The Fifth Quarter, Taco Bell Cantina, Zatar

Scott Brennan of The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie. Photo: The Fifth Quarter/Facebook
Scott Brennan of The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie. Photo: The Fifth Quarter/Facebook

Openings, closings…

THE FIFTH QUARTER CHARCUTERIE TO MONTCLAIR Scott Brennan’s farmers market charcuterie business The Fifth Quarter has found a permanent brick-and-mortar home in Montclair, according to Tablehopper. Brennan, the former head butcher at Cafe Rouge, has been selling his own sausages, patés and smoked meats at the Berkeley and Kensington farmers markets for the past five years. His new retail location will be in the former Amba Falafel space at 6464 Moraga Ave. In addition to offering an expanded version of his farmers market lineup, Brennan will also be selling sandwiches, prepared foods and dry-cured meats. The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie will be at 6464 Moraga Ave. (at La Salle Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the shop on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: Taco Bell/Facebook
Photo: Taco Bell/Facebook

TACO BELL CANTINA TO BERKELEY It looks like the second Bay Area location of Taco Bell Cantina, the Mexican-themed fast food chain’s expanded, alcohol-included restaurant, may be headed to Berkeley. An ABC license for on-sale beer and wine has been filed for the restaurant at 2528B Durant Ave. A Taco Bell Cantina opened up in San Francisco’s SoMa district last fall, and while it does include expanded menu items like “shareable” home-style nachos, beef taquitos, and chicken tenders with buffalo and avocado-ranch sauces, it has yet to actually acquire its liquor license. Taco Bell Cantinas also have a different design from standard Taco Bells — the ordering system looks much more like Chipotle, with an open view to the food preparation. The SoMa location features exposed brick, subway tile, reclaimed wood and pendant lights in an attempt to class-up the design. We expect that the Berkeley location will also include such design elements. Taco Bell Cantina will be at 2528B Durant Ave. (between Telegraph Avenue and Bowditch Street).

Co-owners of Zatar, Waiel and Kelly Majid. Photo: Anna Mindess
Co-owners of Zatar, Waiel and Kelly Majid. Photo: Anna Mindess

ZATAR CLOSING AT THE END OF JUNE After 20 years on Berkeley’s Shattuck Avenue, Middle Eastern restaurant Zatar will close. The building in which it is housed is set to be turned into a residential high-rise, say owners Kelly and Waiel Majid; as such, the Majids have been on a month-to-month lease, “with the looming threat of eviction for five years.” (See past coverage on Berkeleyside about that project, called Acheson Commons.) Zatar’s last day will be June 26. In the interim, the Majids will extend the restaurants hours to include Sunday night dinners. Lunch is now discontinued, but catering orders and private parties are still offered seven days a week. “We feel eternally grateful for your patronage and friendship over the past 20 years,” wrote the Majids in an email. “We hope you will have a chance to come say goodbye.” Zatar is at 1981 Shattuck Ave. (between Berkeley Way and University Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: La Flamme/Facebook
Photo: La Flamme/Facebook

LA FLAMME RAISING FUNDS FOR ALSATIAN PIZZA RESTAURANT The East Bay may soon get a restaurant devoted to flammekueche, a type of Alsatian flatbread cooked in a wood-fired oven and most commonly topped with fromage blanc, onions and bacon. Anne Besset has been selling her take on flammekueche as a delivery business in the Bay Area for the last six months, and is now raising funds on Indigogo to open a full-service restaurant called La Flamme, hopefully in Oakland. Specific menu details are scant, but one should expect a range of flammekueches, in both savory and sweet form, all cooked in a traditional low-ceilinged wood oven that Besset imported from France. To drink — white wine and beer. Depending on the amount of funds raised Besset will look to open either a 30- or 60-seat restaurant, or may scale back her ambitions and use the funds to expand her delivery service. Connect with La Flamme on Facebook and Twitter.


Co-owners Dylan Keenen and Becky Gibbons have brought a kick to Berkeley with their passion for spice. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Heat Hot Sauce co-owners Dylan Keenen and Becky Gibbons in 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso

HEAT HOT SAUCE SHOP TO MOVE Berkeley’s dedicated hot sauce shop’s online operations are growing fast; as such, it will be moving out of its current location at 1922B Martin Luther King Jr. Way in about six weeks. Heat Hot Sauce Shop co-owner Dylan Keenen told Nosh that he is running out of space to house all of the bottles of hot sauce needed to keep up with the company’s brisk online sales, which account for around 75% of Heat’s business. Kennen said he and his partner Becky Gibbons are looking in Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda, where they live, for a new location. Despite Heat’s emphasis on online sales, Kennan said that he will still offer in-shop retail at the new location. Heat opened in March 2013 with a debut lineup of over 200 different hot sauces and other chili-related food products. Heat Hot Sauce Shop is at 1922B Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between Hearst Avenue and Berkeley Way), Berkeley. Connect with the shop on Facebook and Twitter

