Tag Archives: Comal

Elmwood restaurant The Advocate to open in July

John Griffiths, executive chef at The Advocate. Photo: Postcard PR
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John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman’s second Berkeley restaurant after Comal will be called The Advocate and is slated to open next month in its Elmwood location, at 2635 Ashby Ave.

The name was chosen because it was also the name of Elmwood’s original newspaper, said Paluska. It also seemed fitting for a restaurant in a city known for its activism. “It’s a tip of the hat to Berkeley,” he said. Hoffman added: “Like Comal, The Advocate is a Berkeley restaurant, very much of its place and its neighborhood.”

The name could also be seen as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the legal battle the owners had to fight to open the new eating spot.

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 the owners. (At Comal, chef Matt Gandin serves refined Oaxaca-inspired Mexican-Californian cuisine.)

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 in December 2014. … Continue reading »

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Bites: OVO, Sequoia Diner, Mad Oak and more

OVO Tavern and Eatery. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings…

OVO COMES TO NORTH OAKLAND OVO, a.k.a. “Oakland’s Very Own Tavern and Eatery,” has softly opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland. The new bar and restaurant is an official viewing spot for the Golden State Warriors playoff games while it continues to tweak its menu and operating hours. For now, OVO is open only from 4-9 p.m.; owner DeWayne DeGuzman aims to hold a grand opening party at the end of the month. The menu features simple bar food like tater tots, chicken wings and burgers. DeGuzman said OVO will eventually be open in the morning, with breakfast pastries from Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts and Mr. Espresso coffee. The bar has a modest selection of beers, with space for six rotating local microbrews, and a potent-sounding OVO punch (think rum and lots of fruit). OVO takes the place of Bottom of the Ninth Bar & Grill, which opened in 2013 after Looney’s BBQ closed. DeGuzman hopes the restaurant will be a lively community gathering space, and he plans on keeping the concept and menu adaptable to the changing neighborhood. “We’re going to keep it fresh, just like Oakland,” he said. Ovo is at 5319 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between 53rd and 54th streets), Oakland. Continue reading »

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12 East Bay restaurants make Bauer’s Top 100

The Dock at Linden Street. Photo: The Dock at Linden Street
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Michael Bauer’s list of the top 100 Bay Area restaurants causes a stir each spring. The San Francisco Chronicle food critic has been producing the compilation of his favorite spots for the past 20 years. His choices are typically San Francisco-heavy, but they do include a growing number — 12 this year — of East Bay restaurants.

In a nod to the increasing relevance and excitement of the East Bay food scene, none of the spots cut from the list this year came from our the right side of the Bay.

The two new additions to the East Bay list are both restaurants from James Syhabout. Bauer praised The Dock at Linden Street for its “uncanny skill for matching food to beer” and “unexpected” food combinations. He especially likes Syhabout’s crisp fried cranberry beans, curried lamb riblets with lime pickled chutney, and Caesar popcorn (“the best thing since caramel corn”).  … Continue reading »

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Bites: Starline Social Club, Hella Vegan, Pho Ao Sen

Starline Social Club. Photo: Starline Social Club
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Openings, closings…

STARLINE SOCIAL CLUB REOPENS Oakland’s historic Starline Social Club is once again in operation. The building, on the corner of MLK Jr. Way and West Grand, originally opened as an Odd Fellows Club in 1893; over the past century it has housed a saloon, a dance club, and a social club for the deaf. Until recently, it stood empty. Over the last year, Ramen Shop‘s Sam White and local artists Adam Hatch, Eric Siemens and Drew Bennet, have renovated the space. They finally opened the doors on Wednesday, reports Inside Scoop. This newest iteration of Starline will showcase top-notch food from former Boot & Shoe Service cook Austin Holey, a “creative cocktail” program, and events such as monthly dance parties and live performances. The performance space has been enhanced with a state-of-the-art Meyer Sound system. (The Berkeley acoustics company has most recently re-designed the sound for restaurants Comal and Oliveto.) The club will only be open five days a week, but it will serve food as late as midnight. Starline Social Club is at 2236 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (at West Grand Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the club on Facebook and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Bites: Continental Club, Wolfhound Bar, more

