Bites is Berkeleyside Nosh’s round-up of restaurant and bar news in the East Bay. Got a tip or a scoop? Send it our way at email@example.com. Bites is produced by Nosh in collaboration with Christina Mitchell, founder of East Bay Dish. (And we number Bites so you can check out previous editions of Bites and be sure you’re up to date with all the food news.)
TOP DOG LOSES THE DOG Berkeley institution Top Dog has changed its tune. Its restaurant on Hearst Avenue, opposite the Cal campus, is now a pizza place called Pizzahhh after the owners decided to “try something a little different” after nearly 40 years of serving sausages. “We decided to change it up and spruce it up,” they write on a sign taped to the door at the restaurant in the Hearst Food Court. The pizza spot will pay homage and link to the past by having four sausages available as toppings. “We know this comes a shock to all the very loyal, long-time customers here at Northside but take take heart, there are still two Top Dog locations nearby,” they conclude. They would be “Southside” at 2534 Durant, and at 2160 Center St. [Hat-tip: Daniel Parks]
BEC’S SHUTS UP SHOP BEC’s Bar & Bistro in downtown Berkeley has closed down. The owners of the restaurant and live entertainment venue, which took over the 1925 ivy-clad building at 2271 Shattuck Ave. left vacant by the long-running Beckett’s Irish Pub in 2011, say they “lost their lease.” And indeed the 8,000 sq ft space is now up for lease. The restaurant has ditched its website, but the Yelp reviews remain.
CAMBER A new restaurent, Camber, opened a month ago in Uptown Oakland. It describes itself as offering Southeast Asian cooking in a family-style restaurant with a full bar. Its name, according to the East Bay Express which checked it out, is a portmanteau of the owner’s kids’ names, Cameron and Amber. The Express didn’t quite know what to make of the place, however, with its “neon hues, LED lights and electronica.” It settled with “A bit of Vegas in Uptown.” Camber is at 1707 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.
MONKEY FOREST ROAD Last week we told you about The Red Whale, a new wine bar/wine shop on Grand Ave. (Update: The name of that shop later became Ordinaire.) And then we find out there’s another wine bar on the same block. Named after a main street in Indonesia, Monkey Forest Road opened a while ago with furniture, artwork and accessories from Bali for sale. It also happens to be a coffee shop with a pastry chef on staff baking fresh scones, cakes and other goodies in house. Starting a couple weeks ago, they extended hours to add a wine bar on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. They serve a combination of common and not-so-common varietals. 3265 Grand Ave., Oakland, 510-327-2400. Friday to Sunday, 5-10 p.m.
OLDE DEPOT PUBLIC HOUSE Here’s some good news for vegan beer drinkers. According to the East Bay Express, Olde Depot Public House opened a couple weeks ago. [OK, scratch that: we heard from a tipster that it is NOT open yet. Watch this space for news of when it is.] The beer-focused vegan restaurant is right next door to Beer Revolution and will be run by the same owners. It’s at 468 Third St., Oakland.
RAMEN TOMO We bring you news of a new ramen restaurant on Telegraph. We don’t need to tell you how popular ramen is right now (just try getting a table at Ramen Shop in Oakland!). Anyway, all we know is what a construction worker told us — that there are at least three more weeks of construction to go. Beyond that, we know the name (Ramen Tomo) and the address: 4390-A Telegraph Ave. Oakland. Not a lot, but you heard it here first!
STELLA NONNA Stella Nonna, which has focused on catering and company lunches since its founding in 1997, is opening a full-service restaurant at 1407 San Pablo Ave., just south of Camelia. A Berkeleyside reader reports that the construction has “nice wood, brushed stainless, etc.” Chef/owners Tim Carlon and Sarah Nasgovitz plan a neighborhood restaurant “with unique regionally accented cuisine at high-value prices, encouraging repeat visits.”
What else is going on…
NOBLE CAFE Noble Café at 100 Grand Ave. in Oakland, the self-proclaimed first carbon-neutral cafe in the country, has closed after only a year of operation. Owner Dimitri Thompson talked of a “partnership issue” that prompted him to sell the space. He’s currently looking for a new location and hopes to reopen in the near future.
GUMBO THROWDOWN Lydia Walker of the former Bay Leaf Restaurant is planning a pop-up fundraiser for the Ella Baker Center. Walker won a Gumbo Throwdown a couple years ago and let’s just say she deserved it. Her gumbo is flavorful and oh so satisfying. The restaurant closed last summer, but you can still find her at First Fridays and other events while she’s looking for a new space. Lydia is making a big pot of gumbo this weekend and the good people at Commonwealth Café & Pub have agreed to let her take over the kitchen for a day. She’ll also have Lemon Ice Box Pie, which is silky, crunchy and completely addicting. 2882 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, Sunday, March 3, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., $8.
GET STUFFED Get Stuffed, organizers of food markets, is planning a new weekly event on Saturdays at the College of Alameda with 6-10 food vendors, including Peter’s Kettle Corn and Got Italian Ice. There will also be outdoor shopping at the West End Market and live music. Every week, one lucky person will win a $25 food voucher. To enter, all you have to do is “like” their Facebook page. 555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway, Alameda. Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free entry.
Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant openings, happenings and closings in the East Bay. Got a tip or scoop? Send it our way to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook.
Some of these items may first have appeared in Shop Talk, Berkeleyside’s regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses. If you’re a Berkeley business with news, or a Berkeleysider who has spotted a change in your neighborhood or on your travels, email us with the details. Read previous Shop Talk columns here.