San Francisco proved impossible. The three founders started looking further afield in the East Bay. And when they had a look at the large, light-filled space at 1954 University Ave., just east of MLK Jr. Way, in downtown Berkeley, they were sold.

With plenty of space to build out both a market and a restaurant, plus outdoor dining space and zoning permits already in place for beer and wine service to boot, the Rose Garden building was too good to pass up.

“When we first saw the space its layout just said ‘THIS IS IT!,'” wrote the founders on the company’s blog. “We all walked and and knew where the retail market would be and where the kitchen would go for the eatery. When we brought an architect in they said the exact same thing — we knew we were onto something.”

Plus, as Dameron says, “It’s a great time to come to Berkeley. There’s lots of change going on here.” … Continue reading »

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Romeo’s Coffee headed to former Shakespeare & Co.

Romeo's Coffee will open in the former Shakespeare & Co. location at Telegraph Avenue and Dwight Way.  Photo: Ted Friedman
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After sitting vacant for close to a year, the former location of Telegraph Avenue bookstore Shakespeare & Co. will see new light. Highly caffeinated light, that is.

Starting in June, a new coffee shop — Romeo’s Coffee — will begin to take shape. Its name was serendipitous, said owner Dino Micheletti. He had already ironed out the concept, which revolves around “lovers of coffee,” before visiting the location with Ito Ripsteen, who is managing the remodel of the building at 2499 Telegraph. “I went to meet with him and looked up and saw the Shakespeare sign,” he said. “I said to him, ‘Do you know what our name is? It’s Romeo’s Coffee.'”  … Continue reading »

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Bites: The Fifth Quarter, Taco Bell Cantina, Zatar

Scott Brennan of The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie. Photo: The Fifth Quarter/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

THE FIFTH QUARTER CHARCUTERIE TO MONTCLAIR Scott Brennan’s farmers market charcuterie business The Fifth Quarter has found a permanent brick-and-mortar home in Montclair, according to Tablehopper. Brennan, the former head butcher at Cafe Rouge, has been selling his own sausages, patés and smoked meats at the Berkeley and Kensington farmers markets for the past five years. His new retail location will be in the former Amba Falafel space at 6464 Moraga Ave. In addition to offering an expanded version of his farmers market lineup, Brennan will also be selling sandwiches, prepared foods and dry-cured meats. The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie will be at 6464 Moraga Ave. (at La Salle Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the shop on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Food startup Josephine pauses East Bay operations

Diana's green curry with chicken. Photo: Josephine/Facebook
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In an email sent out to 2,000 East Bay customers last week, Oakland-based food startup Josephine announced that it would be pausing cooking operations in Alameda County. All non-profit partnerships, including Josephine’s partnership with Willard Middle School, have not been affected.

The decision was made after cooks working for the company were recently served with cease-and-desist orders for illegal food sales by environmental health regulators. In the email to customers, CEO Charley Wang said the regulators told the cooks that they were “committing misdemeanors, punishable by jail time.”

Wang said that Josephine “immediately informed the entire cook community of what was happening and scrambled to console and support the cooks that had been impacted.” As of May 6, Josephine had advised all cooks in Alameda County to pause operations to avoid further legal action.

“Our cooks didn’t just lose a means of income and financial stability, they were also cut off from a source of pride and empowerment,” said Wang. … Continue reading »

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Now available — Nosh Guide: Drinks

Drake's Jolly Rodger is made with Highwire coffee. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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It’d be impossible to talk about East Bay noshing without mentioning the exponential growth of the drinking scene. Not only does the 510 have some of the best bars in the Bay Area, but it is also home to a truly creative class of brewers, winemakers and distillers.

You could spend months exploring this one facet of our culture and never get bored. Want a perfectly balanced cocktail made with local artisanal gin? The Hotsy Totsy‘s got those in spades. Care to sample some of the best craft beers made in the U.S.? Grab a pint at Beer Revolution. Prefer a PBR and a shot of well whiskey? Drink it on the Missouri Lounge patio. Or would you rather see what all the fuss around sour beers is about? The Rare Barrel is where it’s at. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll need to cross the bay for a good time.

In today’s installment of the Nosh Guide, we take a look at our favorite spots for drinks.

Read our Nosh Guide to Drinks here.

The Nosh Guide is Berkeleyside’s authoritative, dynamic listing of our favorite spots for eating and drinking in the East Bay. We’ve included picks from Nosh editors, writers and, importantly, readers. We will add new favorites as they appear and may (sadly) have to take some away as they close. At its core, we hope that the Nosh Guide will be a helpful way to navigate our dining scene, no rankings necessary. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Maker’s Common, Salsipuedes, Giovanni, more

The future home of Maker's Common, a cheese and charcuterie restaurant and retail shop, at 1958 University Ave. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings…

MISSION CHEESE OPENING MAKER’S COMMON ON UNIVERSITY Popular Valencia Street cheese and charcuterie bar Mission Cheese made plans to open a second, larger restaurant and retail location in San Francisco about a year ago. But after struggling to find affordable space in San Francisco, founders Sarah Dvorak, Oliver Dameron and Eric Miller decided to search elsewhere. They’ve now signed a lease at 1958 University Ave. in downtown Berkeley. The new restaurant will be called Maker’s Common, and it will offer a small, curated retail market in addition to a sit-down restaurant. “We are incredibly excited to dig into our new East Bay surroundings, meet our neighbors, and get this train rolling,” wrote Miller on the company’s blog. The restaurant’s name is a reference to its emphasis on supporting makers — cheesemakers, winemakers, beer makers, etc. “When I think about food and what gets me excited about food, is thinking about the people and the process that has gone into bringing that food to my table,” said Dvorak in the company’s fundraising video. Funding for Maker’s Common is being secured through a $600,000 Direct Public Offering; so far Maker’s Common has raised close to half of its goal. Maker’s Common will be at 1958 University Ave. (at Bonita Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Now live: The Nosh Guides to Dessert, Coffee & Tea

Sundae from Fenton's Creamery. Photo: Derek/Flickr
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In today’s installment of the Nosh Guide, we take a look at our favorite spots for dessert and for coffee and tea.

Compared to full-service restaurants, there aren’t that many dessert-centric spots in the East Bay. Sure, we’ve got a plethora of decadent ice cream shops (and we definitely recommend some of those in the guide), but there aren’t quite as many cookie or cake emporiums as we’d like. After all, you can never have too many chocolate chip cookies. A bakery or coffee shop is a good place to look, or you can simply skip all this nonsense and dig into a delicious “Naughty Cream” from Doughnut Dolly.

And while there may be a few of you who can get through the day without a caffeinated beverage, most of us (especially at team Nosh) rely on a cup or two of coffee to get going. … Continue reading »

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Nosh Guide: Dinner

Homestead, August 2013, Oakland, CA. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Some live for weekend brunch. Others can’t wait to jump out of the office for a mid-week lunch. Us? We know dinner is the best meal of the day. It doesn’t matter if that dinner is an elegant prix fixe affair at Chez Panisse, a takeout pizza from Emilia’s, or a big platter of fried chicken from Miss Ollie’s. It’s all good. We’ve collapsed all of our dinner picks, whether they’re casual or high-end, into the following list. Our readers picked their favorite weekday spots as well as splurge dinners. Either way, we think you’ll be able to infer where you’ll need to get a reservation months in advance and where you can pop in at 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday.

In today’s installment of the Nosh Guide, we take a look at our favorite spots for our evening meals.

Read our Nosh Guide to Dinner.

The Nosh Guide is Berkeleyside’s authoritative, dynamic listing of our favorite spots for eating and drinking in the East Bay. We’ve included picks from Nosh editors, writers and, importantly, readers. We will add new favorites as they appear and may (sadly) have to take some away as they close. At its core, we hope that the Nosh Guide will be a helpful way to navigate our dining scene, no rankings necessary. … Continue reading »

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Now available — Nosh Guide: Lunch

Sandwich from Analog. Photo: Analog/Facebook
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From pizza-by-the-slice to perfectly prepared fried wild shrimp tacos, there is a wide selection of delicious lunch options across the East Bay. Some of our Nosh Guide picks for lunch may require going off your beaten path a little, but we think it’s worth it if you have an extra half an hour. Most are also open for dinner, but they’re included here because their casual nature or speed of service lends them to a noontime nosh.

