THE LIBERTINE BAR HEADED TO GRAND LAKE A new bar, The Libertine, is set to take the place of Kingman’s Lucky Lounge at 3332 Grand Ave. New owner Aric Yeverino purchased the bar earlier this year, but Kingman’s continued operating until April 12. As of this week, Yeverino has taken down the Lucky sign and begun renovations to change bring the bar up to code. He has posted images on his Instagram feed indicating that the new liquor license is active, so the switch should be fairly speedy. Yeverino is also the owner of the popular Hayward dive bar The Dirty Bird. The Libertine will be at 3332 Grand Ave. (near Mandana Boulevard), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook.
BUILD PIZZERIA Downtown Berkeley’s Build Pizzeria has been closed for the past two weeks. A sign outside the building indicates that the space is undergoing renovations, but the interior of the space appears untouched. We are hoping that the restaurant is not closed for good. Nosh has been in touch with managing partner Lisa Holt, but she has yet to confirm details regarding its operations. Build opened in 2013 and brought a welcome buzz to this southern stretch of Shattuck in downtown, offering a “make your own pizza” service, a full bar and a stylish décor. In November last year, Build owners Holt and David Shapiro opened nightclub and live music venue Berkeley Underground in the basement of the building beneath the restaurant. We will keep you posted on developments. Build Pizzeria is at 2286 Shattuck Ave. (at Bancroft Way), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
SEQUOIA DINER HEADED TO THE LAUREL We reported last month that the Laurel District’s Full House Café had closed and would be replaced by the Sequoia Diner. This week, Inside Scoop has more news about the soon-to-open diner. It will be a breakfast and lunch spot, complete with American-style diner fare done up in California fashion. Owners Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson have upscale restaurant experience (Vennari has worked at Camino and Duende) and they plan to use that ethos to inform the menu. Ingredients will be locally sourced, and the pair will make their own bread, pastries, bacon, sausages and jams. However, Vennari told Inside Scoop, they don’t plan to emphasize their efforts. “We do believe in local and sustainable and organic,” said Vennari, “but we’re not trying to throw it in peoples faces; we just think it’s a good way to go.” Vennari and Broderson hope to open sometime this spring. Sequoia Diner will be at 3719 MacArthur Blvd. (at High Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
RAMEN COMING TO EMERYVILLE A new ramen shop is slated to open in Emeryville this fall, according to the East Bay Express. Called Shiba Ramen, the restaurant is the brainchild of a husband-and-wife team of ex-chemists, Jake Freed and Hiroko Nakamura. Shiba Ramen will not, however, be E’ville’s answer to Oakland’s Ramen Shop. Freed has written in his blog, Ramen Chemistry, that he believes the best ramen experience is fast, cheap and low-frills, and he aims to replicate this efficient style of dining in his restaurant. But just because the food is cheap doesn’t mean it will lack flavor — Nakamura, who will be the restaurant’s chef, has taken a ramen class in Japan and has spent a year perfecting her recipes. Shiba Ramen has yet to reveal its location, but we will keep you informed as we learn more. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What else is going on…
RASA CAFFE CELEBRATES FIRST ANNIVERSARY This Saturday, April 18, South Berkeley’s Rasa Caffe is throwing a party for its first birthday. The event is being held in conjunction with a birthday party for neighboring Firehouse Art Collective‘s Tom Franco. Franco hosts a birthday exhibit every year, and this is the first that includes Rasa Caffe. From 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Rasa Caffe will offer drinks like its signature chai and black cardamom cold brew, plus snacks, surprises and a new signature beverage. From 7-9 p.m., Firehouse will provide music, drinks, food and conversation. Find more information here. Rasa Caffe is at 3140 Martin Luther King Way (at Fairview Street), Berkeley. Connect with the café on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
THE TRAPPIST’S BUG BEER FEST Don’t worry — the bugs involved aren’t the creepy, crawling type. The Trappist is honoring all of the funky natural bacteria and yeast used to make some of the world’s best beers this Saturday, April 18. Calling the party a celebration of “alternative fermentation methods,” The Trappist and its sister bar, The Trappist Provisions, will be serving a stellar line-up of 31 beers, including Lost Abbey’s Poppy Sour, Logsdon’s Peche n’ Brett and Russian River’s Supplication. Plan to show up early; The Trappist says that many of the beers will sell out fast. The Trappist is at 460 Eighth St. (at Broadway), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook and Twitter.
OAKLAND VEG WEEK STARTS APRIL 19 Starting Saturday, the organization Oakland Veg is sponsoring a week of meat-free events. “Oakland Veg Week invites our local communities to experience the many personal and global benefits of plant-based foods,” said Katie Cantrell, Oakland Veg Week organizer, in a prepared statement. “We also strive to celebrate the amazing veg options that Oakland has to offer, while fostering a collaborative, positive, and inclusive space for all people.” Events during the week take place across Oakland and include a Vegan Soul Sunday on April 19, with cooking demos, music and talks; a Forks Over Knives screening on April 21; and a panel on vegan cheese on April 22. The week will culminate in Veg Fest on Saturday, April 25, a day-long celebration at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater. More information is available here.
UMAMI MART BOTTLE SHOP GRAND OPENING PARTY The Japanese grocery store has been selling beers and sakes in its bottle shop since February, but it is holding a grand opening celebration for the store on Tuesday, April 21, from 6-9 p.m. Umami Mart Bottle Shop‘s grand opening will include street food by Casa de Kei, music by DJ Chungtech and, ironically, only non-alcoholic beverages. (Due to restrictions in the store’s alcohol license, it is prohibiting from serving alcohol or allowing open containers on site.) However, guests can choose from around 50 Japanese beers and 30 sakes to purchase and drink at home. Umami Mart is at 815 Broadway (at Eighth), Oakland. Connect with the store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
CINEMA GRILL ADDS HAPPY HOUR Cinema Grill, the restaurant in the Alameda Theatres Cineplex, opened last fall; last week they launched a two-part happy hour. From 5-6 p.m. and from 8:30 p.m. until closing, the restaurant is offering food and drink specials, all priced between $4 and $8. Food deals include fish tacos, crab corn dogs, individual pizzas and (for the virtuous) a kale salad. Patrons can imbibe and eat at the restaurant or while movie watching. Start by grabbing a beer, glass of wine or cocktail and take it with you into the auditorium through the “backstage pass,” a private corridor connecting the restaurant with the cinema. If you reserve a seat in a designated area of the theatre, you can order food and drinks to be delivered to your seat from the restaurant through a mobile paypal app. Cinema Grill is at the Alameda Theatres Cineplex at 2301 Central Ave. (at Oak Street), Alameda. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
TOP CHEF TO FILM IN THE BAY AREA The popular Bravo culinary competition show is headed back to California. Top Chef hasn’t filmed in the state since its first two seasons, but this year will be making a road trip across California. Eater reports that the show will film in both San Francisco and Oakland, in addition to Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Palm Springs, sometime in the next few months. No word yet on any local chefs involved, but expect lots of Bay Area love when the show airs this fall.