Tag Archives: Comal
By Benjamin Seto/Focus:Snap:Eat
The story: The people behind the successful high-end Mexican restaurant Comal in downtown Berkeley branched out to the tiny Elmwood neighborhood with a splashy new restaurant called The Advocate. (How this name is supposed to make you think of food is beyond me.) Housed in the former Wright’s Garage building, the spacious dining room with wood-fire oven opened earlier this month. … Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »