Tag Archives: Berkeley dining

Bites: Nick and Aron’s closes, Craft Beer Cellar, more

Photo: Nick and Aron's
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Openings, closings

NICK AND ARON’S IS NO MORE After being open for only seven months, Nick and Aron’s has closed. The Temescal restaurant announced the closure on Facebook, and its last day of service was Nov. 16. Nick and Aron’s was the second restaurant from Aron Ford and Nick Yapor-Cox, who also own Nick’s Pizza on Shattuck Avenue. The full-service restaurant built upon Nick’s pizza menu, serving dishes like wood-roasted chicken and meatballs in addition to Nick’s signature “Oakland-style” pies. Nick and Aron’s also served a killer breakfast and baked goods menu, and will surely be missed by the neighborhood. According to the Facebook post, the restaurant was “no longer able to pay the high costs of running a large operation.” Ford and Yapor-Cox did say that they have “been so welcomed by the neighborhood, and it breaks our hearts to stop service.” Nick’s Pizza will remain open. Nick and Aron’s was at 4316 Telegraph Ave. (at 44th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. Nick’s Pizza is at 6211 Shattuck Ave. (at 62nd Street), Oakland. Connect with Nick’s Pizza on Facebook.Continue reading »

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La Marcha: A mostly delicious work-in-progress

Wild boar meatballs, creamy tomato sauce, shaved manchego, English peas at La Marcha. Photo: Kate Williams
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Spanish food may be getting ready to have its moment — again.

It was the cuisine to eat in the early 2000s. Where I lived in Portland, tapas restaurants seemed to open up every week. We all learned about patatas bravas, chorizo and Rioja. Diners got a taste of small plates and hedonistic, hours-long meals at late hours. And then something happened.

“Tapas” became fusion-ized. New restaurant “concepts” claimed to serve “Japanese tapas” or “Scandinavian tapas.” Small plates became the trend du jour; its roots became stuffy and forgotten.

But here we are at the tail end of 2015 and tapas are suddenly relevant again. Duende in Uptown has been going strong for three years. Shakewell in the Lakeshore neighborhood proved popular as soon as it opened last year. Barcelona’s Teleféric is getting ready to open its first U.S. location in Walnut Creek. And West Berkeley is now getting in on that action.

Earlier this month, the owners of the mobile catering outfit Ñora Spanish Cuisine opened their first brick-and-mortar restaurant, La Marcha. The small dining room at the corner of San Pablo and University avenues is a love letter to Spain, a celebration of the casual, exuberant cuisine that we fell for a decade ago. … Continue reading »

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Bites: T-Rex BBQ, Café Gratitude, Firebrand, more

Photo: T-Rex BBQ/Facebook
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Openings, closings

T-REX BBQ TEMPORARILY CLOSED We received several tips that West Berkeley’s T-Rex BBQ has closed. A sign posted on the door reads: “T Rex is closed for the near future due to management changes. We appreciate your patronage, and hope to see you again in the near future.” We confirmed with the restaurant owners that the closure is temporary. It will re-open this afternoon at 4 p.m. For now, T-Rex will only serve dinner on weeknights. It will remain open for brunch through dinner on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant, which serves an array of barbecue styles, had an ownership shuffle in 2012. The original owners, Haig and Cindy Krikorian, of the K2 restaurant group (Lalime’s), sold the business to Matt Sturm, of Fly Bar and Solstice in San Francisco. T-Rex BBQ is at 1300 10th St. (at Gilman Street), Berkeley.Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Café Gratitude closing by end of 2015

A bowl full of gratitude at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley. Photo: Danielle Torres-Molinski
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After nearly 10 years of operation in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, Café Gratitude is closing.

The restaurant will cease operations by the end of 2015. Owners Matthew and Terces Engelhart told NOSH that they intend to focus on “farming and the six Southern California restaurants.”

“We have enjoyed serving the East Bay community,” they continued, “and thank them for their loyal patronage, and our employees for their years of service and dedication.” … Continue reading »

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Anvil Brewing taking shape in West Berkeley

Test batches of beer in progress at the future Anvil Brewing site. Photo: Sean Wells
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The newest West Berkeley brewery will likely open in spring 2016 on Gilman Street.