West Oakland's Continental Club has a new owner, and may be re-opening its doors soon. Photo: Google maps
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Openings, closings

CONTINENTAL CLUB COULD BE GETTING A FRESH START The Continental Club, an iconic West Oakland music venue and comedy club, was once host to countless jazz and blues stars in the 1960s. It was originally opened as a gumbo restaurant in 1947 by owners Curtis and Ross Christy; by the 1950s, the brothers had added a live music component to the restaurant, calling it Ramboogie. In 1961, the duo renovated and expanded the club. From then on, the space was known as the Continental Club. Situated on 12th Street in the Prescott neighborhood of West Oakland, the club fell onto hard times in the 1970s and never seemed to recover. Comedian Pharaoh bought the club in 2010, but shuttered it a few years later. Now, it seems that the club has changed hands once again. New owner Magnolia Entertainment has applied for a liquor license for an eating establishment, which is now pending. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. The Continental Club is at 1658 12th St. (at Campbell Street), Oakland.Continue reading »

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Bites: PieTisserie, Kitchener Snack Bar, more

Jaynelle St. John (center) held a grand opening for her pie shop, PieTisserie, on Valentine's Day. Photo: PieTisserie
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Openings, closings…

PIETISSERIE SHOP HOLDS GRAND OPENING Oakland pie maven Jaynelle St. John held a grand opening celebration for her standalone shop in the Grand Lake district this past Saturday. PieTisserie specializes in unique pies, such as mojito custard and chocolate cream pretzel. St. John has been selling her pies for the last five years, but has moved her operation around Oakland; most recently she sold pies out of Nido, near Jack London Square, and she has also made appearances at Swan’s Marketplace in Old Oakland, and Kitchenette in San Francisco. Since parting with Nido in August 2013, St. John has been working on opening her retail space while selling her pies through her website and Munchery. PieTisserie, complete with its pie window, is at 1605 2nd Ave. (at Foothill Boulevard), Oakland. Connect with the bakery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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San Francisco’s Flour & Co to open Berkeley bakery

Cookies and pastries from San Francisco's Flour & Co which is opening in Berkeley . Photo: Flour & Co
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Flour & Co is opening a bakery in the former Bread Workshop space on University Avenue in central Berkeley. Owner Emily Day said the plan is to create a similar spot to the original Nob Hill bakery, with classic American pastries and cookies on offer, made with the highest quality ingredients. The bakery will also have breakfast and lunch menus, and it will be serving coffee from Stumptown, a cult roasters out of Portland, Oregon.

Designs, by Berkeley architects Abueg Morris, have already been drawn up and, if the build-out goes according to plan, Flour & Co should be open in June, Day said. The Bread Workshop, an eco-friendly wholesale bakery and café, closed in 2013 after 20 years in Berkeley.

Day opened the Hyde Street bakery two years ago, though she had been dreaming of running her own bakery for more than a decade before then. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Cat Town Café, Boss Burgers, Zella’s soul food

Photo: Cat Town Café
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Openings, closings…

CAT TOWN CAFE A new café where cats reign has opened in Oakland in in the heart of the city’s historic Auto Row. Co-founded by Ann Dunn and Adam Myatt, Cat Town Café gives cat lovers the chance to grab a coffee and a bite in the company of feline friends, and also acts as a cat adoption center. “The café part is going to be completely self-contained within the larger property. You’ll walk in, get your goodies, then go in to the Cat Zone,” said Dunn, also the founder of Cat Town, a non-profit that has been rescuing at-risk shelter cats in partnership with Oakland Animal Services since 2011. The menu includes bagels from the Authentic Bagel Co., sandwiches from S+M Vegan, and coffee from Bicycle Coffee Company, as well as catnip tea, for people and cats. There’s also Cat Macaroons from Shades of Sugar and other treats from Oakland’s Kitchener Collective. Once in the Cat Zone, patrons can purchase dehydrated treats from RAWR, an Oakland-based raw cat food purveyor. Guests are welcome to walk-in to the Cat Zone for a free visit limited to 60 minutes, or, for a small donation, be able to guarantee entry via an online reservation system. It’s believed Cat Town Café is America’s first permanent cat café. The Cat Town Café is at 2869 Broadway, at 29th St. Opening hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday; the Cat Zone is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. More information can be found at Cat Town Café’s website. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Tia’s, Longbranch, Descanso, Plank and more

