FIELDWORK BREWING OPENS The newest West Berkeley brewery is up and running after previewing its beers during SF Beer Week. Fieldwork Brewing Company‘s taproom, at Sixth and Harrison streets, offers guests a rotating selection of seasonal and limited release brews in addition to its flagship offerings. Beers on tap right now include Fieldwork’s Double IPA, Rye Pale Ale, Burning Daylight IPA, Morning Time Breakfast Stout, and Hella Revolutionary, a collaboration with Altamont Beer Works in Livermore. On the food menu are British-style meat, vegetable and vegan pies (“pasties”) made by Oakland’s The Pie Shop. Fieldwork plans to host beer-pairing dinners in the future, as well as pairing seminars and scheduled tours. It is also selling beer to-go in 32- and 64-ounce refillable Fieldwork growlers. Leading the beer program is Alex Tweet, formerly of Modern Times Beer and Ballast Point Brewing, both in San Diego. Fieldwork Brewing is at 1160 Sixth St. (at Harrison Street), Berkeley. Connect with the brewery on Facebook and Twitter.
BOARD GAME CAFE COMING TO SHATTUCK Victory Point Café just signed a lease on the space at 1797-A Shattuck Ave. in the hopes of opening this summer. The café will boast a selection of at least 500 board games, ranging from classics like Monopoly to Eurogames like Settlers of Catan and Dominion. Victory Point plans to serve a casual menu of snacks, sandwiches, salads and desserts. On the drinks side, both coffee and craft beer will be on offer. According to its website, Victory Point will arrange the games in a library according to genre, and guests are encouraged to stay and play as many as they’d like. There will be a $5 fee for an all-day pass. Victory Point will also have a “game guru” on staff, ready to teach guests how to play the games. The owners are focused on building a café with mass appeal. They told Cal Reddit: “We’re focusing on making it attractive and accessible to a wide range of people, from the avid gamer to a group of friends looking for something to do after dinner, to a couple on a date. Board games are our specialty, but our aim is to create an excellent cafe, even if you were to strip away the games.” The location is in the Hillside Village development — previous tenants included Hippie Gypsy café and Village Grounds. Victory Point Café will be at 1791-A Shattuck Ave. (between Francisco and Delaware Streets), Berkeley. Connect with the café on Facebook and Twitter.
KAFFA ETHIOPIAN TURNS BRICK-AND-MORTAR Kaffa Ethiopian, the popular South Berkeley farmers market vendor, now has its own restaurant on Sacramento Street. Kaffa has a short, vegan menu — it offers three different-sized plates of lentils, kale, vegetables and gluten-free injera bread, as well as an additional fried pastry called a sambusa. But despite the limited offerings, Kaffa is already earning high marks from its guests. “It’s as if you’re sitting down in her kitchen and she cooks you up a meal,” says Elli N. on Yelp. Kaffa Ethiopian Restaurant is at 2987 Sacramento St. (at Ashby Avenue), Berkeley.
TUPPER & REED STARTS SERVING COCKTAILS As reported on Nosh earlier this week, the long-awaited classic cocktail bar from San Francisco’s Future Bars team opened its doors on Wednesday. Like other Future Bars projects, Tupper & Reed has taken its design cues (and name) from its location, in this case the historic Tupper and Reed building on Shattuck. The building originally housed a music store that sold everything from records to gramophones. Tupper & Reed (the bar) is split into two levels: The lower level, called The Stage, is open to walk-ins and serves a concise cocktail menu, while the upper level, called The Balcony, is reserved for reservations and serves an extensive array of classic cocktails. Other features include the Polly Armstrong Listening Room, an eight-person room that contains records and a working gramophone for listening parties, and a larger 30-person room for bigger parties. Tupper & Reed is at 2271 Shattuck Ave. (between Kittredge Street and Bancroft Way), Berkeley. Connect with the bar on Facebook and Twitter.
ALEX MARKET BRINGS GROCERIES TO SOUTH BERKELEY Mom-and-pop grocery store Alex Market opened three weeks ago on Sacramento Street. Adel Ibrahim purchased the property, which has been vacant since a liquor store was kicked out in 2006, last December — the same time he and his wife Marianne had their child, Alex, after whom the shop is named. Countering what the Ibrahims saw as a saturation of liquor stores around Sacramento Street, Alex Market mainly sells groceries, including vegetables and fruit. “That’s why we took the challenge to do something different and good for the neighborhood,” Ibrahim said. [By Seung Y. Lee] Alex Market is at 2440 Sacramento Ave. (at Dwight Way), Berkeley.
COMING SOON: MOUNTAIN MIKE’S PIZZA Mountain Mike’s Pizza is set to take the place of By Hand, the 41-year-old clothing business that closed its doors recently at 1746 Solano Ave. — according to the letting agent Red Oak Realty’s Patrick Leaper. Mountain Mike’s Pizza is a 150-restaurant chain that started in Palo Alto in 1978 and is run by a franchise network. It describes itself as a family-oriented, casual dining environment that also offers delivery and carry-out. It has several East Bay locations already, including Alameda and El Cerrito and, according to its website, is planning another Berkeley restaurant on San Pablo Avenue. Mountain Mike’s will join other Solano Avenue pizza-focused eateries such as Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, Little Star Pizza, Cugini and Domino’s Pizza this summer. [By Gill South] Mountain Mike’s Pizza will be at 1746 Solano Ave. (at Ensenada Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with Mountain Mike’s on Facebook.
OTHER OPENINGS Solano Avenue’s Miyuki has undergone a renovation to become Akemi. A tipster on Chowhound reports an improved menu that includes ramen in addition to sushi. Yelp reports are also mostly positive. Space Burger has taken over Uptown Oakland’s Giant Burger, according to Inside Scoop. The Telegraph Avenue restaurant has maintained the retro decor of the original and added fried chicken, pulled pork, and portobello sandwiches to the burger-centric menu. Also in Oakland, Classic Cars West is planning on opening a limited service restaurant and beer garden within its facilities on Friday evenings. The restaurant will be an expansion of the dealership’s Art Murmur events, says Inside Scoop. Owner Michael Sarcona expects to open in May. Akemi is at 1695 Solano Ave. (between Tulare and Ventura avenues), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. Space Burger is at 2150 Telegraph Ave. (between 21st and 22nd streets), Oakland. Classic Cars West is at 411 26th St. (between Telegraph Avenue and Broadway), Oakland.
SIZZLER SHUTTERS We received a tip this week that Albany’s Sizzler has closed after being in business since at least the 1990s. The San Pablo Avenue restaurant posted an announcement on its front door recently, and took its sign down last week. Many Yelp reviewers spoke positively of the salad bar when it was open. Not so much praise for the rest of the menu, however.
LUNA TEA CLOSES BERKELEY LOCATION According to its Facebook page, Telegraph Avenue’s Luna Tea has closed its pop-up shop. The tea store hints that it will open up shop in Livermore next. In the meantime, all of its teas are available online
HALAL GUYS COMING TO BERKELEY The popular New York City street food cart is coming to the West Coast, and in a big way. The Halal Guys specializes in platters of chicken, gyro meat, and rice topped with “white sauce” (a mayonnaise-based blend) and spicy red hot sauce. According to Foodbeast, the company plans on opening three brick-and-mortar locations on this side of the Rockies in the next year, one of which will be near Cal’s campus in Berkeley. The other two new locations will be in San Francisco and Las Vegas. If these locations go gangbusters, Halal Guys plans to open as many as 30 more West Coast restaurants.
What else is going on…
BERKELEY ENCOURAGES MEATLESS MONDAYS This week, the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution encouraging residents to participate in “Meatless Mondays.” Berkeley now joins Oakland, San Francisco and other cities across the nation that have passed similar resolutions. The Humane League, an animal protection nonprofit, praised the city for the resolution, saying in a statement that participation “will improve residents’ health, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability.”
HIGHWIRE COFFEE BUYS WEST BERKELEY’S LOCAL 123 As we reported earlier this week, Oakland-based roastery and coffee company Highwire has purchased Local 123, the well-loved café at 2049 San Pablo Ave., as well as Local’s airstream trailer at the Flowerland Nursery on Solano Avenue in Albany. Local 123 owner Frieda Hoffman approached Highwire about the sale earlier this year. Highwire had been looking to expand its operation out of its store in Rockridge’s Market Hall, so the offer was serendipitous. According to Highwire, Local 123 employees will be “welcomed into the family” and no one is expected to be let go. Local 123 makes the transition Sunday.
MORE COFFEE NEWS: BLUE BOTTLE ACQUIRES PERFECT COFFEE The Oakland-based coffee company announced yesterday that it had acquired Perfect Coffee, a subscription service that delivers “the most delicious ground coffee available.” Blue Bottle had been working with Perfect since 2013, and it officially brought the five-person company into its fold Feb. 26. In a statement, Blue Bottle said that the accession will allow it to “start exploring new ways to get ground coffee (a service our guests have been asking for for years) into the hands of anyone who asks for it.”