Tag Archives: Berkeley dining

Farm Burger brings Southern flair to East Bay scene

Farm Burger did a popup grill serving burgers at the grand opening of Gilman District on xxx. Phot: courtesy Farm Burger
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Think the East Bay has its fair share of burger restaurants? Think again.

Starting early next month, West Berkeley will welcome the fifth location of Farm Burger, a grass-fed burger franchise from Atlanta, Georgia. Farm Burger will join Philz Coffee, Doughnut Dolly, and Whole Foods in the brand-new Gilman District development at 10th and Gilman.

Farm Burger started with a stroke of luck. Founders George Frangos and Jason Mann originally met when Frangos ran a reference check for one of Mann’s old employees. At the time, Mann was at the helm of the Athens, GA farm-to-table restaurant, Farm 255, and Frangos was managing restaurants in Atlanta, GA and Portsmouth, NH. After meeting, Mann hired Frangos to consult on his restaurant.

“He and I were just sitting around one day looking at the business model for his restaurant and we realized that what really sold were a lot of burgers,” said Frangos. “At one point I thought, ‘We should just open up a grass-fed burger place, raise all the cattle, and call it a day.’ The idea stuck with me.” … Continue reading »

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Josephine: Creating home-cooked meals, community

Julie Hotz for the photo of Charley & Tal
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On Thursday evenings, a black clapboard sign sits outside Terry Betts’ West Berkeley home. A steady trickle of people stops by to fill their own containers with Greek-style chicken cooked with honey, cinnamon, tomatoes and garbanzo beans, rice pilaf and a cucumber salad on the side.

While there, they can choose from a few add-ons, like home-made granola, fresh juices and a plum cake for dessert. Some sit around the living room and chat for awhile before leaving.

Betts is a talented home cook who is making additional income each week through Josephine, a new start-up offering home-cooked meals for sale. On another night, she offered Vietnamese tamarind chicken with rice noodles, and on another, it was Polish stuffed cabbage. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Tia’s, Longbranch, Descanso, Plank and more

Dana Zumot, the new owner of Tia's, a cafe that has replaced Levant, which was only open a few weeks. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Openings, closings…

TIA’S A new café called Tia’s is set to open imminently at the spot once occupied by the short-lived Levant Organic Café on the corner of Kittredge and Oxford streets in downtown Berkeley. The owner, Dana Zumot, has previously worked as a restaurant manager and her love of cooking led her to open her own place at 2177 Kittredge St. Tia’s will be a casual café serving salads and panini sandwiches, as well as coffee and tea. With its location close to the Cal campus, and its light-filled atmosphere, Zumot is hoping Tia’s becomes a popular hang-out space. Telephone the café at 510-647-9863 to confirm it is open before venturing out. … Continue reading »

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9 new Berkeley, Oakland spots to eat and drink beer

Photo: Trappist Provisions
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1. Hog’s Apothecary

Hog’s Apothecary just passed its one-year anniversary in Temescal, and it already seems like a neighborhood fixture. With 33 local craft brews on tap — some may come from as far away as the Pacific Northwest — and a Cicerone (beer sommelier) on staff, this place takes its beer seriously. (There are also bottles, and a few wines and sodas). Chef-owner John Streit has designed a menu that is pork-heavy (with a name like that, is that a surprise?) offering charcuterie, sausages and lard-fried potato chips, but there are plenty of non-pork and vegetarian options, too. Communal tables encourage conversation, especially about what beer you’re drinking. Tip: Though a casual place, it’s extremely popular, and those in the know make reservations on OpenTable. Also, while you may discover your new favorite beer there, don’t count on it to be there the next time you go; taps change constantly, as does the menu. Follow the business on Facebook to learn what new beers are being poured. Hog’s Apothecary is at 375 40th St., Oakland. Hours: Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Closed Tuesdays. Continue reading »

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NOSH Weekly delivers free East Bay food stories

Chocolate cranberry cake
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Last week saw the launch of NOSH Weekly, a free weekly email that points to the best, most interesting, most mouth-watering stories about food, restaurants, chefs and more in the East Bay.