Dana Zumot, the new owner of Tia's, a cafe that has replaced Levant, which was only open a few weeks. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Openings, closings…

TIA’S A new café called Tia’s is set to open imminently at the spot once occupied by the short-lived Levant Organic Café on the corner of Kittredge and Oxford streets in downtown Berkeley. The owner, Dana Zumot, has previously worked as a restaurant manager and her love of cooking led her to open her own place at 2177 Kittredge St. Tia’s will be a casual café serving salads and panini sandwiches, as well as coffee and tea. With its location close to the Cal campus, and its light-filled atmosphere, Zumot is hoping Tia’s becomes a popular hang-out space. Telephone the café at 510-647-9863 to confirm it is open before venturing out. … Continue reading »

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Video: 36 hours in Berkeley, California

Screen shot 2014-10-10 at 11.47.24 AM
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This week, the New York Times turned its attention to Berkeley for its regular “36 Hours in…” series. It’s not the first time the city has been viewed through this lens. It was also featured in 2003.

This time, however, they also created a video to give readers a sense of life in the city (scroll down to watch it).

Many favorite local businesses and organizations are featured it the video and the accompanying article, including the Tilden Steam Train, the Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley’s Hearst swimming pool, Alchemy Collective, La Botella Republic, Cheese Board Collective, Chez Panisse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Comal, Ici, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Ippuku, Elmwood Café, Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore, and the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association. (Prizefighter cocktail bar also sneaked in, although it is actually in Emeryville.) … Continue reading »

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Comal owners settle suit over Elmwood restaurant

An early rendering of a new restaurant prosed for Ashby Avenue
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lawsuit brought against the City of Berkeley and the owners of Comal restaurant, who plan to open a new restaurant at 2635 Ashby Ave. in the Elmwood neighborhood, has been settled.

A group called the Elmwood Neighborhood Assocation (ENA), concerned that a new upscale restaurant in the area would make traffic and parking unbearable filed a lawsuit in April. This followed a protracted approval process for the restaurant, including a previous appeal.

According to the terms of the settlement, the city has agreed to compile a report on parking in the neighborhood within 12 months of the August settlement — parking difficulties was one of the key issues raised in the suit — and  the restaurant owners will take steps both to advise customers on where to park, and to manage their alcohol consumption. They will close the restaurant to new customers at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and agreed to pay $5,000 in attorney’s fees to Stuart Flashman, who represented ENA.

John Paluska, owner with Andrew Hoffman of Comal, said he hopes to start the build-out of the new restaurant, which is likely to serve Northern Californian cuisine and will have a full bar serving craft cocktails, early next year, and be open by the summer of 2015. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Berkeley restaurant has been approved: Let it open

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I am a homeowner on Russell Street just below College, and thus an Elmwood resident. A year ago, I heard that the owners of Comal on Shattuck Avenue were proposing a restaurant for the old Wright’s Garage space on Ashby and I was thrilled. It sounded like just the ticket to round out the dining options in our little neighborhood. Finally, we would have an upscale spot with a nice atmosphere and a small bar space — just what … Continue reading »

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Suit filed to stop Comal owners’ new restaurant

Screen shot 2014-06-10 at 10.49.40 PM
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A group of Elmwood residents who are worried that a new upscale restaurant on Ashby Avenue will make traffic and parking unbearable in the neighborhood has filed a lawsuit against the city and the restaurant’s owners.

The Elmwood Neighborhood Association believes that Berkeley violated environmental laws when it made a “negative declaration” that determined the new restaurant at 2635 Ashby Avenue near College would not create significant noise, parking, or odor problems. The lawsuit, which was filed April 28, asks Berkeley to redo its environmental review.

Zach Cowan, the Berkeley city attorney, said the city disagrees with the allegations in the suit.

“The issues in the petition were all addressed and analyzed,” said Cowan. … Continue reading »

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