Author Archives: Kate Williams

Bites: Herb n’ Chicken, Spats, Grand Fare Market

Evan Cross (left) and Cyrus Cross (right) at Herb n' Chicken, which is now open in the Gourmet Ghetto. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings…

HERB N’ CHICKEN OFFICIALLY OPENS TODAY We’ve got more details on the restaurant moving into the former Source Mini location in Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden. Called Herb n’ Chicken, the new spot has been in soft opening this week. Its grand opening is today. Herb n’ Chicken will offer a substantial salad bar, organic Rosie’s rotisserie chicken with eight dipping sauces, and a few other items like French fries with lemon verbena, macaroni and cheese, and marinated tempeh. Herb n’ Chicken is a project from Farm League Design and Management, the team behind TigerlilyEast Bay Spice Company and the Westbrae Biergarten. Farm League’s Joel DiGiorgio told NOSH that the restaurant will offer both grab-and-go signature salad options, including a “Vegan Kitchen Sink” option, as well as a build-your-own menu. Full rotisserie chickens as well as eat-in chicken plates will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Farm League has brought over Tigerlily sous chef Josh Gjersand to manage the kitchen. Herb n’ Chicken is at 1511 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley. Continue reading »

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Flour & Co. quietly opened this week in Berkeley

2015-09-29 08.35.16
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The wait is finally over. University Avenue has gotten a bakery back.

Flour & Co. has been building out the former Bread Workshop space since February, and opened its doors for a soft opening Sept. 29. A more formal grand opening will be held Oct. 5.

Owner Emily Day told NOSH on Wednesday that business is going smoothly so far. She said the first day was slower than this morning, and expects sales to keep picking up as word gets out about the opening.

The Berkeley bakery is the second location for Flour & Co., and it was designed (beautifully, we might add) by local architects Abueg Morris. Day opened her first retail spot in Nob Hill about two and a half years ago. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Nature’s Express closes, Pal’s crosses the bay

Nature's Express
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Openings, closings…

NATURE’S EXPRESS GONE FOR GOOD The last time we checked in with Nature’s Express, the owners had closed shop at its location at 1823 Solano Ave., but promised to return “close by.” Unfortunately for fans of the vegan fast food restaurant, those plans have fallen through. According to the Nature’s Express Facebook page, the restaurant is officially closed for good. The announcement hinted at continuing financial troubles for the restaurant: “Nature’s Express is done and done. Ownership would like to express hearty thank-yous [sic] to all of those who stuck in, but the fact is Berkeley seems unable to sustain another vegan eatery. Our significant losses in the last year tell us this even though the place was run lean and mean. We tried. Fade to black, roll the credits, and support your favorite restaurants!” Nature’s Express later commented that, had it raised prices to the $12 to $16 range for its sandwiches, it may have been able to continue operations. No word yet on the new tenant for the restaurant.Continue reading »

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First look: Tacos Sinaloa on Telegraph Ave.

Shrimp taco from Tacos Sinaloa Berkeley. Photo: Kate Williams
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The stretch of Telegraph Avenue between Bancroft and Dwight is something of a wasteland for good food. There are undergraduate-geared restaurants and bars aplenty, but, unless you’ve got a craving for greasy pizza or a Chipotle burrito bowl, you’re out of luck. That is, until last week.

East Oakland’s Tacos Sinaloa has come to town. The popular group of taco trucks, which we visited in 2013, opened its first ever brick-and-mortar restaurant last Friday, Sept. 18. NOSH stopped in for lunch this week for a first taste of the joint. … Continue reading »

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West Berkeley now has a coffee roasting incubator

Berkeley Co-Roasting provides everything necessary for small roasters to prepare their beans. Photo courtesy: Berkeley Co-Roasting
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Uptown Kitchen. The Berkeley KitchensPort Kitchens. Kitchener. The East Bay has a growing legion of upstart shared kitchen spaces for small food businesses, but has had little in the way of shared coffee roasting space — until now.

Berkeley Co-Roasting (BCR) is a new shared coffee roasting facility at 2322 Fifth St. Operated by the four-person team of Paul Goldstone, Tim Hansen, Michael Pappas and Floy Andrews, the facility intends to “offer specialty coffee roasters and inviting light-filled and spacious hub for creating, roasting, and processing their artisanal coffee products,” according Andrews, BCR’s business manager. Roasters can lease space by the hour, half day or full day. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Flour & Co, Tacos Sinaloa, Endgame Café

Cookies and pastries from San Francisco's Flour & Co which is opening in Berkeley . Photo: Flour & Co
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Openings, closings…

FLOUR & CO AIMS FOR OCTOBER OPENING While owner Emily Day had originally hoped to open a Berkeley outpost of her San Francisco-based Flour & Co. bakery in June, construction didn’t get going until later this summer. Now it appears that Flour & Co. is making progress; the bakery has a sign out front and much of the cosmetic work inside is completed. Flour & Co. will be a similar spot to the original Nob Hill bakery, with classic American pastries and cookies on offer, all made with the highest quality ingredients. The bakery, which will be located in the former Bread Workshop space, will also have breakfast and lunch menus, and it will be serving coffee from Stumptown, a popular roasting company out of Portland, OR. Day wrote on her blog that she will be training staff this week and hopes to open next month. Flour & Co. will be at 1398 University Ave. (at Acton). Connect with the bakery on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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The Bread Project returns to Berkeley this fall

The Bread Project has moved to 1615 University Ave. (at California). Photo: Kate Williams
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The Crayola-blue storefront at 1615 University Ave. has stood empty for three years, slowly collecting window graffiti and dust. But this June, signs of life began to appear. Baking racks appeared in the windows. Long wooden work tables filled the room. Soon, a sign appeared on the front door: The Bread Project is moving in.

Founded in 2001 by Lucie Buchbinder and Susan Phillips, The Bread Project trains low-income individuals in food service skills — specifically baking —  and helps them find and retain jobs across the service and culinary industry. Its students come from many walks of life. About 30% are formerly incarcerated individuals, 20% are refugees and new immigrants and others that have other significant barriers to employment. “Everybody is starting over, starting anew,” said Valerie Afroilan, the senior director of programs. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Nico’s Hideaway, Half Orange beer garden

The new Fruitvale Beer Garden at The Half Orange. Photo courtesy: Jay Porter
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Openings, closings…

THE HALF ORANGE NOW HAS A BEER GARDEN Fruitvale’s sausage-hamburger-beer joint has now become a little more beer-centric. The Half Orange just finished expanding its patio to include a “proper” beer garden, owner Jay Porter told NOSH in an email. He’s calling the expansion the “Fruitvale Beer Garden at The Half Orange,” in homage to the many beer gardens that used to populate the neighborhood. It should be a good spot — Porter has added 40 seats and a big screen TV, expanded the draft system to 13 taps, and is rolling out new dinner specials like pulled pork chili and a “catch of the day” fish filet. Once temperatures cool back down, Porter will also be installing heaters. The Half Orange is celebrating the expansion with a grand opening party next Saturday, Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. All beers that day will be $4.95. The full menu will also be available. The Half Orange is at 3340 E. 12th St. (at E. 33rd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Twitter.Continue reading »

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Bites: Ajanta changing hands, tacos to Telegraph

Lachu Moorjani of Ajanta. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings

AJANTA’S OWNER RETIRING Big news for fans of Indian cuisine. Longtime Solano Avenue restaurant Ajanta is changing hands. Chef Lachu Moorjani opened Ajanta in 1993 and has been serving up regional Indian specialties ever since. Moorjani is known for his friendliness and humor as much as for his confident hand with chiles. Tablehopper had the scoop, reporting that Rajan Thapa of Taste of the Himalayas will be taking over the restaurant with business partner Al Satake. Thapa and Satake do, however, want to keep Ajanta exactly as it is today; Lachu told NOSH that he will work part time with Thapa for a few months, “primarily to supervise cooking as well as help out in the dining hall.” Afterward, he says, he plans to travel. “My wife an I are both fond of travelling and I wanted to retire so that we can travel before I get so old that I am not mobile. We already have a couple of trips planned for this year. A trip to Madagascar in October, and a trip to India in December.” Ajanta is at 1888 Solano Ave. (at The Alameda), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookContinue reading »

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New billiards club headed to downtown Berkeley

Draw Billiards Club will be at 64 Shattuck Sq. Photo: Berkeley ZAB
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It looks like downtown Berkeley is going to have a pool hall again.

Paul Revenaugh, the former owner of The Sunny Side Café, and his business partner Jason Kung, have just had use permits approved for their newest project: Draw Billiard Club in the Roos Brothers building on Shattuck Square.

Draw Billiard Club will take over the ground-level restaurant space that formerly housed Morgan’s Café, as well as the 7,896-square-foot basement below. The street-level space will serve as a lounge with food and drink. The basement will comprise approximately 15 pool tables, plus additional bar and restaurant seating.

Draw Billiard Club will be the first dedicated billiards venue in downtown Berkeley since the closure of Thalassa last fall. (Thalassa owner Doug Miller opened a new pool hall, The Tap Haus, on Durant Avenue this May.) … Continue reading »

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NOSH Neighborhood Guide: South Emeryville

The CommonWealth Micropub in Emeryville. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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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 the south side of Emeryville.

There has been an explosion of food and drink related activity in the Pixar employees and tiki bar-filled city of Emeryville. While only a few short years ago, we wouldn’t have thought to venture to Emeryville for anything other than an IKEA couch or a blockbuster movie marathon at the AMC, the city is now chock-a-block with destination dining and drinking spots. There are enough, in fact, that we’re going to split up our Nosh Emeryville guide into two installments.

First up is the southern portion of the city, stretching from Powell Street in the north to the Oakland border in the south. Feel free to debate our favorite picks and neighborhood demarcations in the comments below. And, as always, we’ve included a map of each mention. … Continue reading »

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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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