T-REX BBQ TEMPORARILY CLOSED We received several tips that West Berkeley’s T-Rex BBQ has closed. A sign posted on the door reads: “T Rex is closed for the near future due to management changes. We appreciate your patronage, and hope to see you again in the near future.” We confirmed with the restaurant owners that the closure is temporary. It will re-open this afternoon at 4 p.m. For now, T-Rex will only serve dinner on weeknights. It will remain open for brunch through dinner on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant, which serves an array of barbecue styles, had an ownership shuffle in 2012. The original owners, Haig and Cindy Krikorian, of the K2 restaurant group (Lalime’s), sold the business to Matt Sturm, of Fly Bar and Solstice in San Francisco. T-Rex BBQ is at 1300 10th St. (at Gilman Street), Berkeley.
FIREBRAND OPENING NOV 21 Firebrand Artisan Bread is set to open on Saturday Nov. 21 at the Hive, the new retail, professional and residential development at 23rd and Broadway in Uptown Oakland. We brought you the news earlier this year that Firebrand would be opening in the Hive. The bakery, founded in 2008 by baker Matt Kreutz, makes breads and pastries in the only wood-fired, brick oven bakery in the East Bay and San Francisco. According to a Firebrand press release, each loaf is made with wild yeast starters, mixed in small batches, shaped by hand, and baked in the wood-fired oven at 800 degrees. The bakery also makes a wide selection of convection breads, seasonal items and pretzels. Funding for the project came primarily from the local community, as well as Whole Foods Market Northern California, which provided Firebrand with a $100,000 low-interest loan through its Local Producer Loan Program. Firebrand will expand its relationship with Whole Foods to include retail sales through 10 more stores, primarily in the South Bay. Firebrand breads can currently be found at the Oakland Harrison, Berkeley Gilman and San Francisco Franklin Whole Food locations. Firebrand also supplies bread for over 50 Bay Area restaurants, bars, and hospitality groups including Michael Mina, Four Seasons, Trestle, Suppenkuche, Biergarten, Prizefighter, Ritz Carlton and Bourbon Steak. Firebrand Bakery will be at 2343 Broadway, Oakland. Connect with the bakery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
CAFÉ GRATITUDE CLOSURE In case you missed the news, Berkeley’s Café Gratitude has announced that it will close its location on Shattuck Avenue by the end of the year. The restaurant has been in operation for nearly 10 years; owners Matthew and Terces Engelhart told NOSH in an email that they intend to focus on “farming and the six Southern California restaurants.” Fans of the organic vegan food should take note to stop into the restaurant soon. No word yet on what will replace the café. Café Gratitude is at 1730 Shattuck Ave. (between Francisco and Virginia streets), Berkeley. Connect with the café on Facebook.
LITTLE GEM BELGIAN WAFFLES We last brought you news of Little Gem Belgian Waffles in October. The ““an authentic, handcrafted Belgian Liège waffle shop” is now officially in soft opening mode. It offers “crispy and gooey fresh-off-the-iron waffles,” and you can choose toppings such as Nutella and preserves. Little Gem Belgian Waffles is at 2468-A Telegraph Ave. (at Haste Street). Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
THE ORGANIC COUP TO PLEASANTON The country’s first USDA-certified restaurant opened this week in Pleasanton. Called The Organic Coup, the fast-casual eatery specializes in fried chicken — you can get it between a bun, on a salad, or in a wrap — and is planning for U.S. domination. Owner Erica Welton told Eater that the company plans to open 25 locations in the next 14 months. “The next location is San Francisco,” she said. “We just hired a real estate agent.” In order to get the USDA stamp of approval, The Organic Coup has sourced 95 percent or more of its ingredients come from certified organic growers and farmers. The Organic Coup is at 4825 Hopyard Rd. (at Stoneridge Drive), Pleasanton. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What else is going on…
BEER AND SOUL AT MISS OLLIE’S For the third year in a row, Miss Ollie’s Sarah Kirnon and certified Cicerone Sayre Piotrkowski are teaming up for an evening of beer and soul food. The $55 dinner, which takes place Nov. 17, will feature two different three-course menus, one inspired by Southern culinary legend Edna Lewis and one inspired by Kirnon’s grandmother (and restaurant namesake), Miss Ollie. Each dish will be paired with local beers. There will be two seatings, at 6 and 8:45 p.m. Find more information and make reservations here. Miss Ollie’s is at 901 Washington St. (at 9th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
JOANNE WEIR SIGNING AT CHEZ PANISSE Bay Area chef and James Beard award-winning author Joanne Weir is celebrating her most recent cookbook release at Chez Panisse Thursday, Nov. 19. The cookbook, Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food, pairs 100 recipes with Weir’s anecdotal stories of her travels through Italy, France, Morocco and more. Weir, who worked at Chez Panisee for five years, will be signing books at in the café from 4-6 p.m. Wine and nibbles will be provided. Guests who would like to stay for dinner can enjoy a menu featuring dishes inspired by the book. Reservations for the (free) book signing are required. Email email@example.com. Dinner guests are also encouraged to make reservations through the restaurant. Chez Panisse is at 1517 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
DOUBLE FEATURE AT THE TRAPPIST Two great events are happening at Oakland’s The Trappist this weekend. Tomorrow, Nov. 14, will bring a 20-strong beer list of imperial stouts and porters to the Old Oakland bar. The event will run all day and feature beers from Evil Twin, Drake’s, De Struisse, Dieu du Ciel, North Coast Brewing, Allagash, Tahoe Mountain, 8 Wired, To Øl, Hof Ten Dormal, Midnight Sun, Founders, Fieldwork, and “a few others.” The next day, The Trappist will be collaborating with Maine’s Allagash Brewing for a “Friendsgiving Dinner.” The idea, manager Stephen Laborde told NOSH, is to “have a family style feast around one big table featuring some rare selections from Allagash.” This includes the 10th anniversary of Interlude, a barrel-aged Belgian-style beer that blends two beers, each fermented with different yeast strains. Trappist chef Lorraine Rosenthal will prepare a $75 four-course meal, including Carbonnade a la Flamande (Flemish beef stew), to pair with the beers. Learn more and purchase tickets here. The Trappist is at 460 Eighth St. (at Broadway), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook and Twitter.
FRANCO PEPE TO A16 ROCKRIDGE Pizza fans take note: A16 will host renowned Italian pizzaiolo Franco Pepe for a special dinner Monday Nov. 16. Pepe runs the restaurant Pepe in Grani, located in Caiazzo, Caserta. It has, according to A16, “become a pilgrimage destination for Italians and tourists alike.” A16 owner Shelley Lindgren will be pouring wines from Caserta’s Terre del Principe region to pair with the pizza. Reservations are recommended. A16 Rockridge is at 5356 College Ave. (near Manila Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
OFF THE GRID LAUNCHES HOLIDAY SHOP The food truck company Off the Grid is launching a unique holiday shopping “pop-up tour” next week. Between Nov. 17 and Dec. 17, it will stop at 15 different locations, including four East Bay spots (El Cerrito, Alameda, Walnut Creek and Hayward). All of the products for sale, including tee shirts, hoodies, and greeting cards, are designed in-house and produced through local, independent manufacturers. Gift wrapping will be available on site. Learn more here. Connect with Off the Grid on Facebook and Twitter.