Tag Archives: Berkeley dining

Bites: Noodles Fresh opens, Victory Point is close

Victory Point Cafe is wrapping up construction. Photo: Victory Point/Kickstarter
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Openings, closings…

VICTORY POINT CAFÉ AIMS FOR SEPTEMBER While the owners of the upcoming Victory Point Café on Shattuck Avenue initially hoped to open the doors on their board game-themed spot this month, they are now looking at a September opening. We read on the café’s Kickstarter page that construction plans to wrap up by Aug. 31, with a soft opening scheduled for Sept. 1. Victory Point is also still waiting on its beer and wine license, so guests will likely have to make do with coffee, tea and sandwiches while playing one of the café’s 650 board games. Victory Point Café will be at 1797-A Shattuck Ave. (between Francisco and Delaware streets), Berkeley. Connect with the café on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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8 top East Bay patios for enjoying an Indian Summer

Enjoying chips and salsa on Comal's pack patio. Photo: TKTK
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September, the East Bay’s other summer, is almost upon is. While al fresco dining is a year-round option in our pocket of Northern California, these warm days and golden evenings are the perfect time to take advantage of some of the area’s outdoor dining and drinking spots. And, since El Niño is supposed to give us a long, wet winter (we hope!) it may be a while before patios seem appealing again. Below are eight of our favorite places, but we’re sure we missed a few — leave us a comment if you have a much-loved patio or garden that didn’t make our list. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Bucci’s and The Growlers’ Arms both closing

Calamari from Bucci's in Emeryville, which will serve its last dinner on Sept. 30. Photo: Bucci's/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

BUCCI’S TO CLOSE SEPT. 30 East Coast-syle Italian joint Bucci’s will have its last day of operation Sept. 30. The popular Emeryville restaurant has been in operation for nearly 30 years, serving up classics like spaghetti and meatballs, gnocchi, fried calamari and pizzas to a rapidly changing dining market. Co-owner Amelia Bucci told the Bay Area News Group that she and and the other owners have decided to retire. “[Co-owner] Paul [Camardo] and I are 70-plus, and we’ve been doing this a long time,” she said. “This is a good time to say goodbye.” The E’Ville Eye speculates that the closure also may be linked to the recent increase in Emeryville’s minimum wage. According to the Eye, Bucci’s had raised its prices and added a $2.50 per person service charge to accommodate increased wages. No word yet on what will be headed to the Bucci’s space next; however, its location near the new Branch Line bar, Prizefighter and Rotten City Pizza may likely prove to be a hot ticket for prospective bar and restaurant owners. Bucci’s is at 6121 Hollis St. (at Doyle Street), Emeryville.Continue reading »

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Enjoying summer at the Westbrae Biergarten

The Westbrae Biergarten. Photo: Benjamin Seto.
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By Benjamin Seto/Focus:Snap:Eat

I’m more a wine than beer drinker, but there’s something about a warm, sunny day that makes me want to just chug down a cold, refreshing mug of beer. That’s exactly what I was doing yesterday when I visited the Westbrae Biergarten in the northwest area of Berkeley.

Westbrae is a popular new beer garden that drew big crowds during the World Cup (lots of soccer fans love beer), so much so that the neighborhood got a bit testy about the noise and lines of people waiting to get into the beer garden. And Westbrae really is a small neighborhood, tucked in between North Berkeley and the emerging Gilman district. … Continue reading »

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Diary of a haunted summer at the Berkeley City Club

Harris featured
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When writer and artist L. John Harris had to vacate his Berkeley home for a month, he checked into the Berkeley City Club, a private social club and hotel where he is a member.

The Durant Avenue landmark, designed by the great Berkeley architect Julia Morgan, dates from 1930.

While ensconced in the hotel this summer, from June 18 to July 16, Harris kept a journal and posted the entries on Facebook with photos. After several days at the Berkeley City Club, the Medieval architectural motifs of Morgan’s “Little Castle” started to work their dark magic on Harris and the posts became more like haunted-castle musings than travel diary entries.

Below, 12 entries from his journal.

#1 Living at a hotel

I have always dreamt of living at a hotel. A tidy little room on a high floor with daily maid service. Free morning coffee with gratis New York Times. An exercise room and swimming pool. Afternoon tea service in an elegant lobby. And a good bar and restaurant where you are greeted by your last name.

Did I get this romantic idea from books and movies growing up in the 1950s?

Well, here I am at the Berkeley City Club for a whole month, a decision based on being temporarily dislocated from my home. Of course, my fantasy was always some grand hotel in Europe or New York with lots of glamorous guests coming and going, but Julia Morgan’s monumental Berkeley City Club comes pretty damn close, save the glamorous clientele.

I would describe my experience so far — several days in — as a cross between feeling homeless and deposited into a senior citizen home, albeit with great architectural bones. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Salsipuedes, Crispian Bakery open, more

Shishito peppers, fruit and salt plum from North Oakland's Salsipuedes, which is now in its soft opening. Photo: Salsipuedes
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Openings, closings

SALSIPUEDES NOW IN SOFT OPENING Salsipuedes, the long-awaited North Oakland project from Jay Porter, Marcus Krauss and Bradford Taylor is officially in soft opening mode as of August 5. The restaurant will be open for dinner (no reservations) Tuesdays through Saturdays, and has tentatively scheduled a grand opening for August 20. Krauss, who is heading up the kitchen, has developed a menu focusing on “seaside barbecue” and California cuisine; menu highlights include black cod with yuzu ponzu and serrano peppers, corn two ways with salmon roe, and octopus melt bao with Oregon shrimp and cracklings. Wine comes courtesy of Taylor, the owner of Oakland’s Ordinaire wine shop, and it includes coastal and maritime wines from the Pacific, Mediterranean, Adriatic and Sicilian growing regions. Desserts will include creative ice creams (think flavors like fresh corn and nopales) from Luis Abundis of Nieves Cinco de Mayo. Salsipuedes will be at 4201 Market St. (at 42nd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Staffing issues led to closure of Nabolom Bakery

Nabolom Bakery sign. Photo, taken on April 14, 20015, by Raymond Yee
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Nabolom Collective Bakery, which operated out of 2708 Russell St. in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood for almost 40 years, shut down last Sunday because four members of the collective departed over a short period of time and the other members did not feel they could continue with such a reduced staff, according to a former collective member.

The loss of four of the 10 collective members within three months was too much to absorb at once, according to Crow Bolt, a former member who lent the business around $80,000 to stay afloat 15 years ago.

“What’s shutting it down now is not the finances, but the staffing,” said Bolt, who is now a hospital emergency room nurse in New Mexico. “Four key members [left] in too short of time to recover.” … Continue reading »

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Dinner at Berkeley’s hot new spot The Advocate

The Advocate. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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If there’s one thing that the two guys behind downtown spot Comal know how to do, it’s create a buzzy restaurant. John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman held the second of two “friends and family” nights at their new, second Berkeley restaurant, The Advocate, in the city’s Elmwood neighborhood, on Thursday night. And already, you just know it’s going to be fun trying to get a table at this place once it opens to the public on Friday, Aug. 7.

Read more about The Advocate and Comal on Berkeleyside.

The 3,400-square foot space at 2635 Ashby Ave. — once part of the old Wright’s Garage — has been transformed into an airy, modern restaurant whose decor has echoes of Comal, but retains its own personality. It seats 100 comfortably with room for about 14 at the bar, where bar manager Matthew Campbell has concocted an intriguing menu of hand-crafted cocktails. Like Campbell, Corin Weihemuller, the new restaurant’s wine director, has come over from Comal to see the new restaurant bedded in. … Continue reading »

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Bites: The Advocate, Source Mini replacement

John Griffiths, executive chef at The Advocate. Photo: Postcard PR
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Openings, closings…

