Tag Archives: Berkeley dining

Bites: Antoinette, Hoi Polloi, Valentine’s Day, more

side view of the Claremont Resort & Spa
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Openings, closings…

CHEF NAMED FOR ANTOINETTE AT CLAREMONT The former Paragon restaurant at the Claremont is set to open this month, according to a spokeswoman for the hotel’s owners, the Fairmont Group. As we previously reported, Dominique Crenn, of Atelier Crenn and Le Petit Crenn fame, both in San Francisco, is overseeing the opening of French-style brasserie Antoinette. The new restaurant’s chef is Justin Mauz, who has left his post as sous-chef at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion in Las Vegas to come to the East Bay. Mauz has also worked as pastry chef at Sixteen Restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Chicago. Farimont describes Antoinette as “Chef Crenn’s take on the classic ideas that surround the French dining culture: ingredients, responsible sourcing, and the community that it inspires.” Antoinette will be at The Claremont Club & Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley. Connect with the Claremont on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s SoDoI wants to serve more than coffee

SoDoI Coffee. Photo: Kate Williams
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“Serving great coffee is not enough,” Jae Chung told me throughout our preview tour of his new coffee “tasting house” in Berkeley’s Telegraph Channing Mall. “We also should use coffee as a communication tool to bring people together in a positive way.”

Such is Chung’s vision for his company, SoDoI, pronounced “So do I.” The name, and Chung’s journey into the coffee world, takes its inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr. As Chung says, King wanted to make the world a better place even if he “knew the world would end tomorrow.” Chung’s response to that sentiment? “So do I.” … Continue reading »

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Pappy’s owner responds to discrimination charges

Photo: Pappy's Sports Bar & Grill/Facebook
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Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar is a magnet for Cal students and sports fans, slinging burgers, wings, and affordable draft beers for them on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue. It is also the subject of recent allegations of racially biased hiring practices.

On Friday, Jan. 22, Brownyn Harris took a photo of two hiring signs posted on the window of Pappy’s. One sign, written entirely in Spanish, requested applicants for a dishwashing position. A second sign, written entirely in English, requested applicants for cashiers and bartenders.

Harris posted the photo to Pappy’s Facebook page with the comment: “Took this picture today after we were walking by and my boyfriend said ‘I don’t really speak Spanish but is that incredibly racist?'” Her post caught the attention of the East Bay Express, which ran a story on Jan. 29 alleging discriminatory hiring practices on the part of Pappy’s.

While Pappy’s owner, Alex Popov, did not comment to the East Bay Express, he did talk to NOSH this week about the uproar the signs provoked. “There was a lot of irony and misunderstanding in the article,” he said, referring to the East Bay Express story. … Continue reading »

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Tell us your picks for East Bay eating, drinking

Doughnut Dolly doughnuts are hand-rolled and filled to order. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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NOSH needs your help! We’re compiling the ultimate guide to all things food and drink in the East Bay, and we can’t do it without you.

We’d like to know where you go for brunch, a quick lunch, or a special-occasion dinner. We want your hot tips for the best dive bar or the most perfectly prepared cocktail. We’d like to hear about your neighborhood coffee shop and your number one ice cream scoop.

Take the Nosh Readers East Bay Picks survey now!

We’ve compiled a quick survey to make it easy. Remember to choose only places that are in the East Bay.

To sweeten the deal, you can be entered into a draw to win one of three Doughnut Dolly gift certificates worth $20 each — just include your email address at the end. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Kobani, Grocery Café, Modu, more

Assorted starters: dolmas, babaganoush, hummus, kibbeh. Photo: Anna Mindess
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Openings, closings…

KOBANI SET TO RE-OPEN Fans of Emin Tekin’s kurdish cooking take note: Kobani, which closed for renovations last fall, is set to re-open in the next couple of weeks, according to a tipster who stopped by the restaurant earlier this week. Kobani’s kebabs, hummus, dolmas, lentil soup and gyros received generous praise upon the restaurant’s opening last May. (This editor is a particularly big fan of the tabbouli salad served with Kobani’s gigantic falafels.) We’ve reached out to Tekin for confirmation and any more details, and we will update the post when we hear from him. Kobani is at 1901 University Ave. (at Martin Luther King Jr. Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Mokka to close: Minimum wage rise a major factor

Mokka Photo Jed Schmidt
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The owners of popular Berkeley coffee shop Mokka are keen to stress that they are not against the principle of increased minimum wages. However, a recent hike, and future planned increases, have played a significant role in their decision to close the business at 3075 Telegraph Ave., probably in June, 10 years after they opened.

“We have decided not to renew our lease primarily as a result of the rising minimum wage in Berkeley. The increase from $10 in September 2015 to $12.53 this October, coupled with the continuing rise to $15, requires a new business model for us. While we are not opposed to higher minimum wages, we are not confident that we can profitably operate on this timetable,” Michael and Susan Iida told Berkeleyside after we asked them about the “For Lease” sign that was recently put up in Mokka’s window.

Many readers got in touch with Berkeleyside when the sign first appeared, and expressed concern at the possibility that the coffee shop might be on its way out. “Drove by Mokka on Telegraph and saw a For Lease sign in the window… I hope they are OK. We are very fond of them in the neighborhood. Nice people and very good food!” wrote one. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Gorgeous and Green
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WILLIAM STOUT CLOSES/RELOCATES Architectural bookstore William Stout has closed its Berkeley store, at 1605 Solano Ave., and is merging the business with its publishing arm on the Richmond waterfront. Owner Bill Stout told Berkeleyside the North Berkeley store never really met his expectations. “Moving means we can consolidate our inventory and service our mail-order customers quicker,” he said. Stout, whose flagship store has operated on Montgomery Street in San Francisco for more than 40 years, opened the Berkeley store in fall 2010. At the time, Bill Stout said he chose Berkeley because of the store’s publishing collaboration with UC Berkeley, and because he saw the Solano district as being “a more vibrant residential neighborhood than where we are now.” Stout also homed in on Berkeley because he believed there were more bibliophiles in the East Bay. “In San Francisco an interest in books is dying,” he said in 2010. Stout is hopeful that this latest decision”should be a good move.” William Stout‘s East Bay outpost is now at 1328 South 51st St., Richmond. Continue reading »

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Mooyah burger franchise eyes Berkeley expansion

A double Mooyah burger with blue cheese and fries. Photo courtesy: Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes
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The fast-casual burger trend is showing little sign of slowing down. In the East Bay alone, small and mid-sized burger chains — Farm Burger, TrueBurger, Umami Burger, Smashburger and Habit Burger Grill, to name a few — have all opened in the last few years, replacing more traditional fast food burger joints like Oscar’s.

Now Texas-based burger brand Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes has made plans to expand into Berkeley.

Mooyah’s Northern California locations currently include Walnut Creek, Rocklin, Los Gatos and Morgan Hill, and Loren Katzmann, a Mooyah development agent and Walnut Creek franchise owner, thinks that the region has lots of room for growth.

“I think just Alameda County alone can support eight to nine Mooyah Burgers,” she said. While she’s looking at growing into locations like Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore and Hayward, Berkeley is getting top priority. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Cholita Linda, La Parisienne, Subway, more

Cholita Linda fish tacos, taken at the Temescal farmers market. Photo: Alix Wall
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Openings, closings…

CHOLITA LINDA OPENING NEW LOCATION IN GRAND LAKE Temescal’s popular taco and Latin comfort food joint Cholita Linda is expanding, we hear from the Splashpad Park Facebook page. The new location, at 3256 Lakeshore Ave., will take the place of The Burrito Shop, which closed last September. Cholita Linda got its start as a food stand at the Jack London Square farmers market in 2008; it opened its first brick-and-mortar location in February 2014. The restaurant’s fish tacos are especially popular, and they were named the best in the Bay Area by San Francisco Magazine in 2014. Other items on its menu include pan-Latin dishes like Cubano sandwiches, chicharron de Pollo plates and coconut pudding desserts. Cholita Linda will be at 3256 Lakeshore Ave. (near Lake Park Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Gas tank discovered on former Oscar’s lot

Cleanup at the future Sweetgreens location. Photo: @gmcc/Twitter
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It’s not always easy to renovate an historic eatery.

Washington, D.C.-based salad chain Sweetgreen has been working on its new Berkeley location, in the former Oscar’s restaurant, since last fall. Over the past two months, construction has hit a slight snag, however.

We learned from Sweetgreen co-founder Nicholas Jammet that the site, at 1890 Shattuck Ave. at Hearst, housed a gas station prior to Oscar’s — which was a fixture at that spot for 65 years before it closed last year. Jammet said he and the rest of his team were aware of the issue before signing the lease, and he told NOSH in an email that they secured an outside agency to run an environmental safety analysis of the building. They also have worked with the landlord to ensure that environmental testing and cleanup would be performed if needed during construction.

