AGAVE UPTOWN NOW OPEN Uptown Oakland’s second Oaxacan restaurant officially opened on Wednesday. Agave Uptown is the second restaurant for chef Octavio Diaz, who opened the original Agave in Healdsburg in 2010. Arcsine-designed Agave Uptown focuses on “farm-raised ingredients and handmade cooking … [and will] draw from the artisanal tradition of Oaxaca,” according to a statement. Its menu highlights mole, plus other traditional dishes like molotes (empanadas made with masa), cecina (pork in adobo), and several tacos. Most notably, the new restaurant is working in alignment with the Kapor Center for Social Impact in which it is located. Diaz wants the restaurant to serve as an incubator for underrepresented communities with interest in the culinary field. He plans to partner with nearby schools and colleges to provide internships. Agave Uptown is at 2135 Franklin St. (at 22nd Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
EVEN MORE BUBBLE TEA TO BERKELEY A new branch of San Francisco-based Plentea looks headed to the Telegraph-Channing Mall at 2430 Durant Ave. Plentea opened its first location in 2014 and made a name for itself by offering its signature Taiwanese teas in reusable glass bottles instead of the more common plastic cups. In addition to a wide array of teas and toppings, Plentea also serves a few food items: rice bowls with either barbecued eel or stewed beef, octopus balls, salads with smoked salmon or turkey, Belgian waffles, and assorted cakes. We will keep you posted once we learn of its opening date. Plentea will be at 2430 Durant Ave. (at Telegraph Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the tea shop on Facebook and Twitter.
NELLIE’S SOULFOOD IN OAKLAND CLOSES After 50 years in the biz, Nellie’s Soulfood, one of Oakland’s oldest soul food restaurants, has closed as of June 30. Nellie’s has been serving up Southern comfort food like oxtail, smothered chicken and Cajun spaghetti to a diverse clientele in West Oakland since the 1960s. The East Bay Express had the scoop, reporting that its 84-year-old owner Nellie Ozen and her daughter had decided to retire. However, Inside Scoop updated the story later this week with the news that Ozen has decided to look for a new, smaller location for the restaurant, and is just using this time to “rest awhile.” She told the Scoop that she hopes to open up by the winter holidays. Nellie’s Soulfood joins Dorsey’s Locker and Art’s Crab Shak in a growing list of old-school African American-owned restaurants that have closed over the last year. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about Ozen’s new restaurant.
CREEKWOOD UPDATE We last checked in with Creekwood, the long-awaited South Berkeley breakfast and lunch restaurant under construction on Sacramento Street, last spring. At that time, co-owner Greg Poulios told Nosh he hoped to begin construction soon. That work has continued to stall, but it now looks like Creekwood is on its way to being finished. Poulios told Nosh this week that he has had setbacks with the foundation and exterior, but he hopes to be finished with construction by November. Initially, Creekwood will only be open in the daytime, but Poulios and co-owner Mark Louie will add dinner if all goes well. The menu will emphasize egg dishes and “a lot of baked goods” made in-house (including doughnuts). Vegan and gluten-free items are planned. Lunch could include salads, handmade pasta, fish and grilled meat. Don’t expect burgers — a specialty of Moxy across the street — but there will be beer and wine. An open kitchen and counter seating will promote interaction between customers and staff. Creekwood will be at 3121 Sacramento St. (at Woolsey Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
BURMA BEAR TAKES OVER BUMA’S SPOT Back in January, we reported on the closure of Buma’s Pizzeria, which shut its doors after owner Jon Kororek decided he could no longer make the commute from his home in Napa to Oakland. Now we know of its replacement — the second location of San Francisco-based Buma Bear, which opened in May. Inside Scoop reports that the American barbecue and Burmese take-out restaurant is currently open for lunch at 325 19th St. in Uptown. The restaurant’s menu includes two takes on tea leaf salad (one with kale), baby back ribs with biryani rice, Burmese chicken curry and Hawaiian-style pulled pork. Burma Bear started as an underground dining operation before opening a brick-and-mortar spot in San Francisco’s Second Act Marketplace. Burma Bear is at 325 19th St. (between Webster and Harrison streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
REPLACEMENT FOR THAI NOODLE OPENS TODAY In June, we reported that Shattuck Avenue’s Thai Noodle had closed, but had not yet heard of its replacement. Now, we’ve learned from two tipsters that a new restaurant called The Noodle Company is opening in its place today. Yelp diners report that the new restaurant is simply a re-boot of Thai Noodle, so we expect the new joint to serve a similar menu of Thai-style noodle and rice bowls. The Noodle Company is at 1936 Shattuck Ave. (between Berkeley Way and Hearst Avenue), Berkeley.
ANNA’S PLACE TRANSFORMS INTO GANGNAM TOFU El Cerrito’s Korean restaurant and diner Anna’s Place closed in April despite what seemed to be a loyal local following. It has now re-opened at Gangnam Tofu. According to a note posted on Anna’s door earlier this spring, and confirmed through an ABC license record, the new restaurant has the same owners as before, but now has a totally Korean-centric menu. Out went the omelets and pancakes, in has come an extensive array of Korean fried chicken, tofu stews, barbecue and bi bim bap. Early reports on Hungry Onion and Yelp have been highly positive, calling the tofu stews “fantastic” and “awesome.” Gangnam Tofu is at 11740 San Pablo Ave. Ste. C (at Knott Avenue), El Cerrito.
Dinners and events
A BUSY FIRST FRIDAY AT THE HIVE Oakland’s First Friday event will be particularly eventful at The Hive tonight, with two events planned for the space. Red Bay Coffee will be holding a grand opening party for its Coffee Box, which started serving last week. Its party will run from 5-8 p.m., and it will feature “special treat” that “doesn’t fit in a coffee cup.” Next door, the Bay Area Restaurant Worker’s Movement (BARWM) will be holding a rally against Calavera, against which employees associated with BARWM have filed suit for wage theft. There will likely also be plenty of Calavera supporters at the rally; the BARWM suit has set off a flurry of praise for the restaurant and its employment practices. The Hive is at 2327 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland.