Author Archives: Kate Williams

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.
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Bites: New Public Market tenants, La Crema, more

The redesigned entrance for Public Market Emeryville. Photo: courtesy Public Market Emeryville
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Openings, closings..

TWO NEW TENANTS ANNOUNCED FOR EMERYVILLE PUBLIC MARKET Slowly but surely, Emeryville’s Public Market is adding more new restaurants. Shiba Ramen and KoJa Kitchen are now both up and running, with We Sushi and Mayo & Mustard to follow later this spring. Now we hear that a new casual Peruvian café, Granja Eatery, will occupy a prime 1,500-square-foot space at the front entrance to the market. Granja Eatery is a project from chef Carlos Altamirano, who owns several restaurants and food trucks across the Bay Area. Altamirano will offer street food-style Peruvian food, and the restaurant will feature an open kitchen and a bar with beer, wine and sangria. He hopes to open this fall. Also headed to the market in July will be Oui Oui Macaron, a Daly City-based macaron company. It will be the first food purveyor to open in one of Public Market’s three shipping-container spaces. Public Market Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville.Continue reading »

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Cult sandwich spot Ike’s picks downtown Berkeley

The Jon Lum (steak, bacon, onion rings, cheddar). Photo: Ike's Place/Facebook
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The old Togo’s storefront will soon sell sandwiches again. In what could be as soon as three weeks, it will be home to the first Berkeley location of the rapidly expanding sandwich shop Ike’s Place.

Ike’s, named for its owner Ike Shehadeh, launched his first shop, a tiny take-out spot on 16th Street in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, in 2007. Its sizable sandwiches, whose recipes were originally based on ones Shehadeh used to eat while studying at UC Davis, quickly gained a cult reputation. The original store was selling up to 1,200 sandwiches a day, according to the New York Times, long lines were the norm, and the eatery was cited on many a “best sandwiches” list.

Ike’s now has over 20 locations and has been teasing the opening of a Berkeley shop for months. A signage application on the City of Berkeley’s Zoning Applications Board revealed the new location would be at 2172 Shattuck Ave., right near the Downtown Berkeley BART station. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Handlebar and Bacano Bakery closures, more

Handlebar is at 984 University Avenue in West Berkeley. Photo: Bill Newton
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Openings, closings

HANDLEBAR TO CLOSE, TWEAK CONCEPT West Berkeley’s Handlebar is changing. Owner Jennifer Seidman has brought on Farm League, the restaurant design and management group behind Tigerlily, East Bay Spice Company, Westbrae Biergarten and Drake’s Dealership, to update the restaurant’s concept to something that “makes more sense for the neighborhood,” Farm League’s Joel DiGiorgio told Nosh in an email. That concept will, thankfully, still include Handlbar’s signature burger and tater tots, plus new sandwiches, bar snacks and milkshakes. Seidman says that all of the menu items will be available to-go and for delivery via Caviar. The larger conceptual changes will have to do with service, wrote DiGiorgio, but the “general feel of the place will stay somewhat intact.” The new iteration of the restaurant will be focused on a fast casual service model where customers will order at the kitchen window. In addition, Farm League and Seidman will be adding a “retro game room” and jukebox, which frequent customers will note has already been underway, as well as a “grab-your-own craft beer wall,” a la Honor Bar & Kitchen. On the bar side, Farm League is bringing in Adam Stemmler (East Bay Spice Company and Tigerlily) to work with Seidman on a new cocktail menu that will be “heavy on crushed ice drinks,” according to Stemmler. It will also likely include drinks like Moscow mules on draft and “adult milkshakes.” Handlebar will be changing its name once final installations are complete; we have not yet heard what the new name will be. DiGiorgio hopes to keep the restaurant open as Farm League and Seidman make changes in order to support the staff. We will keep you posted as we learn more details and a timeline for the relaunch. Handlebar is at 984 University Ave. (between Eighth and Ninth streets), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

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Bites: Meal Ticket, Cholita Linda, Crêpes A-Go-Go

Meal Ticket, Name that Nosh, Dec. 5, 2012. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

MEAL TICKET ON THE MARKET, NOT CLOSING We hear from Meal Ticket owner Carolyn Del Gaudio that she and her husband and business partner Jimmy Carter are looking to retire. They have put the San Pablo Avenue restaurant on the market, but Del Gaudio is adamant that Meal Ticket will remain open in the interim. She said in a written statement that “they are hoping to find an energetic buyer who would have the passion to either continue … Meal Ticket or honor its legacy by creating another wonderful restaurant in [its] space.” Meal Ticket has been open in its current location since 2001, and itserves a solid menu of breakfast standards and sandwiches, plus an adventurous line-up of daily specials. Its tree-lined backyard patio is one of our favorite spots for sunny day dining. Meal Ticket is at 1235 San Pablo Ave (between Gilman and Harrison streets). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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4 East Bay food companies up for Work Local Awards

