Tag Archives: FuseBOX

Bites: The Libertine, Forage Kitchen, Zut! Tavern

The Libertine bar has officially opened in Oakland's Grand Lake neighborhood. Photo: The Libertine/Facebook
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Openings, closings…

THE LIBERTINE OPENS ON GRAND AVENUE Last Friday, The Libertine began pouring drinks in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood. It is the second bar for owner Aric Yeverino, who has been operating Hayward’s popular dive bar The Dirty Bird Lounge, since 2009. As we reported back in April, Yeverino purchased the bar, which used to house Kingman’s Lucky Lounge, earlier this year. Right now, the bar is serving a limited cocktail list, including a Moscow Mule, Last Word, a punch called “Sailor Jerry” and a whiskey cocktail called the Creole. Early Yelp reviews are very positive, calling the bar an “excellent addition to the neighborhood.” The Libertine is at 3332 Grand Ave. (near Mandana Boulevard), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook.Continue reading »

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East Bay restaurants adapt to new minimum wage

Brunch at Camino in February 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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On March 2, the city of Oakland raised its minimum wage by 36%. At $12.25 per hour, the new wage is  the highest in the country — for now. San Francisco matched this wage on May 1, and Emeryville will leapfrog both cities in July.

The wage increase was voted into law last November as a part of Measure FF. Over 80% of Oakland residents supported the measure. And while all Oakland businesses are now required to abide by the new wage, conversations about its benefits and repercussions and have been most active in the restaurant industry.

Restaurants have notoriously small operational budget margins, and are, according to Saru Jayaraman, the co-director of Restaurant Opportunity Centers United (ROC-United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley, one of the largest employers of low-wage workers in the United States. Jayaraman reports that seven out of the ten lowest paying jobs in the country are restaurant jobs. … Continue reading »

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NOSH hot neighborhood guide: West Oakland

Fresh produce at the Mandela Foods Cooperative
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The best part of the East Bay food boom is that it is happening all over the place, not just in already popular neighborhoods like Oakland’s Temescal or Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. In that spirit, we are launching a new series on NOSH focused on specific neighborhoods in the East Bay. Think of it as your own online neighborhood food tour. We start in West Oakland.

Stretching from Interstate 580 in the north down towards Jack London Square in the south, West Oakland is a sprawling neighborhood. But, despite its size, the largely residential area has historically lacked food options. A few organizations and developers are raising funds and writing plans for full-service grocery stores in the area, but there are several smaller changes taking place. Small restaurants and cafés have slowly been opening up alongside established diners, taquerias, and fried fish joints. Some offer re-imagined versions of the area’s historic soul food cuisine, while others bring new ideas and flavors. Most operate in harmony with the diverse neighborhood, celebrating the homey goodness that is Oakland cuisine. Don’t know where to pop in for a bite in West Oakland? Here are our picks. We’ve included a handy map so you know just where they are. … Continue reading »

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Bites: MeloMelo and Zing Café open in Berkeley

MeloMelo Kava Bar
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Openings, closings…

MELOMELO OPENS ITS DOORS Berkeley residents looking for an alternative bar atmosphere now have a new destination. MeloMelo Kava Bar (pictured above), a coffee- and alcohol-free watering hole, opened softly this past Tuesday. As we reported in September, kava is a Polynesian drink, made from the roots of the kava-kava plant, that has a mild sedative effect. Along with a rotating selection of kava, MeloMelo is serving kombucha on tap and a weekly “kava koncotion” special. You can learn more about the history and science of kava on MeloMelo’s website. MeloMelo Kava Bar is at 1701 University Ave., Berkeley. Connect with MeloMelo on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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Bites: Longbranch, The Hatch, Sushi Secrets, more

A West African happy hour has launched in downtown Oakland at Bissap Boabab. Photo: Bissap Boabab
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Openings and closings

LONGBRANCH Longbranch, the New American restaurant and gastropub working to open in the old Sea Salt location at 2512 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley is making headway. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, kitchen outfitting is well underway, as are decorations, with custom-made wrought-iron chandeliers already hung. The business, which also calls itself the Longbranch Saloon, is aiming for a summer 2014 opening, and has already secured its liquor license. Owners West Berkeley Center Partners LLC have plans for 25 local brews on tap and 85 international bottled selections. Berkeleyside first wrote about Longbranch, and the historic origin of its name, in April. Connect with the business on Facebook.

