Tag Archives: Berkeley dining

Bites: Nizza La Bella, Passione Pizza Emporio, more

The bar at now-closed Nizza La Bella. Photo: Nizza La Bella/Facebook
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Openings, closings

NIZZA LA BELLA HAS CLOSED The well-loved bistro in Albany closed as of July 12. In a note posted on the restaurant’s exterior, Nizza La Bella‘s owner announced that she was ready to retire after 17 years of running the restaurant. The note also thanked the restaurant’s regular customers and listed each employee by name and length of employment. Nizza La Bella specialized in casual cuisine from Nice, France, which has long had an Italian influence. Much of its menu, including its ever-popular pizza, was cooked in a wood-fired oven. The restaurant space is currently on the market, and we will keep you posted as we learn of Nizza’s replacement. … Continue reading »

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30 new East Bay restaurants, bars for you to try now

Dishes from Burma Bear in Oakland. Photo: Chloe List, courtesy Postcard PR
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Something’s in the air this summer. It’s not even August, and we’ve already covered the openings of 30 East Bay restaurants and bars since Memorial Day. With all of this excitement, it can be hard to keep up.

Here at Nosh, we’ve decided to do the hard work for you and compiled a running list of all the new spots. Of course, with restaurant openings invariably come restaurant closings, and so we’ve included our tally of those below. Click on the restaurant’s name to read more about each spot on Berkeleyside. And if you need more dining inspiration, don’t forget to check out the Nosh Guide for all of your breakfast, lunch and dinner needs. … Continue reading »

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Bites: East Brother Beer Co., T-Rex, Stag’s Lunchette

Brewing tanks at East Brother Beer Company. Photo: Courtesy East Brother Beer
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Openings, closings

EAST BROTHER BEER COMPANY HEADED TO RICHMOND In case the recent abundance of openings wasn’t enough, the East Bay is set to get yet another brewery, this time in Richmond. East Brother Beer Company, named for the lighthouse just north of the Richmond bridge, will be focusing on updated “craft classics made with precision” — saison, red IPA, red lager, oatmeal stout and a pilsner. Co-founders Chris Coomber and UC Berkeley alum Rob Lightner have been friends for 20 years and home brewing partners for around seven. While neither have professional brewing experience, Coomber has “spent the last five years devoting himself to a rigorous autodidactic program focused on the home brewing sciences,” according to the brewery. He and Lightner have also brought on Peter Landman (Deschutes, Draught Works, Fifty-Fifty) as head brewer. When the East Brother opens (tentatively) in August, it will offer its beers in a taproom at its brewery, as well as in local bars and restaurants. East Brother Beer Company will be at 1001 Canal Blvd. (near Wharf Street), Richmond. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Giovanni to reopen as Gio’s this fall

The facade of Giovanni's. Photo: Ted Friedman
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The fire that broke out at Giovanni last spring may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

In 2014, local developer Nathan George and entrepreneur Xin Jin began discussions on the sale of the restaurant with the Schipani family, the owners of Giovanni. It was a sentimental place for George, who started eating at the historic Italian restaurant with his wife shortly after moving to Berkeley.

“It was our go-to place,” he said. “When [the Schipanis] took it over [again], we became very close to them. We talked with them about their struggles with management, and we were always trying to get more people to eat there.”

Read more about the original Giovanni on Berkeleyside.

George, Xin and the Schipanis went back and forth about the sale for about a year, but finally set a date to sit down with their lawyers to sort out details on April 24, 2015. The restaurant caught on fire the morning of April 23.

The fire slowed down the paperwork, and the deal wasn’t finalized until the end of 2015. Construction started soon afterward, but what was originally intended as a basic update turned into a much bigger project.

“The whole building needed to be upgraded,” said George. “It wasn’t ever intended to be a big project, but we’re more excited about the restaurant’s prospects now. It’s going to be a much better place than if we had just retained the old space.” … Continue reading »

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Bites: Eatsa, Grand Fare, Rhetoric Coffee, more

Photo: Eatsa/Facebook
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Openings, closings