Sign up to receive NOSH Weekly: your free weekly East Bay food email

Berkeleyside launched its standalone food section NOSH in November 2012. Unlike its host, NOSH covers cities other than Berkeley — from Oakland to Kensington, scooping up El Cerrito, Alameda and Albany on the way. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Judoku, Daily Pint, Imm Thai, Mollie Rose, more

Bibimbap at Bowl'd, Emeryville. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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DRUNKEN FISH OUT, JUDOKU IN The team behind popular Korean restaurants Spoon and Bowl’d has a new enterprise coming to North Oakland. Chi Moon and Jessica Oh — who have two Bowl’d locations in the East Bay, in Albany and Oakland, as well as Spoon in Berkeley — are opening a new restaurant in Oakland called Judoku Sushi. [Note: Moon and Oh are using the company name of Jechi, and gave Berkeleyside the actual name of the new restaurant — Judoku — on Friday afternoon. Oh also said, via email, that Judoku means "addict" in Japanese.] The new venture is set to take the place of Drunken Fish on Piedmont at Broadway. Sushi spot Drunken Fish had quite a long run, but served its last meal Sept. 26, according to a reviewer on Yelp. No word yet on when Judoku will open or exactly what diners can expect to find, but stay tuned for details. The business does have an on-sale beer and wine license pending with the state — as well as a temporary permit already issued, which may bode well for a prompt opening. Judoku is set to be located at 3314 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. 

Continue reading »

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Bites: CREAM, B-Dama, See’s Candies, Eat Real Fest

Eat Real
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Openings, closings…

B-DAMA OPENING NEXT WEEK We hear from the manager of Swan’s Market in Old Oakland that B-Dama will have the soft opening of its new restaurant there next week. Japanese restaurant B-Dama’s original location is on Piedmont Avenue. Swan’s Market in Old Oakland now has a wealth of eating options to choose from. According to its website, restaurant tenants include Breads of IndiaCoobi Yogurt & WrapsCosechaThe Cook and Her FarmerMiss Ollie’sPeriscope CellarsRosamunde Sausage Grill, Sincere Seafood and Taylor’s Sausages. Connect with B-Dama on Facebook.

NEW CREAM (PHILZ?) LOCATIONS CREAM, the hot spot for good-value ice cream sandwiches, is looking at opening a new shop on the Oakland-Berkeley border in one of the retail spaces created by the new Safeway project currently under construction at College and Claremont avenues. According to Inside Scoop SF which first reported the news, Philz Coffee may also snap up one of the street-front spaces. CREAM’s Telegraph Avenue store in Berkeley is a Cal student staple, and the chain has been in expansion mode with seven new franchise and corporate locations around the Bay Area, most recently in the Mission. CREAM co-owner Gus Shamieh told Inside Scoop that Philz Coffee was also considering one of the Safeway spaces. The Berkeley coffee chain recently opened its second location at the emerging Gilman district shopping hub. … Continue reading »

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Comal owners settle suit for new Berkeley restaurant

An early rendering of a new restaurant prosed for Ashby Avenue
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lawsuit brought against the City of Berkeley and the owners of Comal restaurant, who plan to open a new restaurant at 2635 Ashby Ave. in the Elmwood neighborhood, has been settled.

A group called the Elmwood Neighborhood Assocation (ENA), concerned that a new upscale restaurant in the area would make traffic and parking unbearable filed a lawsuit in April. This followed a protracted approval process for the restaurant, including a previous appeal.

According to the terms of the settlement, the city has agreed to compile a report on parking in the neighborhood within 12 months of the August settlement — parking difficulties was one of the key issues raised in the suit — and  the restaurant owners will take steps both to advise customers on where to park, and to manage their alcohol consumption. They will close the restaurant to new customers at 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and agreed to pay $5,000 in attorney’s fees to Stuart Flashman, who represented ENA.

John Paluska, owner with Andrew Hoffman of Comal, said he hopes to start the build-out of the new restaurant, which is likely to serve Northern Californian cuisine and will have a full bar serving craft cocktails, early next year, and be open by the summer of 2015. … Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: Townie in Berkeley

Mussels with chorizo and white wine, Townie in Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Diners have a cool, new option in Berkeley with the opening last month of Townie, at 1799 University Ave., in what was for decades Caffe Venezia until it closed last year. The interior has gotten a major overhaul and Chef Dana Ryan is at the helm of this small plates New American restaurant at Grant Street, not far from downtown Berkeley.

