Tag Archives: Berkeley dining

Bites: La PanotiQ, Monster Pho 2, Brooklyn West

Croissants from La PanotiQ. Photo: La PanotiQ/Facebook
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Openings, closings

LA PANOTIQ BERKELEY HAS CLOSED The Berkeley location of the Bay Area bakery and café chain has closed suddenly. A post on La PanotiQ‘s Facebook page read: “We are sorry to announce that our store is temporarily closed until further notice, and are sorry for inconvenience. Join us in our other locations @Campbell, San Francisco (Marina & Noe Valley), Mountain View, Livermore, & Burlingame very soon. You’re always welcome at #lapanotiQ!” La PanotiQ opened in the former location of Padi Restaurant (and Holy Land) Elmwood this spring, serving a selection of French-style sandwiches salads, cakes, pastries, freshly baked bread, coffee and tea. We have reached out to the La PanotiQ owners and will update you as we learn more. … Continue reading »

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How Noah’s Berkeley bagel shop launched an empire

Noah Alper. Photo: Cathleen Maclearie/J. Weekly
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Say the name Noah Alper in Bay Area Jewish circles, and many people will associate it with Noah’s Bagels, the chain of successful West Coast bagel stores that the longtime Berkeley entrepreneur launched in 1989 before bagel stores were even a thing around here.

Though the stores still carry his name, he’s not peddling bagels anymore, having sold the business in 1996. In the two decades since, Alper has had his hand in many other projects, including helping to establish San Francisco’s Jewish Community High School of the Bay and opening a short-lived kosher Italian restaurant in Berkeley. Now 69, Alper works as a consultant, does philanthropic work, speaks frequently about his book “Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur” and, with his wife, Hope, is an active member of Berkeley’s Orthodox Congregation Beth Israel.

But to most locals, he’ll always be the guy who put Noah’s New York Bagels on the map. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Sturmfrei, Ippudo, Golden Squirrel, more

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

NIZZA LA BELLA REPLACEMENT: STURMFREI Over the summer, we brought you the news of the closure of the well-loved Albany bistro, Nizza la Bella. The owner had decided to retire after 17 years of running the restaurant, and put the space, including its wood-fired oven, on the market. We’ve now learned that Nizza will be replaced by what sounds like a German restaurant called Sturmfrei. (The name, roughly translated, means “to have the run of the house,” or to have one’s place to oneself.) Owners Frieda Hoffman and Daniel Polsby have just filed an ABC license for the new restaurant, so its opening is likely at least several months off. It’ll be the first new project for Hoffman after selling her West Berkeley coffee shop, Local 123, to Highwire Coffee Roasters. Hoffman also works for the wine shop, Vintage Berkeley, according to her Facebook page. We’ve reached out to Hoffman to learn more about Sturmfrei, and we’ll keep you posted. UPDATE: We have heard from Hoffman, who says that she is currently looking for a tenant partner to manager the restaurant space, and does not have any concrete plans for the restaurant. She will have very little to do with the running of the restaurant. While she and her partner have filed for an ABC license, they are still under contract for the restaurant space. She said she has been talking to some “great people” who have good ideas for the future restaurant, but has not yet settled on a partner. The new restaurant will be at 825 San Pablo Ave. (between Solano and Washington avenues), Albany.Continue reading »

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Big changes for Telegraph Avenue dining scene

New Sequoia building Photo: Max Cherney
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By Arielle Gordon-Rowe and Kate Williams

Around 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2011, a devastating fire broke out at 2441 Haste St., the site of the Sequoia apartment building. The historic building, constructed in 1916, had been a home to not only dozens of Berkeley residents housed in the 39 apartment units, but also beloved restaurants Raleigh’s and Cafe Intermezzo. The fire left the building gutted and it was eventually torn down. A charred facade was left for years, a reminder of the building’s past, until this year, when a new Sequoia Building rose again.

Students now live in the new, 42-unit building, which is still owned by Kenneth and Greg Ent, and next year, those long-lost restaurants will reopen. When they do, the new Mezzo — formerly Café Intermezzo — and Raleigh’s will join a decidedly different crop of Southside restaurants, coffee shops and bars than those on the avenue in 2011, a crop that includes an ever-growing group of local and national chains in addition to smaller, homegrown eateries. … Continue reading »

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From pie to turkey: Thanksgiving in the East Bay

Thanksgiving pie offerings from Oakland's PieTisserie. Photo: PieTisserie/Facebook
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It may be hard to believe it, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner. And whether you’re gearing up for a big family feast or a small, quiet affair, you may be looking for some help pulling off the event. Not to worry — plenty of East Bay food businesses and restaurants are here to help, with everything from creative, scratch-made local pies to pre-roasted turkeys. Those looking to escape the kitchen can look forward to pre-dinner crab feeds, all-day buffets and elaborate multi-course dinners across the East Bay. Take your pick. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Berkeley Social Club, Cosecha, more news

