Tag Archives: Benchmark Pizzeria

Bites: Stateside Bakery, The Growlers’ Arms, more

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Openings, closings…

STATESIDE BAKERY Kate McEachern, founder of the popular Cupkates trucks (there are two of them), has just opened Stateside Bakery in the minuscule (as in 400 square feet) space next to the new Starbucks on Telegraph Avenue at Ashby, opposite Whole Foods in Berkeley. Stateside offers “all the childhood classics re-imagined with wholesome ingredients,” McEachern said — those desserts that can only be found stateside, from brands like Hostess and Little Debbie. The inspiration for her first brick-and-mortar spot, she said, came from her brother who recently had a child and was ruminating on how great it would be to be able to have his offspring experience the sweet treats he grew up with —but without all the additives and sub-par ingredients. “I thought, ‘I could make those — how hard can it be?'” said McEachern. Stateside opened very quietly this week — McEachern wanted to iron out any kinks before word got out — but at least one young customer is already a fan. Longfellow sixth grader Beatrix Shelton was on her way to Starbucks to do her homework when she was waylaid by one of Stateside’s Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Maldon Sea Salt. (We understand the homework was put on the back burner!) Also on the menu at the little shop: Madagascar vanilla Twinkies, housemade Oreos, oatmeal cream pies, and strawberry Pop-Tarts. McEachern said the space is so tiny it was destined to be an ATM vestibule. She and her team of four did all the build-out and navigated Berkeley’s permitting process themselves. McEachern reassured us that the two CupKates trucks will keep on rolling — they serve seven counties currently. Stateside Bakery is at 3001 Telegraph Ave., Suite E. Hours: Wed.-Sat. 11-6, Sund. 11-4, closed Monday and Tuesday. Connect with Stateside Bakery on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Bites: Cholita Linda, 938 Crawfish, Grand Fare open

Cholita Linda staff
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Openings, closings…

CHOLITA LINDA  Temescal now has an “eclectic Latin” place to add to its enviable portfolio of food options. Cholita Linda, which until now had been popping up at farmers markets and the like, opened for business last week at 4923 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th St.). (Finally! We’ve been tracking the place for almost a year.) On the menu: dishes inspired by street food, such as  Baja fish tacos, spit-roast chicken tacos, and carnitas tacos. Sandwiches include Pan con Lomito (peruvian grilled flank steak, marinated roma tomatoes, sautéed red onions, watercress, herbed olive oil), Pollo Picante (tortilla crusted chicken breast, gaujillo sauce, cabbage salad, lime vinaigrette), Tocino (Niman Ranch bacon, butter lettuce, roma tomatoes, chipotle aioli), and Butifarra (Roasted Pork Loin, butter lettuce, Salsa Criolla and aioli). Aguas Frescas come in mango, strawberry and fresh squeezed lime flavors. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXXV

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Openings, closings…

CUPCAKIN BAKE SHOP Lila Owens has been catering in the East Bay for the past three years, and now she’s decided it’s time to open her own brick-and-mortar place and offer the world her cupcakes. She has taken the lease at the former Dome Fits hat shop in the Sather Lane retail complex at 2435 Durant Ave. in Berkeley (just west of Telegraph), and is currently building it out to create the Cupcakin’ Bake Shop. “I wanted to be in the Bay Area in a highly trafficked spot, and also somewhere non-pretentious,” Owens told Berkeleyside Nosh. As well as different cupcakes, some of which will be gluten-free as well as vegan, Cupcakin’ will sell a variety of mini-cakes. All the baked goods will be free of GMOs, Owens added. We’ll provide an update nearer opening time.

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 1.57.46 PMSCARECROW POPCORN Brand new in Oakland’s Lakeshore neighborhood is this store specializing in — what else — popcorn. There’s caramel and cheddar dill, among other varieties, at the store which opened on Wednesday this week. Early reviews are good: “The popcorn melts in your mouth. If you are ever in the Oakland area it is a must try!!! Great service, clean and delicious!!!” wrote Catrina Conner-Rhodes on the shop’s Facebook page. Scarecrow Popcorn is at 3435 Lakeshore next to Lin Jia. … Continue reading »

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Benchmark: Wood-fired pizza comes to Kensington

Benchmark oven
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Benchmark Pizzeria quietly opened this summer on the Kensington-Berkeley border. The husband and wife team who run the restaurant come bearing impeccable credentials: Melissa and Peter Swanson met at Oliveto Café & Restaurant in Oakland in 1999. He worked there as a lead line cook before moving on to help Jon Smulewitz open Dopo on Piedmont Avenue, where he worked for six years. Melissa wrote about food the San Francisco Chronicle and Diablo Magazine, among others, and worked at Chez Panisse Café as a server before joining her husband in their new venture. Berkeleyside NOSH caught up with Melissa to see how the neighborhood restaurant is doing six months in.

Why a pizzeria?
Peter has always been passionate about pizza. At Dopo, he became affectionately known as “Pizza Pete” for his development of the dough recipe and nightly work on the pizza ovens. We’ve always envisioned opening a place together offering our favorite food. … Continue reading »

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