As it turned out, more than just a little cleanup was needed. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Telefèric, Ike’s Place, Best Coast Burritos

Pintxos cart at Telefèric Barcelona, which opens Jan. 17 in Walnut Creek. Photo: Beth Thomas
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Openings, closings…

TELEFÈRIC BARCELONA TO OPEN JAN. 17 After some construction and inspection delays, it looks like the Walnut Creek location of popular Spanish tapas restaurant Telefèric Barcelona will open Sunday, Jan. 17. The first U.S. outpost of the restaurant “aims to be a lively gathering spot that builds upon the rich cultural traditions and flavors of its original locations in Spain,” according to a press release. It will serve a menu of Spanish pintxos (skewered snacks that are typical in Northern Spain) served from a dim sum-style cart, as well as larger tapas and paellas. Expect popular items like “Ma Premiere Foie” (foie gras served with grilled apple, caramelized onion, and cherry jam), “Pulpo Telefèric” (wood grilled octopus with roasted potato cream and crispy bacon), and albóndigas “Lo Que Digas” (spiced chorizo meatballs with cuttlefish and sofrito, honey, and chocolate sauce). The cocktail menu has been crafted by Michael Iglesias, a partner at Oakland’s Calavera, and it includes modern twists on classic cocktails like an olive martini (gin or vodka, olive infused vermouth, smoked olive oil, dirty martini sphere), a few different gin and tonics, traditional drinks like sangria and large party pitchers to share. Oakland’s Arcsine designed the 160-seat restaurant, which will initially open only for dinner service. In the coming weeks, the restaurant will expand its hours to include to lunch and a weekend brunch. Telefèric Barcelona will be at 1500 Mount Diablo Blvd. (at South Main Street), Walnut Creek. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Café Clem revamps to cope with labor, food costs

Cafe Clem at 2020 Kittredge St. will reopen today after being close for three weeks. Photo: Café Clem
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For the last three weeks, patrons of Café Clem at 2020 Kittredge St. in downtown Berkeley have gone to the restaurant, only to see a sign on the door reading “Café Clem will be closed until further notice.”

Many worried that the much-loved restaurant was shuttered for good. But at 7:30 a.m. Monday, the café will reopen, something that the owner, Dorothée Mitrani-Bell, wasn’t sure would happen again.

Mitrani-Bell, who also owns the French restaurant La Note on Shattuck Avenue, shuttered Café Clem during the holidays to rethink its existence. The café, while popular, was under serious financial pressure. In fact, in September, Mitrani-Bell addressed the Berkeley City Council and said: “I can’t survive.” The recent rise in Berkeley’s minimum wage, coupled with increased wholesale costs, meant the cafe’s margins were not large enough, said Mitrani-Bell.

However, after mulling over the situation, Mitrani-Bell decided to revamp aspects of the restaurant, rather than close it. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Café Eugene, Nabolom Bakery, Loco’l, more

Café Eugene will open in the former Little Star Pizza location at 1175 Solano Ave. on Jan. 13. Image: Google Maps
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Openings, closings…

CAFÉ EUGENE COMING JAN. 13 The newest project from the folks who brought us Little Star Pizza will open Café Eugene in Albany at the end of next week. The Pacific Northwest-inspired restaurant will open in the former Little Star location at 1175 Solano Ave. (Little Star moved next door.) Partner Ryan Muff has roots in Oregon, and the restaurant intends to highlight the flavors of the region with dishes like clam chowder pot pie; smoked fish pate with dill pickled vegetables, a soft-boiled farm egg and house-made black pepper fennel crackers; and build-your-own toast with toppings like house-cured salmon with cream cheese, sardines with marinated chilies and a boiled egg, or melted sharp cheddar cheese with sweet pear butter. Café Eugene will also serve “intriguing and unintimidating” cocktails, according to a press release; these include seasonally rotating warm cocktails like Spanish Coffee and spirit-centric drinks like the Knickerbocker (bourbon, amaro, Meletti, Amontillado sherry, Eugene Filbert Liqueur, orange twist). The restaurant will be open from breakfast through dinner, with a weekend brunch. Café Eugene will be at 1175 Solano Ave. (at Stannage Avenue), Albany. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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