Tag Archives: Berkeley dining

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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Bites: Pacific Standard, Forage Kitchen, Halal Guys

A rendering of the façade at xxxx Center St. which was La Botella Republic wine bar before it closed in March. Photo: Half Moon Brewing Company
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Openings, closings

PACIFIC STANDARD OPENING SOON The downtown Berkeley taproom from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will open Oct. 19. Called Pacific Standard, the taproom will offer between 16 and 24 different local and regional beers on tap, half of which will come from Half Moon Bay Brewing. It will also offer local ciders and Northern California wines, plus beers to-go in growlers and bottles. Half Moon Bay has brought on executive chef Federico Godinez, also the chef at the brewery’s original outpost, to manage the menu. The small, eclectic menu emphasizes seafood and drink-friendly snacks like local meats and cheeses. Dishes include panini, ceviche and soft pretzels with hop cheese sauce. The concept of the taproom, developed in coordination with Farm League Design and Management, intends to be both casual and urban, bringing the brewery’s coastal vibes downtown. “We’re excited to expand our footprint beyond Half Moon Bay and introduce a new community to our extensive selection of top-quality, hand-crafted beers, and feature brews made by other West Coast breweries,” said Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s general manager, Nate Rey in a statement. “At Pacific Standard, we want our guests to experience the very best elements of the Coastside in an urban, casual environment.” Pacific Standard by Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will be at at 2055 Center St. (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the brewery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Bites: Public Market update, Banh Mi Joint, more

Assorted poke bowls from Fish Face Poke Bar. Photo: Fish Face Poke/Facebook
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Openings, closings

NEW PUBLIC MARKET TENANTS Emeryville’s Public Market is still adding new tenants, and has announced two more this week: Joining a lineup that includes Shiba Ramen and Koja Kitchen will be Fish Face Poke Bar and The Periodic Table. Fish Face is the second location for the Sacramento-based rice bowl restaurant from restaurateur Billy Ngo. (Ngo also owns Kru, a sushi restaurant.) Like other poke spots, Fish Face allows customers to build their own bowls of rice and seafood, with a choice of protein, sauce, and additional toppings like macadamia nuts, daikon sprouts and masago roe. The Periodic Table is a beer and sake bar from the owners of Shiba Ramen, and it will, in fact, be located in the stall right next door to the ramen shop. Shiba co-owner Jake Freed hopes that the new project will bring a more vibrant nightlife to the area. Freed says his hopes to open by the middle of next year; no word on a projected opening date for Fish Face. Meanwhile, Mayo & MustardWe Sushi and Oui Oui Macaron are still under construction, but they appear very close to finishing. Full-service restaurant Granja Eatery, from Peruvian chef Carlos Altamirano, is also still in the works, and construction has begun on New Seasons, a Portland, OR-based grocery store headed to the complex. Public Market Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Connect with the market on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Downtown Berkeley food scene picks up pace

Downtown Berkeley: ranked number one for walkability in new survey. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin
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“Visit Berkeley. Come for the culture, stay for the food,” reads a large blue sign as you exit the Downtown Berkeley BART station. And, with the food revitalization currently underway in downtown Berkeley, this sign rings true. Over the course of the past few months, a slew of new restaurants have joined classics like Gather, La Note, PIQ, Revival and Angeline’s (just to name a few) among the ranks of downtown Berkeley’s go-to spots.

To help get you up to speed, we’ve compiled a list of recently opened and soon-to-open restaurants in the neighborhood. Whether you are a sweet-toothed doughnut connoisseur or a vegan salad aficionado, there is a new restaurant for you to try. Hear of anything else in the works? Let us know in the comments.

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Caterer Olivia Colt finds ‘saving grace’ in the kitchen

Salt & Honey owner Olivia Colt (center) on  KTVU this month. Photo: Courtesy of Salt & Honey
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From an early age, Olivia Colt showed signs of a fighter’s mentality.

Whether it was explaining that her Dominican culture was as legitimate as the dominant Mexican culture in her hometown of San Diego, or filling out an application to get into a Catholic high school so she could be the first in her family to graduate college, Colt was not going to take no for an answer.

It’s not surprising, since the matriarchs in her family are all driven people. After her grandmother immigrated to New York in the 1960s, she didn’t rest until almost all of her family members were here.

“They really wanted us to have the American dream,” said Colt. “When my mom was divorcing my dad, she figured out how to buy a house on her own. She grew up adjacent to the projects in the Bronx, and wanted her kids to have a better life than she had. [She and my grandmother] instilled in me a drive and work ethic like no other, where failure is not an option. Any success, you celebrate it.”

It’s that mentality that has allowed Colt, 33, to operate Salt & Honey, a thriving catering business in Berkeley, despite the fact that she has a life-threatening illness, one that requires her to receive all-day treatments at the UC San Francisco hospital twice a month and often requires her to be at home for days afterward. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Ale Industries, Steel Rail Public House, more

A pint of beer at the Ale Industries tasting room. Photo: Ale Industries
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Openings, closings

ALE INDUSTRIES IS EXPANDING Fruitvale’s Ale Industries is growing rapidly, and, according to marketing director Joseph Gudino, has been working over capacity for “a while now.” While Ale Industries will continue to operate out of its current brewery space, it will increase its production capacity 150% by adding 2,200 bbl per year. It is also adding new routes and a more efficient delivery system so more customers can find Ale Industries beer more consistently. “This is an exciting move for us. We are definitely ready to start this next chapter of our journey,” said production manager Richard Angeles. Ale Industries has made a name for itself by making quirky, flavorful beers in a range of styles. As it writes on its website: “We unapologetically refuse to let our beers be categorized into styles, types, or profiles because we believe it relegates our vision of craft beer from a verb to a noun, from a spirit to a product.” The brewery has partnered frequently with The Half Orange and, before it closed, Salsipuedes. The newest Ale Industries beer to hit the taps will be a kiwi sour, which Gudino describes as “awesome.” Ale Industries is at 3096 E. 10th St. (between Fruitvale and Derby avenues), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Sisters finding success with Bowl’d restaurants

Jessica Oh (left) and Chi Moon, the owners of Bowl'd, Spoon and Bopshop, at Bowl'd Alameda. Photo: Clara Rice
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Chi Moon’s favorite Korean dish is bibimbap. “I had it for a whole year — every single day,” she said. “Beef with multigrain rice.” It’s a fitting choice for the co-owner of the rapidly growing mini-chain Bowl’d, which is, at its heart, a rice bowl restaurant.

Moon praised the dish’s health status — it’s vegetable heavy, with whole grains and just a small amount of meat — but heathy eats are not the only reason why so many East Bay residents flock to Moon’s restaurants. There’s also, of course, the chicken wings.

“We’ve kind of turned into a fried chicken place, somehow,” said Moon’s sister and business partner Jessica Oh. “We thought maybe we should change our name to a wing place.”

Bowl’d’s original fried chicken wings are served with an extra thick, supremely crisp crust, doused in a fiery red spicy-sweet sauce that sticks to your fingers, lips, chopsticks — anything. Despite the extra 10 to 15 minutes the wings take to arrive at the table, they’re a must-order for many guests, including this writer. “I think people would riot if we didn’t have wings on the menu,” said Oh.

They’re so popular, in fact, that when Moon and Oh decided to open their third location, Bowl’d BBQ in Temescal, they expanded their fried poultry line-up to full pieces of chicken and three sauces (soy, barbecue and spicy).

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Shiba Ramen, Triple Rock, Austin, more

Miso ramen from Shiba Ramen. Photo: Jake Freed
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Openings, closings