Paul Canales of Duende. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Localwise, a job board created by UC Berkeley alums Benjamin Hamlin and Maya Tobias, is honoring well-regarded local businesses with its inaugural 2016 Work Local Awards. Four East Bay food businesses — Duende, The Local Butcher Shop, As You Wish Frozen Yogurt and The Town Kitchen — have received finalist nods out of a pool of over 1,000 nominations from the Localwise community. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony April 28. … Continue reading »

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Ex-employees file suit against Calavera restaurant

(From left) Marisa Mendoza, Ivette Vega, Flor Crisostomo and Maribel Hernandez at a protest of Calavera restaurant on April 1, 2016. Photo: Jenny Huang
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Three former employees of the Oakland restaurant have filed suit for wage theft. The employees, along with a restaurant worker’s group, held a protest of Calavera on April 1. Continue reading »

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Bites: Antoinette, Urban Remedy, Ye Olde Hut

The dining room at the newly opened Antoinette Brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. Photo: Fairmont Group
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Openings, closings…

DOMINIQUE CRENN LEAVES ANTOINETTE After only two months of operation, Dominique Crenn has officially left Antoinette, the new French brasserie in the Claremont Hotel and Spa. The news broke Wednesday in Inside Scoop, the same day the East Bay Express’s Luke Tsai ran an unflattering review of the restaurant, calling Antoinette “dispiriting, at times baffling.” A statement jointly released by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (owners of the Claremont) and the Crenn Dining Group said that the two “have mutually agreed to end their partnership.” Antoinette will close temporarily on April 6 and will, according to Eater SF, reopen in a few weeks under the same name and concept. The menu will, however, change. It was unclear how much input Crenn had in the original concept of the restaurant; she had been clear from the beginning that her role in the restaurant was “advisory.” Executive Chef Justin Mauz was at the helm of the kitchen day-to-day; no word yet on his future with the restaurant. Antoinette is at The Claremont Club & Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley. Connect with the Claremont on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Bites: La PanotiQ, Preserved, Angel Cakes, more

Croissants from La PanotiQ. Photo: La PanotiQ/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

LA PANOTIQ TO HOLD GRAND OPENING APRIL 1 Last month, we reported that the Elmwood location of La PanotiQ was getting close to opening.  It is now open for business in the space formerly occupied by Padi Restaurant, and before that — for many years — Holy Land, and is planning a grand opening celebration on April 1. As reported on Shop Talk, it is serving a selection of French-style sandwiches and salads (think Jambon-Fromage and Salade Niçoise), as well as cakes and pastries (croissants, pains au chocolat), and fresh bread (baguettes, rustic loaves and ciabatta, for example). There’s Bicycle Coffee, in espresso drinks and also in Nitro cold-brew form, as well as a selection of teas, both hot and iced.La PanotiQ is a family-owned bakery and café chain with several locations around the Bay Area. La PanotiQ Bakery Café is at 2965 College Ave. (at Ashby Avenue), Berkeley 94705. Connect with the bakery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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After setbacks, People’s Market secures Oakland site

A rendering of People's Community Market. Image: People's Community Market
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Bites: Sweetgreen, La Botella, Itani Ramen, more

za'atar salad: chopped romaine, parsley + mint, tomatoes + cucumbers + onions, raw beets, roasted chicken, za'atar pita chips and creamy sumac dressing. Photo: Sweetgreen/Facebook
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Openings, closings

SWEETGREEN PLANNING FOR MID-APRIL OPENING Almost a year after it was announced, the first Northern California location for Washington D.C.-based Sweetgreen is slated to open April 12 in the former Oscar’s restaurant on Shattuck Avenue. Co-founder Nicolas Jammet told NOSH that the build-out stayed mostly on track, despite the discovery of a gas tank buried in the building’s parking lot earlier this year. The Berkeley location of Sweetgreen will feature ingredients from local producers like Full Belly Farm, Rotto Brothers, Van Groningen, Acme Bread, Hodo Soy, Mary’s Chicken and Belfiore cheese. It will also include at least one signature item unique to this location, a Falafel and Feta salad with broccoli leaves, which will feature cheese from Berkeley’s Belfiore. In the lead-up to opening, Sweetgreen will be hosting a few events. On April 9, it will hold a “Planting our Roots Day,” in which community members can come and plant seedlings. They can then take the seedlings home or donate them to the Berkeley Technology Academy (BTA) garden. On opening day, Sweetgreen will be splitting 100% of its proceeds between the BTA garden and Sweetgreen in Schools programing in Berkeley and Oakland. The following day, April 13, the company will hold an afternoon garden building event at BTA, with a complementary Sweetgreen dinner to follow. Sweetgreen will soon be joined by another salad-focused restaurant, Tender Greens, which will be opening at 2071 University Ave. (at Shattuck). Despite the added competition, Jammet said that he is excited about its pending arrival. “If one of us can convert more people to eating this type of food, that’s a good thing,” he said. “The more the merrier.” Sweetgreen will be at 1890 Shattuck Ave. (at Hearst Street), Berkeley, in the former Oscar’s restaurant. Connect with Sweetgreen on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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