Anvil Brewing, a small craft brewery started by home brewers Sean Wells and Tim Sellmeyer, is beginning construction on the brewery site in the coming days. (We broke the news on the brewery, to be located at 912 Gilman St., in May.)

Wells told NOSH this week that Anvil has plans for a two-phase build-out that will include not only a 762 square-foot tasting room, but an adjacent quick-service restaurant as well. Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board approved Anvil’s use permit for both phases during its Oct. 22 meeting.

Wells says that there is not much improvement work necessary for the brewery and tasting room, so construction will move quickly. They will likely begin work on restaurant, which will be located at 916 Gilman St., later in 2016. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Passione Pizza truck, Park Street Grill

Photo: Passione Pizza
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Openings, closings…

PASSIONE PIZZA NOW HAS A FOOD TRUCK Berkeley-based pizza company Passione Pizza debuted its first fully functional food truck in October in Sacramento. The truck will make its first East Bay appearance next week. Passione has been selling pre-made pizza dough and par-baked pizzas using high-quality wheat and gluten-free flours since 2013. The company had operated a mobile pizza oven for catering events since its beginnings, but owner Fabrizio Cercatore, who also runs Hot Italian in Emeryville, says on the company website that the demand far exceeded the capacity of the small oven. Hence, the new food truck. Passione has been very well-received so far. Yelper Michael M. said, “Passione Pizza tastes exactly like the fresh bread served in the trattorias in Rome.” Dave F. called the crust “amazing.” And Nana D. said of the pre-made dough: “It is by far the best pizza dough I have ever tried making it at home!” Passione Pizza is at 2326 5th Street (between Bancroft and Channing ways), Berkeley. Connect with the pizzeria on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Bites: La Marcha, Mamacitas Café, Novel Brewing

Paella at La Marcha. Photo: Phi Tran
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Openings, closings…

LA MARCHA OPEN IN WEST BERKELEY We knew that La Marcha, the brick-and-mortar location for Ñora Spanish Cuisine at 2026 San Pablo Ave., was getting close to opening last month. Today the restaurant is open. La Marcha’s name is a reference to to the typical late-night Spanish bar crawl, where patrons stroll from place to place and enjoy small plates and drinks throughout the evening. The Spanish-inspired restaurant is serving around 25 tapas and eight to nine paella dishes, plus dessert. These paella dishes range from traditional preparations like paella Valenciana (rabbit, duck, snail, sweet peppers, rosemary, saffron and bomba rice) to California-inspired twists using seasonal ingredients. On the drinks side, La Marcha is featuring 20 different sherries, plus 30 Spanish wines by the bottle, 3 wines on tap, Spanish-style ciders and Bay Area craft beers. La Marcha is at 2026 San Pablo Ave. (near University Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Build Pizzeria owners file for bankruptcy

Build Pizzeria, Berkeley, CA, May 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The future looks bleak for the shuttered Build Pizzeria Roma and Berkeley Underground in downtown Berkeley after it has emerged that former owners Lisa Holt and David Shapiro filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.

Berkeleyside has also learned that Holt and Shapiro sold their interest in Build’s holding company, Rustic Restaurants LLC, to the San Rafael-based Moana Restaurant Group last year. Moana operates more than 20 restaurants around the Bay Area including Redd in Napa Valley, Corner’s Tavern in Walnut Creek, and the Lark Creek, Piatti Ristorante and Yankee Pier chains.

Holt and Shapiro lost all their investment as a result of the sale, according to a source close to Rustic Restaurants who asked not to be named for legal reasons. They filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Oct. 6. The pair, who have not been involved in the Berkeley businesses since April, had hoped Moana would continue operating Build and Berkeley Underground under the umbrella group.

However Build, which opened at 2286 Shattuck Ave. in 2013, and Berkeley Underground, the nightclub the couple opened in late 2014 beneath the restaurant, have been shuttered since April. And it has come to Berkeleyside’s attention that prospective tenants are being shown the vacant property. … Continue reading »

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End of road for Oscar’s after 65 years in Berkeley

Oscar's. Photo: Colleen Neff
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The time has come for Oscar’s, the iconic burger and hot dog restaurant on Shattuck Avenue. Oscar’s, a fixture in downtown Berkeley for 65 years, is now officially closed.

We announced the impending closure of the restaurant this spring. Oscar’s, which served up a no-frills menu of burgers, fried chicken, French fries and hotdogs, will be replaced by Washington, D.C.-based “seasonal fast-food chain” Sweetgreen. The new restaurant will serve primarily vegan and vegetarian selection of salads and grain bowls, using ingredients that change with the seasons.  … Continue reading »

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Bites: Mr. Dewie’s to Albany, Kobani remodel

Ari and Andrew Cohen showcase their nut milk ice cream. Photo: Mr. Dewie's Frozen Dessert
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Openings, closings

MR. DEWIES TO ALBANY The vegan ice cream company is opening its flagship scoop shop in the former Burger Depot location at 1116 Solano Ave. in Albany. Mr. Dewie’s has already posted signs on the windows and announced the pending opening on its Facebook page. The owners hope to open in January 2016. Mr. Dewie’s “Cashew Corner,” as they are calling the shop, will exclusively sell the company’s cashew-based ice cream and will “create a space where [it] can make small batches, have greater freedom to explore new flavors, produce innovative dessert options, and use more seasonal and local ingredients.” Mr. Dewie’s raised money for the shop through a successful Indiegogo campaign, on which we reported this springMr. Dewie’s will be at 1116 Solano Ave. (at Kains Avenue), Albany. Connect with the company on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Halal Guys headed to Berkeley’s Center Street

Halal Guys. Photo: Halal Guys/Facebook
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Last week, we broke the news that Center Street’s Le Regal closed. We’ve now received confirmation that the space will be filled by the first Bay Area location of New York-based restaurant The Halal Guys.

The hyper-popular restaurant announced its West Coast expansion earlier this year, but had until this point been mum on its Berkeley location. The new restaurant is part of a huge growth effort on the part of The Halal Guys, which got its start in 1990 as a converted hot dog truck in New York. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Perdition closes, changes at Oliveto

Barbecue spread at Perdition Smokehouse. Photo: Perdition Smokehouse
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Openings, closings

PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE CLOSES SUDDENLY We were surprised to hear that Berkeley’s Perdition Smokehouse shuttered suddenly this week. While the barbecue itself wasn’t particularly memorable, Perdition did have one of the best tap lists around and an excellent outdoor patio on which to drink them. The East Bay Express had the scoop, but didn’t have many details on the reason for the closure. EBX speculated that the closure was likely tied to former chef Mike O’Brien’s decision to leave the company, which also includes The Trappist, The Trappist Provisions, and Mikkeler Bar in San Francisco, earlier this month. (O’Brien was the chef at both Perdition and Mikkeler.) A source close to the company also speculates that this split was the source of financial strain for the company, enough that it caused the restaurant to close. We have reached out to owner Chuck Stilphen, as well as O’Brien, but have yet to receive any comments on the closure. For now, though, we’ll just have to mourn the loss of that tap list. Continue reading »

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Bites: Butcher’s Son to University, Gather’s new chef

The Butcher's Son is planning on opening on University Avenue before the end of the year. Photo: The Butcher's Son
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Openings, closings

VEGAN BUTCHER SHOP LIKELY HEADED TO UNIVERSITY The Butcher’s Son, the vegan butcher shop and deli that originally planned on opening on Solano Avenue, is now very close to securing a new location on University Avenue. Owner Peter Fikaris confirmed that he and his sister, and co-owner Christina Stobing, have already negotiated a lease for the shop’s new location, in what is currently the Greek restaurant Athineon at 1914A University Ave. Fikaris and Stobing have applied for a liquor license for the space, and they will likely be able to get the keys to the restaurant once the license transfer is complete. This newest iteration of The Butcher’s Son will be “less bakery” and “more deli,” said Fikaris, and will include dinner service once the deli is up and running. Fikaris describes the future restaurant as an “old Italian spaghetti and meatball place with a selection of different pasta and pizza dishes” — all vegan, of course. On the deli side, The Butcher’s Son will offer vegan meats, cheeses, salads and sides, plus a selection of bagels, sandwiches, pastries and desserts. Everything will be made in-house. Fikaris hopes to open in two to three months. The Butcher’s Son will be at 1914 A University Ave., (at Bonita Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the deli on FacebookContinue reading »

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