CHOLITA LINDA OPENING NEW LOCATION IN GRAND LAKE Temescal’s popular taco and Latin comfort food joint Cholita Linda is expanding, we hear from the Splashpad Park Facebook page. The new location, at 3256 Lakeshore Ave., will take the place of The Burrito Shop, which closed last September. Cholita Linda got its start as a food stand at the Jack London Square farmers market in 2008; it opened its first brick-and-mortar location in February 2014. The restaurant’s fish tacos are especially popular, and they were named the best in the Bay Area by San Francisco Magazine in 2014. Other items on its menu include pan-Latin dishes like Cubano sandwiches, chicharron de Pollo plates and coconut pudding desserts. Cholita Linda will be at 3256 Lakeshore Ave. (near Lake Park Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
ALSO IN GRAND LAKE: LA PARISIENNE Across the way on Grand Avenue, a new Parisian bakery, La Parisienne, has opened. According to the bakery’s website, La Parisienne aims to “bring the “boulangerie & pâtisserie” experience to the residents of Oakland.” Its executive pastry chef, Karim Bedda, is an award winning pastry maker who has worked for various patisseries in France, as well as Paris Baguette’s Seoul location and Los Angeles’s Hotcakes and Bakes. While La Parisienne hasn’t yet posted a menu on its website, photos on its Facebook page show a wide variety of pastries like plain and almond croissants, financiers, canelés, and lava cakes. La Parisienne is at 3249 Grand Ave. (at Santa Clara Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the bakery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
SUBWAY TO SHATTUCK AND ALCATRAZ The old Pizza Hut at the corner of Shattuck and Alcatraz has sat vacant for over a year. That’s about to change. We received a tip on Twitter that a new chain is moving in — Subway. No word yet on an opening day, but since the signage is already up, it likely won’t take too long for the sandwich chain to begin serving its signature mediocre sandwiches. Subway will be at 6341 Shattuck Ave. (at Alcatraz Avenue), Oakland.
ENSSARO NOW OPEN IN NEW LOCATION Oakland’s popular Ethiopia restaurant Enssaro has now re-opened in its newer, larger location at 357 Grand Ave. The restaurant is known for its sometimes brutally long waits, so the move to a bigger space is welcome. Diners rave about Enssaro’s vegetarian combo platter and its bere (beef) tibs, but we’re partial to its gomen, stewed greens with onion, ginger, garlic and tomato. Enssaro is at 357 Grand Ave. (between Ellita Avenue and Perkins Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
PUNCHDOWN UPDATE We last heard from Uptown Oakland’s natural wine bar The Punchdown last March. The bar, which once operated at 2212 Broadway, announced that it had secured a lease on a new location at 1737 Broadway. Now Inside Scoop reports that owners D.C. Looney and Lisa Costa are soft-opening the new spot Friday, in the new location custom designed from scratch by Oakland’s Black Creek Builders. The Punchdown will continue to focus on wines made with “minimal intervention and additives from grapes harvested in a sustainable, organic, or biodynamic manner,” and will to host happy hours, guest chefs, and wine events. The new location is larger than before which will allow the owners to expand both their wine collection and their food offerings. Expect salads, dips, sandwiches, soups, and a “hearty meal of the day,” in addition to The Punchdown’s staple cheese and charcuterie plates. The Punchdown will be at 1737 Broadway. (at 19th Street), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook and Twitter. [This item was updated after publication.]
What else is going on…
MANDARIN GARDEN Almost two months after two fires on the same night effectively destroyed the Mandarin Garden restaurant at 2025 Shattuck Ave. in downtown Berkeley, the Berkeley Fire Department has concluded its investigation, the restaurant is back in the hands of the owners, and clean-up crews are at work on site. BFD’s investigation into the cause of the two fires was inconclusive, however. “Unfortunately, the cause for this fire has been listed as ‘undetermined,'” BFD’s spokeswoman, Donna McCracken, told Berkeleyside Nosh. The restaurant was destroyed, and the two neighboring businesses, credit union Patelco and a not-yet-open new restaurant called Venus Café in the former Ichiban location, were seriously damaged. It is not known whether Mandarin’s owners plan to try to reopen the restaurant. We will keep you posted.
PRETTY LADY HAS A NEW OWNER West Oakland’s Pretty Lady diner has officially changed hands. We had heard rumblings about the changeover last fall, but a newly filed ABC license confirms the rumor: Pretty Lady is now owned by Stephen Mills of Rudy’s Can’t Fail. New co-owner Fra Kepler has also registered a domain name for prettyladycafe.com. The site is not yet live. Pretty Lady has been in operation since the 1950s; the most recent owner Sung Song took over the diner 10 years ago. Diners love Pretty Lady for its no-frills fare, cheap prices and friendly service. Much of the menu is made up of diner staples like eggs, pancakes, and deli sandwiches, but there are a few fusion-y touches: that kimchi can be added to any order and fried noodle and rice dishes make an appearance. Fans of Pretty Lady have said on Facebook and Yelp that they heard that Song sold the business so that she could retire. We have reached out to the various parties and have yet to receive a response. We will update you as we learn more. Pretty Lady is at 1733 Peralta St. (at 18th Street), Oakland.
REMINDER: SF BEER WEEK BEGINS TODAY The annual beer festival kicks off tonight with a party in San Francisco, and will run through Jan. 31. As usual, there are many Beer Week events taking place in the East Bay. As we mentioned in December, we’re particularly excited about the seven-day brew at Woods Brewery starting Jan. 23, Pinballs and Pints at the Pacific Pinball Museum, a “wild beers” and “wild wines” tasting at Woods Brewery Jan. 28, and Drake’s second-annual malt liquor release party Jan. 29. We also hear good things about the Japanese beer collaboration dinner between The Trappist, Umami Mart and Ramen Shop on Jan. 24 and a beer pairing dinner at Salsipuedes with cicerone Sayre Piotrkowski (there will be two beers paired with each of the four courses). Plus, West Berkeley’s newest brewery, Fieldwork, will be debuting its first line-up of sour beers at the brewery over the course of the week. See the full event listing here. Connect with SF Beer Week on Facebook and Twitter.