EATSA TO TAKE OVER FORMER CREPES-A-GO-GO IN BERKELEY The robots are coming. Sort of. The high-tech automated quinoa bowl restaurant Eatsa is planning to open its third Bay Area location on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, in the recently vacated Crêpes A-Go-Go. According to Eater SF, Eatsa hopes to open by the time students show back up at Cal’s campus in the fall. Eatsa serves a mostly-healthy menu of grain bowls and salads like the Spice Market Bowl (corn curry, roasted yams, saag paneer, cucumber raita, tandoori tofu, warm lemon-herb toasted quinoa, pita bread and fried chickpeas) and the Bento Bowl (stir-fried quinoa with egg, edamame, crispy wonton strips, teriyaki sauce, miso portobello mushrooms and apple-cabbage slaw). Select locations also offer breakfast. What makes Eatsa stand out amongst the other bowl-and-salad spots now popping up in the area is that the restaurant does not employ any front-of-house staff; instead, customers place orders on iPads or smart phones and then pick up their food in a glass cubicle. (Actual human prep cooks prepare the bowls behind the scenes.) Another difference? The price. Each lunch Eatsa bowl is a mere $6.95 and breakfast items are all under $4  — good news for college students and budget conscious diners alike. Eatsa will be at 2334 Telegraph Ave. (at Durant Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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9 family-friendly Cal-Ital spots across the East Bay

Alex Schell and Molly Schell at Boot and Shoe Service. Photo: Adrienne Schell
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Family dinners are a part of our culture that have lost importance in many parts of the country. Impacted daily schedules, busy lives and, in some cases, the lure of the screen have caused time spent around the table in the evening hours to be the exception to the norm. East Bay California-Italian restaurants have done a great job helping my family buck that trend.

In Italian, the saying, “Gioie della tavola,” translates to “the joys of the table.” In other words, time spent with family, good food and good conversation is at the heart of the culture. The Italian appreciation for seasonal ingredients and traditional wood-fire cooking methods has worked its way into our own food culture here in the East Bay. The below spots offer the best of fresh, local ingredients in Italian dishes with a California twist — perfect for a family meal. … Continue reading »

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Seven fun meals from local farmers market stalls

People enjoy the food and scene at one of Berkeley three farmer's markest. Photo: Neil Mishalov
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Among all the other great things they do for local farmers and communities, our East Bay farmers markets have a workaround to the grocery-shopping-while-hungry problem: a diverse and awesome array of prepared food stalls where you can grab a quick, fresh meal.

A bunch of local favorites have gotten their start at farmers markets before moving into brick-and-mortar locations (looking at you, Cholita Linda), which makes our local markets great places to scope out adventurous and up-and-coming establishments. There’s some wild stuff available out there — even duck and chicken balut (fetal eggs) from Doan Farm’s stall at the Old Oakland Market on Fridays. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Agave Uptown, Plentea, Nellie’s Soulfood

Mole-topped appetizers from Agave Uptown. Photo: Agave Uptown/Facebook
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Openings, closings

AGAVE UPTOWN NOW OPEN Uptown Oakland’s second Oaxacan restaurant officially opened on Wednesday. Agave Uptown is the second restaurant for chef Octavio Diaz, who opened the original Agave in Healdsburg in 2010. Arcsine-designed Agave Uptown focuses on “farm-raised ingredients and handmade cooking … [and will] draw from the artisanal tradition of Oaxaca,” according to a statement. Its menu highlights mole, plus other traditional dishes like molotes (empanadas made with masa), cecina (pork in adobo), and several tacos. Most notably, the new restaurant is working in alignment with the Kapor Center for Social Impact in which it is located. Diaz wants the restaurant to serve as an incubator for underrepresented communities with interest in the culinary field. He plans to partner with nearby schools and colleges to provide internships. Agave Uptown is at 2135 Franklin St. (at 22nd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Bites: Red Bay Coffee Box, Agrodolce, Firebrand

Red Bay Coffee Box. Photo: Red Bay Coffee Roasters/Facebook
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Openings, closings

RED BAY COFFEE BOX NOW OPEN AT THE HIVE Close to a year after announcing it would be opening a café built out of a converted shipping container in Oakland’s Hive complex, Red Bay Coffee Roaster‘s “Coffee Box” is now open. In addition to coffee, we hear from East Bay Dish that the Coffee Box is offering baked goods from Oakland-based Tart Bakery. Funds for the café were raised through a successful $80,000 Kickstarter campaign last spring — the most successful coffee campaign ever on the crowdfunding site, according to Red Bay founder Keba Konte. But permitting issues delayed the opening of the café, despite the fact that Konte had finished construction on the container months ago. In the meantime, Red Bay launched several farmers market stands, including one at the downtown Berkeley market, added Uber as a client, and built out a new headquarters in a converted factory in Fruitvale. The Red Bay Coffee Box is at 2327 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the coffee roasters on FacebookTwitter and InstagramContinue reading »

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Oxford Street parklet, Berkeley’s third, opens today

The Oxford Street parklet. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley’s third parklet, and downtown’s first, will officially open at 5 p.m. today. The outdoor seating area covers 2130 to 2136 Oxford Street in front of Sunny Side Café, East Bay Spice Company, Cinnaholic and Suya African-Caribbean Grill.