The menu is small, but features one hit after another, using seasonal ingredients and what the owners describe as “the highest quality meats and seafood.” Potato croquettes, the garlic cheese toast and the mussels with chorizo and white wine were some of the favorites during a recent meal. … Continue reading »

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100 yummy recipes from a gluten-free omnivore

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Writer and photographer Erin Scott has just published her first book, titled Yummy Supper, which offers 100 “fresh, luscious and honest recipes from a (gluten-free) omnivore.” The book grew from Scott’s popular blog of the same name. We asked the Berkeley resident to spill the beans on her inspirations, what the deal is with gluten free, and where she likes to source her food locally.

The new book is gorgeous. What did you set out to achieve when you wrote/photographed it?

Thank you! I wanted to make a book full of recipes that are fresh, delicious, and accessible to a wide range of home cooks. I looked at photography as a powerful way to draw people into the kitchen and encourage them to cook –a well-written recipe can be enticing, of course, but photography is an unbeatable tool to whet someone’s appetite.

The book stemmed from your Yummy Supper blog. When and why did you start writing that?

I accidentally fell into blogging back in the summer of 2009. At that point, I didn’t even know how blogs worked and I’d always been a bit suspicious of technology, but I was looking for a friendly forum to share recipes with other food-loving friends and a blog seemed like a good vehicle.

I’d been diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2008 and at first felt very isolated in this food-obsessed town of ours. I started Yummy Supper because I was looking to reconnect with folks around the joy of cooking simple, seasonal foods, to look beyond my dietary limitation and create a delicious common ground for sharing recipes with other food lovers, gluten-free or not. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Cask, Café Underwood, Fieldwork Brewing Co.

beers
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Openings, closings…

CASK ON COLLEGE IS OPEN Berkeley has a new upmarket liquor store with the opening of Cask at 3185 College Ave. (pictured above). We told you in March about plans by Future Bars, the group behind San Francisco cocktail bars Bourbon & Branch and Local Edition — as well as the forthcoming Tupper & Reed cocktail bar in the old Beckett’s space in Berkeley — to take over College Avenue Wine Spirits & Deli. The deed is done and, as Tablehooper reports, Cask on College is now up and running. Cask says it specializes “in curating a selection of hard-to-find, unusual, esoteric, and generally tasty wines, spirits, beers, and mixers, along with some interesting books and bar tools. We try our best to select only the best products that we can find, and we offer you our assurance that our buyers have tasted or used every product before they hit the shelves.” Connect with the business on its website and on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s first parklet opens in the Gourmet Ghetto

Berkeley's first parklet has opened outside the Cheese Board Collective at xxxx Shattuck Ave. Photo: Colleen Neff
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It’s been a long time coming, but Berkeley today welcomed its first ever permanent parklet.

The enclosed sitting and eating area is located outside the ever-popular Cheese Board Collective at 1520 Shattuck Ave. in the city’s Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood.

“It is lovely!” said Colleen Neff who took some of the photos shown here. … Continue reading »

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6 new Berkeley and Oakland restaurants to try now

Los Cilantros
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1. Los Cilantros

Dilsa Lugo opened Los Cilantros at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley in May after running her own catering business under the same name for several years, cooking for high-profile clients such as Isabel Allende along the way. Lugo, who arrived in the Bay Area in 2003 speaking no English, was helped by La Cocina, the nonprofit food business incubator in San Francisco’s Mission district that works with low-income female food entrepreneurs. Now the talented cook is serving up huevos divorciados, torta para desayuno and churros for the breakfast crowd, and carnitas, albondigas and tacos at lunchtime in La Peña’s café space. There’s also a weekend brunch. (See the full Los Cilantros menu.) The Chronicle called Los Cilantros’ slow-cooked barbacoa, which comes with a smoky almond salsa, “absurdly good.Los Cilantros is at 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. [Read about Lugo's path to opening her own restaurant.] Continue reading »

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