SHIBA RAMEN EXPANDING TO OAKLAND After less than a year in business in Emeryville’s Public Market, Shiba Ramen is opening a second location in downtown Oakland. The new space will be a 40-seat restaurant, unlike Shiba’s Emeryville spot, which operates out of a food court kiosk. It is moving into the old Bittersweet Café location at 1438 Broadway, which closed in May. “We’re going to build off the concept that we started in Emeryville,” said co-owner Jake Freed. “There are lots of limits with a kiosk.” While customers will still order at a counter at the Oakland location, there will be servers delivering food, which will be served in more traditional ceramic bowls. At lunch, Shiba Ramen Oakland will have a very similar menu to the Emeryville location, but at dinner, Freed plans to expand the menu to include more Japanese-inspired small plates and side dishes. There will be a stronger beer and sake focus in the evening as well. Crucially, Freed and co-owner Hiroko Nakamura have hired a menu director/kitchen manager, who will be developing new menu items. Freed was unable to name the new hire as of press time, but he did say that the hire had worked at a “well-known Oakland restaurant.” Construction on the new space has already begun; Freed told Nosh that he hopes to open in December. In the meantime, Shiba’s Emeryville location will be holding a ramen and beer tasting Sept. 17 from 1-5 p.m., featuring beers from 21st Amendment and Voodoo Brewing. There will be beer flights, happy hour pricing on all pints and $1 off all food with a beer purchase. Shiba Ramen Oakland will be at 1438 Broadway (between 14th and 15th streets), Oakland. Shiba Ramen Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Café Clem sold, will become Maison Bleue

Cafe Clem at 2020 Kittredge St. will reopen today after being close for three weeks. Photo: Café Clem
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After five years in downtown Berkeley, Café Clem closed for good. Its last day serving its popular pastries and French-inspired sandwiches was Aug. 31. Owner Dorothée Mitrani-Bell, who also owns La Note, also downtown, has sold Café Clem to Patrice Fayet, a Frenchman, who will open a similar concept, called Maison Bleue, in the space this fall.

Mitrani-Bell told Nosh that she is “making some personal changes in her career” and although she “loved putting [Café Clem] together and loved working on it, La Note is already a lot to handle on its own.”

In a Facebook post, Mitrani-Bell wrote: “After close to five years of servicing the neighborhood and with a tremendous amount of joy and gratefulness, we are happy to announce that Café Clem will be changing hands to a wonderful new French team as well and will become “Maison Bleue” after a few weeks of remodeling. Uncanny coincidence that the building is now being repainted blue, as to welcome the new café!  Thank you Berkeley and locals for your patronage! We will miss you! You can still come visit us at La Note restaurant.” … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Why I disrupted Chez Panisse

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Friday night, I entered Berkeley’s world-famous Chez Panisse with a bouquet of flowers. I looked to Chez Panisse as an example of fine dining at its best. The sights and aroma all created a seductive mood in the restaurant. I was there with the flowers for a reason you might not expect, though: to remember the animals Chez Panisse was serving that night with a flower for each plate.

Commenters quickly noted that my … Continue reading »

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Animal-rights activists disrupt Chez Panisse service

chez-panisse-photo-amanda Marsalis
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Berkeley police were called to world-famous restaurant Chez Panisse on Friday night after a group of animal-rights protesters stormed into the dining room and disrupted dinner service.

About 10 people carrying flowers from the group Direct Action Everywhere walked into the downstairs portion of Chez Panisse and asked for the diners’ attentions, according to a press release issued by the group. (Update: See below for a statement issued by Chez Panisse on Monday Sept. 12.)

“I come to you today with a message of compassion,” Matt Johnson, one of the activists, told those seated at tables covered with white tablecloths. “A message on behalf on the billions of animals exploited, who are tortured and killed by humans every year. We are told a lie … that animals exist as commodities for human use… Animals are living feeling individuals. They value their lives and their freedom the same as you and I do. They experience the same pain, the same joy, the same love of life and they have it have it ripped away from them and are brutally killed for the mere crime of being different than ourselves.”

The invasion into Chez Panisse is part of DxE’s “Flowers for Animals” campaign, “which encourages activists to peacefully speak out in stores and restaurants that serve products from animals killed for food about violence against animals on farms across the United States,” according to the press release.

The incident started around 10 p.m. but Chez Panisse management didn’t call the Berkeley Police Department until 11:00 p.m., according to Lt. Alyson Hart.

A Chez Panisse employee described the animal-rights activists as busting into the restaurant “screaming and yelling.”

The group, which was 10-15 strong, according to Hart, refused to leave the restaurant, which was when the restaurant decided to call police. (Update: The group involved two 18-year-olds, a man and woman, from Pleasanton. No other information was available about its members.) … Continue reading »

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