The Oxford Street parklet’s design was inspired by the west entrance to UC Berkeley, which is almost directly across the street. It has a concrete wall inspired by the classical buildings on campus adorned with metal cutouts of a Cal Bear, the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. “Our communal vision was to create a similar aesthetic, that of ornate cement and metalwork with an old world field,” Joel DiGiorgio, co-founder of Farm League Design and Management Group, told Nosh in an email. Farm League is the management company behind East Bay Spice Company.
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Triple Rock to open expanded brewpub in August

Triple Rock Brewery. Photo: Frank Farm/Flickr
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It’s been four years in the making, but Berkeley’s Triple Rock has finally set an opening timeline for its expanded dining, kitchen and beer production space on the 1900 block of Shattuck Avenue.

In 2012, we announced that the brewery had made plans to build a two-story building next door to the brewpub, which is currently located at 1920 Shattuck, and to expand the brewpubs operations across both buildings. Triple Rock is sharing the new building with a neighboring engineering firm.

We now hear from Triple Rock that the build out is nearly complete, and that the brewery expects to open the new addition mid-August in conjunction with the brewery’s 30th anniversary. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Pal’s Takeaway, The Cat House, Super Super

Lao sausage sandwich from Pal's Takeaway. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings…

PAL’S TAKEAWAY PARTS WAYS WITH FIREBRAND Oakland-based sandwich maestro Jeff Mason shocked his fans this weekend with the surprise announcement that he’d no longer be serving sandwiches out of Firebrand Artisan Breads. Mason had moved Pal’s Takeaway to Firebrand from San Francisco’s Mission district last fall, and the new location seemed to be doing well. However, we learned from Inside Scoop that Firebrand’s owners Matt Kreutz and Colleen Orlando wanted to expand the bakery’s food offerings to include full brunch and dinner services; Mason did not want to take on that task. Instead, he has decided to look for a new permanent space to house his operation, and lucky for us, Mason told the East Bay Express that he would like to stay in the East Bay. In the meantime, Mason is planning to hold a series of pop-ups, the first of which will be a hot-dog themed dinner called “Pal’s Takeaway Goes to the Dogs.” The exact date and location have yet to be announced, but Mason told EBX it will take place in Berkeley sometime in the next three to four weeks. Update: We’ve learned from Pal’s Takeaway that the hot dog pop-up will take place at Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar at a yet-undecided date in July. Mason wrote on Twitter that the pop-up will include “some dogs some sandwiches some drinks some good stuff!!! Menu soon!!!!” We’ll continue to keep you posted. Connect with Pal’s Takeaway on Twitter.Continue reading »

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Bites: Temescal Brewing, Bomba Doughnuts, more

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Openings, closings

TEMESCAL BREWING OPENS SUNDAY Hot on the heels of Novel Brewing, which opened last week, Temescal Brewing is holding its grand opening celebration this Sunday. The brewery will be open from noon to 10 p.m. and will be participating in that day’s Temescal Street Fair. To mark the opening, Temescal Brewing is releasing a special beer called Block Party, a “super refreshing pale ale specially formulated for optimum block party enjoyment.” After Sunday, the brewery will be open Thurdays from 4-10 p.m., Fridays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m. Temescal Brewing is focusing on what it calls “sunny day” beers; in other words, beers that are lower in alcohol and easier to drink on, yes, a sunny day. Its 15 barrel brewing system does, however, have the capacity to make lots of beers, so Temescal will also serve a range of beer types. “We owe it to the neighborhood to offer a wide variety of beers to match everyone’s taste,” Gilbert told Nosh earlier this spring. “We really get a kick out of exploring the whole spectrum of what beer can be, and constantly trying new stuff.” Temescal Brewing is at 4115 Telegraph Ave. (at 41st Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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