THE ADVOCATE GETTING CLOSE The Elmwood’s contentious new restaurant, The Advocate, is slated to open at the beginning of August. The restaurant has secured its liquor license and is in the process of passing its final inspections. As we reported in June, The Advocate will offer a menu of dishes inspired by southern Mediterranean and Moroccan/North African cooking, “all viewed through a Northern Californian lens,” according to owners Andrew Hoffman and John Paluska. Paluska and Hoffman have recruited John Griffiths to be the new restaurant’s executive chef. Griffiths was most recently at The Kitchen in Sacramento, a well-known spot where food is treated as theater and chefs are expected to emcee as well as to cook. Griffiths left The Kitchen in October after 16 months in the job to join The Advocate. The Michigan native was the opening chef at Larry Forgione’s An American Place in St. Louis, and was later executive chef at Truffles in the same city. He has been working with The Advocate team since December 2014. The Advocate will be at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Nabolom Bakery to close after 40 years in Berkeley

Nabolom Bakery sign. Photo, taken on April 14, 20015, by Raymond Yee
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Nabolom Collective Bakery, which has been cooking cinnamon twists, blueberry cheese Danishes, morning buns, snicker-doodle cookies, challah and other baked delights for almost 40 years, is shutting down Sunday Aug. 2.

The bakery, at 2708 Russell St. (at College) in the Elmwood district, put up signs Thursday announcing its imminent closure.

“Thank You Berkeley!!! For love and support since 1976,” said a sign in colorful chalk. “Sunday August 2nd will be our last day in operation. Get your favorite pastries while you still can!” … Continue reading »

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NOSH neighborhood guide: Berkeley Warehouse

The Rare Barrel. Photo: Adam Chandler/Flickr
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We know that there’s more to East Bay dining than Temescal, Rockridge and the Gourmet Ghetto. NOSH’s neighborhood guides explore the best of the rest. This month, we explore Berkeley’s warehouse district on the west side of town.

Okay, so the Warehouse District isn’t a defined neighborhood per se, but the strip of West Berkeley between San Pablo and the Bay is chock-full of old manufacturing buildings and delicious food businesses all the same. We’ve defined the north and south borders at University and Ashby, respectively. Feel free to dispute in the comments. Below are our picks for the best bites and tipples in the area; check out the map to find out precisely where they are. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Grand Lake Kitchen expansion, Trouble Coffee

Grand Lake Kitchen, Name that nosh. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

GRAND LAKE KITCHEN BEGINS EXPANSION Business has been good for Grand Lake Kitchen, the sandwich-slinging neighborhood deli on Oakland’s Grand Avenue. Co-owner May Seto Wasem tells us  that they have just begun construction on the previously vacant storefront next-door. The expansion will double the seating capacity of the restaurant and allow for larger groups (and reservations). Plus, the larger Grand Lake Kitchen will have a full bar — a big plus for anyone stopping in for dinner. Wasem said that the new space needs “quite a bit of work” as far as seismic retrofitting and the sewer system are concerned. She hopes to open in the larger space at some point this fall. Grand Lake Kitchen is at 576 Grand Ave. (between MacArthur Boulevard and Euclid Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Kobani Kurdish restaurant: Defiant and delicious

Kobani's owner Emin Tekin
photo: Anna Mindess
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Kobani’s succulent chunks of chicken kebab, creamy hummus, moist dolmas, richly flavored lentil soup and generous gyros are a welcome addition to the corner of University Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley.

But there is more to this new casual dining spot than meets the mouth.

The name of the restaurant may be familiar if you follow the news. Kobani, a city in northern Syria, was the site of the biggest defeat dealt to ISIS by Kurdish soldiers. But the four-month-long battle that raged from September 2014 until ISIS militants were driven out in January resulted in the widespread destruction of the 100-year-old city that was famous for its olive-oil and cultural diversity. And in a recent, disheartening reversal in June, Islamic State militants re-entered Kobani, killing dozens of civilians. … Continue reading »

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