MLK Cafe Parklet Team from left to right: Asmerom Ghebremicael; Shayne Martinsen; Yuriko Jewett; James Gallagher; Liisa Pine Schoonmaker Photo: Crista Modglin
MLK Café parklet. Photo: Crista Modglin

MLK CAFÉ PARKLET NOW FINISHED Last fall, we brought you news of a new parklet set to be built outside of Oakland’s MLK Café. The Longfellow neighborhood Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant raised funds through Indiegogo for the street car-themed parklet outside of its restaurant after receiving one of 15 Oakland-sponsored permits for the project. The parklet’s design was inspired by a photograph of a pagoda-style trolley car that was taken just a few blocks away from the location of MLK Café. In addition to seating, the parklet includes several plantings and two train conductor-themed play areas for children. The parklet team held a grand opening celebration May 12, complete with free Eritrean food, drinks and jazz music. MLK Café is at 3860 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at 38th Street), Oakland. Connect with the cafe on Facebook.

The New Easy, at 3255 Lakeshore Ave. in Oakland, has closed. Photo: Google Maps
The New Easy, at 3255 Lakeshore Ave. in Oakland, has closed. Photo: Google Maps

THE NEW EASY HAS CLOSED The Lakeshore Avenue bar The New Easy has closed as of Feb. 10, according to the East Bay Times. A sign on the bar’s door reads: “Ten years ago, we opened Easy Lounge, the first ‘upscale’ stand-alone bar in Oakland. Looking back, we didn’t really know what that meant, but we knew even then that we wanted to be a place that served the neighborhood well by providing a high quality product in an unpretentious setting.” The bar’s owners told the East Bay Times that the time had come to sell: “Our staff has grown up, found significant others, had kids, pursued our dreams both in Oakland and elsewhere,” they said. “It’s time to let go of that final piece of the past in order to move forward.” Little details are known on the replacement business; an ABC license has been filed and withdrawn for a restaurant/bar called “Dan’s Locale on Lakeshore,” but Nosh was unable to reach the new owner as of press time. We will update you as we learn more.

Momo's San Francisco. Photo: Momo's/Facebook
Momo’s San Francisco. Photo: Momo’s/Facebook

MOMO’S EXPANDS TO WALNUT CREEK Giants fans have a new space to congregate. San Francisco’s MoMo’s, a restaurant ultra-popular for baseball watching, is opening a new location in Walnut Creek. According to Inside Scoop, the restaurant decided to forgo opening in Alameda County, which is filled with A’s fans, to look for a location that is friendlier towards the Giants. MoMo’s will be opening in a former sports bar, McCovey’s, that was named for Giant’s legend Willie McCovey. The MoMo’s team will likely miss the 2016 baseball season, but hopes to open before the year is out. MoMo’s Restaurant will be at 1444 North California Blvd. (at Bonanza Street), Walnut Creek. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Dinners and events…

Last year's Oakland Veg Fest. Photo: Oakland Veg Week/Facebook
Last year’s Oakland Veg Fest. Photo: Oakland Veg Week/Facebook

OAKLAND VEG WEEK BEGINS SUNDAY The week-long celebration of vegan food kicks off this Sunday in Fruitvale with “Domingo Delicioso.” Sunday’s event is focused on Latino social justice organizations and food vendors, including Taqueria la Venganza, Nucha Empanadas, Imperfect Produce and Nieves Cinco de Mayo. Other Veg Week events include “Tech Tuesday,” a panel discussion on new technologies designed to create a more sustainable, humane food system; a “Dining with Compassion” dinner on May 20 at Souley Vegan; and, of course, the Veg Fest celebration May 21 at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater. Saturday’s event features a huge lineup of vendors, plus talks from the likes of Kristie Middleton (Senior Food Policy Director at the Humane Society), Olympic athlete Seba Johnson and former Oakland Raider David Carter. Connect with Oakland Veg Week on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: FIVE Restaurant/Facebook
Photo: FIVE Restaurant/Facebook

CAL GRAD WEEK SPECIALS In celebration of the UC Berkeley graduations beginning May 14, downtown Berkeley’s FIVE will be serving a special menu of small bites and entrees. Special dishes include crispy duck flautas with black bean puree, Asian meatballs with Sriracha sauce, and three types of burgers — salmon, “all-American” and a “gourmet” burger made from house-ground New York strip steaks. FIVE is also extending its hours throughout grad week; it will be open from 1:30-5:30 p.m. in addition to its regular breakfast, lunch and dinner hours. FIVE is at 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

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