In today’s installment of the Nosh Guide, we take a look at favorite spots for lunch.

Read our Nosh Guide to Lunch here.

The Nosh Guide is Berkeleyside’s authoritative, dynamic listing of our favorite spots for eating and drinking in the East Bay. … Continue reading »

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Drumroll, please… introducing the Nosh Guide

Fried chicken sandwich at The Half Orange. Photo: The Half Orange
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You’ve heard it many times, and you’re likely to hear it many times again: the East Bay restaurant scene is booming. We live in a place with more than just high-end, Michelin-starred restaurants — there are plenty of places serving innovative dishes for less than you’d pay for an appetizer on Valencia Street. And, as more chefs and food businesses are leaving San Francisco for sunnier digs in Oakland and Berkeley, the East Bay is reaping all the benefits.

Yet this restaurant boom has a downside, if you could call it that: too many choices. We can’t count the number of times we’ve been bombarded by endless ideas when looking for a new spot for dinner or different bar for happy hour. We craved an easily scrollable list of the best places to grab a delicious sandwich, the most worthwhile restaurants for a fancy dinner, or the ‘diviest’ dive bars.

So, we made one — the Nosh Guide.

The guide is divided into six categories — Breakfast and Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Coffee and Tea, and Drinks — because that’s where our mind goes when we’re thinking about food and drink. But the categories are broad: there’s no reason why you couldn’t stop into some of our favorite bakeries for a dessert instead of breakfast, or grab lunch at some of our dinner picks. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Genova Deli, People’s Café, The Wolf, more

Genova Delicatessen. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

GENOVA DELI’S LAST DAY IS SATURDAY Get in for your Italian combo fix while you can, because Genova Delicatessen‘s last day will be April 30. “We are humbled by all the good wishes and love from the community and want to thank you for so many years of support,” wrote the deli’s owners on its website. The 90-year-old Italian deli in Oakland’s Temescal district had announced in February that it may be forced to close due to a rent dispute with its landlord. However, in a story in the San Jose Mercury News, co-owner David DeVincenzi’s wife Patti said that other rising costs were a bigger contributor in the decision to close. They didn’t want to be forced to raise prices. “The cost of doing business is to the point now where it became uncomfortable,” she said. David DeVincenzi told the San Francisco Chronicle that the family is working on finding a new location in Oakland, but was unwilling to hint at where that location may be. In the meantime, the Genova factory on Broadway, the Napa store, and the two Genova Deli locations in Walnut Creek (owned by another branch of the family) remain open. And, according to the Mercury News, the property owners at Temescal Plaza are looking for a new local deli operator to open in the space; property representative John Dobrovich said he hopes the new tenant will hire some of the former Genova employees. Genova Delicatessen is at 5095 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland. Connect with the deli on Facebook.Continue reading »

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More breweries to East Bay’s booming beer scene

At Beer Revolution in Oakland. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr
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Brian Koloszyc started beer brewing on a whim. He had just moved to San Francisco and met Teresa Tamburello, his future wife and business partner. “In the spirit of taking on a new project together, we decided to head to the local homebrew shop to buy supplies for making beer,” he writes on his blog, Novel Brewing.

“It was on, like, our second date,” said Tamburello.

Their first beer, an IPA, was “somewhat eh, but the experience was life-changing,” he said.

Read more about beer and breweries in the East Bay.

Koloszyc is not alone. He is part of a sizable group of home brewers-turned-pros who are all getting ready to open their first breweries in the East Bay. Starting later this year, at least four new breweries are headed to Berkeley and Oakland, bringing even more life into an already booming beer scene. Each brings something different — we’ll soon see more fresh, sessional beers for outdoor drinking; inspired British-style ales to quaff alongside a favorite book; and funky Belgians paired with casual dining fare.
Continue reading »

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