THE HATCH: COMING UP Looks like a new restaurant may be gearing up to open in downtown Oakland called The Hatch, where Hawaiian Walk In Restaurant was located previously, at 402 15th St. A Yelper reported that the Hawaiian place, which appears to have been around since at least 2006, was closed as of June 20: “Not sure what it is going on,…. the door is closed all day long,” wrote one disappointed diner. The Hatch, owned by Louwenda Kachingwe, popped up on the state alcohol licensing database Aug. 5. The license, which is pending, is for on-sale beer and wine. The Hatch does have a Facebook page, but nothing has been posted on it yet. The business may have a website, according to the Facebook page, but it hasn’t been set up. Berkeleyside has reached out to the owner to learn more. … Continue reading »

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Kilovolt Coffee: A new caffeine jolt in West Oakland

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A new coffee shop has opened in West Oakland’s Dogtown neighborhood, an area that locals believe is ripe for more food and drink destinations, the wildly popular Brown Sugar Kitchen notwithstanding.

Kilovolt Coffee, at 1829 Mandela Parkway, is co-owned by Ethan Ashley, a self-trained electrician with a background in home remodeling. Ashley identified a gap in the market when he moved to the neighborhood in 2008 and couldn’t find a good cup of coffee, according to SF Weekly, which broke the news last month.

Kilovolt is located in the office part of a former steel equipment warehouse, and Ashley, who did much of the build-out himself, has run with the electricity theme for the décor, using old insulators from high voltage power lines as chandeliers, for instance. … Continue reading »

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Salsipuedes aims for ‘heartfelt cooking’ in Oakland

Jay Porter and Katie Mayfield plan to open Salsipuedes in North Oakland later this year. Photo: Courtesy of Jay Porter
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The much-anticipated new restaurant from Jay Porter, who’s run successful restaurants in Southern California and made waves in the food world by advocating for tipless restaurants, is expected to open in North Oakland’s Longfellow neighborhood later this year.

The new business, called Salsipuedes, is anticipated to open at Market and 42nd streets. It has garnered excitement from neighbors because it will be the first restaurant in the immediate area. Temescal, the growing 40th Street district and Emeryville are nearby, but Longfellow itself has few dining options aside from two popular Ethiopian cafés.

Porter spoke with Nosh this week, sharing the first news about the restaurant since last fall. At that time, Porter was keeping close wraps on exactly where Salsipuedes would open, though he had signed the lease in September. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXXVII

Meats with sauerkraut (Boudin blanc; corned beef with parsley sauce). Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

BOX AND BELLS This week’s biggest opening has to be James Syhabout’s latest restaurant, Box and Bells, in Rockridge. Berkeleyside Nosh wrote about a preview of the endeavor in February at one of Syhabout’s other Oakland restaurants, Hawker Fare. Syhabout is most known for being the only Michelin-starred chef in the East Bay for his Piedmont Avenue restaurant Commis. With Box and Bells, he said he aimed to offer the “things we like to eat as cooks that no one else is making. On our days off we want to spoil ourselves and indulge.” Added executive chief Benjamin Coe, at the preview, “This is the food that we eat after a long day at Commis.” According to Inside Scoop, Syhabout has been working on Box and Bells for more than a year: “It’s about getting back to basic cooking,” he told the San Francisco-based food news blog, which is run by the San Francisco Chronicle. Box and Bells is located at 5912 College Ave., the former location of Somerset. Items featured on the menu include fried chicken with raw oyster mayonnaise, sea scallops with spaetzle, blood pudding poutine, bone marrow with bagna cauda crust and more. The full food and drinks menus are available online. Check out the restaurant’s Twitter feed for updates.  … Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: FuseBOX in West Oakland

Steak and chimichuri sauce
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We went “omakase” at FuseBOX and ended up with one of our most memorable meals in months. Continue reading »

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Sunhui Chang’s Korean cooking makes sparks fly

Chef-Chang cropped
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Sunhui Chang “fell in love” when he first tasted green mango pickles. At FuseBOX, his pickles and new take on Korean cooking are drawing rave notices. Continue reading »

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Nosh Talk: Suzanne Drexhage, Bartavelle

Suzanne Drexhage
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Nosh Talk is a regular Q&A with an East Bay chef, restaurateur or food artisan, published on Berkeleyside Nosh, in which we snoop for inside intelligence…

What is always in your refrigerator?
Preserved lemons, butter, and for some reason, Prosecco. And chicken stock and last summer’s slow roasted tomatoes in the freezer. Just in case.

What do you cook up for a late night snack?
I don’t usually snack late, but we occasionally eat a pretty late dinner after Stan gets home from work, maybe cooked greens with pasta or eggs, or leftover soft tofu soup. [Stan is Stanislaw Sobolewski, cookbook manager at Moe’s Books.]

Where/what do you eat on your day off? 
So many good places to check out lately, it’s hard to decide, but I love Fusebox in West Oakland, the new Ramen Shop on College Ave., Ippuku in Berkeley, and Duende in downtown Oakland.

Do you have a secret ‘junk food’ vice?
I don’t eat junk food. Street food, sure. Taco trucks, yes! … Continue reading »

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