Checking the menu at Berkeley Social Club, which opened Nov. 8. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings

BERKELEY SOCIAL CLUB NOW OPEN The all-day Korean-American restaurant that replaced Perdition Smokehouse held its soft opening Tuesday, Nov. 8. Berkeley Social Club serves a mash-up of American diner dishes and Korean-influenced comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner — bulgogi breakfast scramble, Korean fried chicken and waffles, kimchi fried rice with SPAM, and hamburgers all grace the menu. Owner Steven Choi has brought the popular thick-cut, glazed “Millionaire’s Bacon” over from Sausalito’s Fred’s Coffee Shop, which he also owns along with Sweet Maple, Blackwood and Kitchen Story in San Francisco, and Kitchen Sunnyside in Mill Valley. As far as drinks are concerned, there was a rumor that Berkeley Social Club would maintain Perdition’s extensive tap list; however, it looks like the actual number of beers on offer is decidedly lower. The eclectic list features local brews from Calicraft, 21st Amendment, Trumer and Anchor, as well as out-of-state offerings like Blue Moon, Dogfish Head, New Belgium, Founders and Guinness. Berkeley Social Club is at 2050 University Ave. (near Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley.Continue reading »

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Bites: Smart Alec’s, Super Duper, Organic Coup

Smart Alec's Intelligent Food. Photo: Clément Wehrung/Flickr
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Openings, closings

SMART ALEC’S OUT, SUPER DUPER IN After 20 years on Telegraph Avenue, Smart Alec’s Intelligent Food is no more. Signs posted on the restaurant’s windows read: “Thank you Berkeley for the many good years. Regretfully, we are out of business.” A tipster added that he had heard that staff members were called into a meeting on the morning of Nov. 1 and told to “go put up signs and keep the doors locked.” Smart Alec’s, which was originally opened in 1996 by Alex Popov, who now owns Pappy’s Grill and soon-to-open Cornerstone, changed owners in 2009. It served a diverse menu of health-leaning fast-food items such as hamburgers on whole wheat buns, vegetarian sandwiches and “smart” air-baked French fries. Popov told Nosh that he speculated the reason for the closure was a large rent increase on the restaurant space. In Smart Alec’s place will open a branch of 6-year-old San Francisco-based Super Duper Burger, which serves burgers (obviously) made from humanely raised beef; Straus ice cream dipped cones; regular, oil-fried French fries; and free pickles. Veggie burgers and chicken sandwiches are also on the menu for the beef-averse. No word yet on an opening schedule; Stuart Baker of the Telegraph Business Improvement District, told Nosh that Super Duper will be undergoing a major remodel, so it may take a while. “We’re really excited,” he said. Super Duper Burger will be at 2355 Telegraph Ave. (at Durant Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Nosh on the Town: The Field Kitchen cooking school

Jen Knapp (left) working with a  student at The Field Kitchen pop-up cooking school. Photo: Alix Wall
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It’s Wednesday night at Berkeley’s Rocket Restaurant Resource, and, although the restaurant supply store is closed, the small demo kitchen is full of activity. Jen Knapp demonstrates how to fry tortillas until perfectly crisp, while another woman sautées chicken thighs, and yet another chars poblano peppers directly on a burner, watching the skin go from a deep forest green to mottled black.

Mexican cuisine is tonight’s theme at The Field Kitchen pop-up cooking school’s “Dinner Tonight” cooking class, and the participants, all of whom are women (including this reporter), have about two and a half hours to make eight dishes, give or take.

“Obviously we have a lot of American-Mexican food here, but real Mexican food and its flavors are quite complex,” says Knapp, by way of introduction.

Tonight’s dishes include a classic red snapper ceviche, a tortilla soup with shredded chard, chicken breasts with those charred poblanos, beer-braised carnitas, classic pot beans, rice with cilantro sauce, lime and chili cabbage slaw, and Mexican wedding cakes for dessert. Those with the cilantro-hating gene wouldn’t have fared well that night, but we all ate incredibly well. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Pathos closed, Cha-Am closing, more news

Pan-Seared Halibut with Fresh Fava-Green Garlic Purée and Moschifilero Beurre Blanc at Pathos in Berkeley which is celebrating its first birthday. Photo: Pathos
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Openings, closings

PATHOS CLOSED, AT LEAST FOR NOW Because of a “dispute” with the restaurant’s landlord, Berkeley’s Pathos is currently closed. Co-owner Nick Eftimiou told Nosh that “our landlord has decided to ask us to move and will seek another tenant.” The decision is currently under negotiation. He added, on behalf of his family and the entire restaurant team: “This unfortunate event was unforeseen and had happened very quickly. We have been devastated by this as we have had such loyal, loving employees and fan base with overwhelming customer support throughout the years. We feel as if we had made a true connection with the city of Berkeley and are saddened that, during this time, we have not been allowed to service our customers who we consider Family. We wish to thank the entire City of Berkeley for welcoming us with open arms and our local communities who have showed us its humility and generous hospitality.” Several readers contacted us to say they had arrived for dinner at Pathos in recent days, some with reservations, and found the restaurant to be closed. The family-owned Greek restaurant opened in November 2013. We will keep you posted as the story develops. Pathos Organic Greek Kitchen is at 2430 Shattuck Ave. (between Haste Street and Channing Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Few surprises in Michelin’s 2017 SF dining guide

Carne asada taco from Tacos Sinaloa Berkeley. Photo: Kate Williams
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Once again, Oakland’s Commis was the only East Bay restaurant to receive Michelin stars, according to the newly released San Francisco Bay Area list by the Michelin powers-that-be. The restaurant, owned by James Syhabout, received its first star in the 2010 guide, and received its second star last year. Berkeley’s Chez Panisse held one star for four years, but lost the star in the 2011 guide.

As in years past, the East Bay has performed slightly better in Michelin’s un-starred Bib Gourmand category. This list is made up of generally more affordable restaurants — they must serve two courses and a glass of wine or a dessert for $40 or less (before tax and tip) — that the anonymous Michelin inspectors say serve “high quality food” and that they often “frequent themselves when off the clock,” according to a press release. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Oakland Yard, 4505 Meats, The Cat House

Photo: Oakland Yard/Instagram
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Openings, closings

OAKLAND YARD WINE SHOP TO TEMESCAL The North Oakland neighborhood has craft beer in spades, but has yet to gain a specialty wine shop. That will change Nov. 7, when Oakland Yard moves in. According to a statement from the owners, Daniel Schmidt and Jonathan Davis, Oakland Yard intends to be both a wine store and a “community junction,” offering limited production European wines, a “large handful” of new-wave California winemakers, and other new world options. Notably, Oakland Yard will stock a central table of over 60 affordable red and white wines — they’ll all be priced under $17. Both Schmidt and Davis have, they say, an affinity for “fresh, lively wines” that are well-balanced, food-friendly and lower in alcohol. “I want people to pair these [wines] with the whole damn party… or a trip to the coast or an afternoon in the park or an amazing hike! What pairs with adventure? What pairs with awesome?” said Davis in the statement. Schmidt and Davis are both Bay Area natives; Schmidt worked in production at Copian Winery and Davis has worked at both Chez Panisse and Bi-Rite. They plan to hold two to three tastings per week. A grand opening party will take place Nov. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. with free sparkling wine, food and live music. Oakland Yard will be at 420 40th St., (at Webster Street), Oakland. Connect with the shop on Facebook and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s The Advocate restaurant to close Oct. 27

The Advocate. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The Advocate restaurant in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood will close permanently on Thursday Oct. 27 after just over one year in business. Owners John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman, who also own Comal in downtown Berkeley, said they were not able to achieve the level of business necessary to make the restaurant sustainable.

“We felt a lot of confidence that we could make something that would click in this neighborhood and we weren’t able to pull that off,” Paluska told Berkeleyside.

The Advocate opened in August 2015 after over two years of planning and community outreach — and also delays caused by a lawsuit from the same group that had put a halt to a previous restaurant project at the same location, at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College).

Read more about The Advocate on Berkeleyside.

The restaurant, with its California-meets-Mediterranean cuisine, was designed, like Comal, by Berkeley’s Abueg-Morris Architects, cycled through three chefs in its 14 short months: inaugural chef John Griffiths left in February to be replaced by Michelin-starred Joseph Humphrey, who departed a few months later to take over the kitchen at the recently opened Limewood at the Claremont Hotel.

“It’s never helpful to have chef changes — it was certainly not our desire,” said Paluska. “It’s harder to maintain a consistent point of view.” Paluska added that he felt a confluence of bad luck and bad circumstances stood in contrast to their experience at Comal.  “We’ve ben amazingly lucky to have continuity and consistency at Comal both with our chef [Matt Gandin has been there from the start] and front-of-house staff.” … Continue reading »

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PIQ to renovate café and open restaurant, Radici

The current interior of PIQ in downtown Berkeley. Photo: PIQ/Facebook
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Berkeley is shaping up to be quite the Italian dining destination. In addition to long-running restaurants like Lo Coco, Trattoria La Siciliana and Corso, we’ve seen the recent opening of Agrodolce and are waiting patiently for Lucia’s and the redone Gio’s to finish construction.

And joining all of these will be Radici, from the owners of PIQ.

Radici, which translates roughly to “roots” or “origin,” will open in the vacated Cyprus Restaurant space right next door to PIQ early next year. It will serve an entirely organic menu, heavy on pasta dishes and vegetables sourced from local farms.

If that wasn’t enough for the PIQ team, owner Nicki Rivieccio has also announced a renovation of PIQ itself. Changes will take place in November, and PIQ plans to sell drinks from an outdoor coffee cart during its brief closure. … Continue reading »

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