PAL’S FINDS HOME AT FORAGE KITCHEN, OPENING AUG. 29 That didn’t take long. Jeff Mason of Pal’s Takeaway has announced that he will be among the first chefs at Oakland’s Forage Kitchen, which is set to open Aug. 29. In addition to leasing kitchen space in the building, Mason will be the first resident chef in Forage Kitchen’s café. He will serve his menu of creative sandwiches and will be collaborating with Forage Kitchen owner Iso Rabins on rotisserie offerings and “other items,” according to a statement released by Forage Kitchen. While Forage Kitchen has said that the café residency is temporary, an article published this week in the San Francisco Chronicle implied that Pal’s may stick around for awhile. We’ve reached out to Mason for more details and will update this post as we learn more. As far as the rest of the Forage Kitchen space goes, Rabins hopes for the building to serve as a resource and incubator for chefs and home cooking enthusiasts to work side-by-side. Office space will also be available for tenants; according to the Chronicle piece, Oakland’s Food Craft Institute is moving in to take advantage of this mixed-use capability. This move is also in alignment with FCI’s mission to provide entrepreneurial education for food makers. “Increasing the accessibility and effectiveness of resources for our local food businesses is our top priority and we are thrilled to be part of this exciting ecosystem of vibrant enterprises,” said FCI director Ally DeArman in a statement. Forage Kitchen will be holding an open house for potential vendors and curious passers-by on Aug. 14 from 4-7 p.m. Forage Kitchen will be at 478 25th St. (between Broadway and Telegraph Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the kitchen on Twitter and Instagram. Connect with Pal’s Takeaway on Twitter.
LEMAT ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT NOW OPEN After years (yes, years), South Berkeley’s Lemat Ethiopian Restaurant and Café has opened as of the end of June. We first announced its pending arrival way back in September 2014, but the restaurant opening was delayed due to a variety of factors, according to co-owner Gezahegn Mengistu. These included securing the necessary city permits and acquiring furniture. The restaurant is named after the handwoven basket for serving injera, the sourdough flatbread used as a serving vessel and eating utensil for Ethiopian dishes. Several of the seating areas in the restaurant are situated around these lemats instead of tables. Lemat’s menu includes vegetarian, vegan and meat-based wots (stews) and tibs (grilled meats), kifto (Ethiopian steak tartare served with butter sauce), and Ethiopian coffee served as a part of a traditional coffee ceremony. Lemat Ethiopian Restaurant and Café is at 3212 Adeline St. (between Fairview and Harmon streets), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
RAMEN SHOP NOW DOING TAKEOUT Oakland’s Ramen Shop had long hinted at offering takeout options at its now-expanded Rockridge restaurant, and now the time has come. Eater SF had the scoop, reporting that the takeout menu does not actually include hot ramen. Instead, the menu includes dishes like “family” donburi bowls with toppings like rispy duck, pork tonkatsu, or tuna confit ($22.50); miso-butter glazed corn on the cob ($8.50); shellfish and pork dumplings with ponzu and chili oil ($13.50); and a chilled hiyashi chuka ramen with Albacore tuna confit and summer vegetables ($19.50). For now, interested customers can only make orders over the phone — owner Sam White told Eater that he may eventually add delivery via apps like Caviar. Takeout is available from 5-9 p.m. seven days a week. Ramen Shop is at 5812 College Ave. (at Birch Court), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
REEM’S LOOKING TO OPEN BRICK-AND-MORTAR Reem’s Traditional Arab Street Food, one of our favorite stands for farmers market foods, is planning to open a permanent location in Oakland’s Fruitvale district. Owner Reem Assil just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund construction on the restaurant, and is participating in an Open Table contest for aspiring restaurant owners. Her plan for the restaurant is a “welcoming, sunny space for people of all generations and backgrounds. … Our vision for Reem’s is to be like all loved Arab street corner bakeries — an anchor of the community creating good jobs for those who face barriers to employment, and providing delicious, nourishing food.” Its open kitchen will house traditional saj griddles, which Assil uses to cook her signature man’oushe flatbreads, and the restaurant will have both indoor and outdoor seating to take advantage of Fruitvale’s generally sunny weather. Connect with Reem’s Traditional Arab Street Food on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
GRAND LAKE’S KWIK WAY LIKELY TO BECOME APARTMENTS The iconic mid-century diner near the Grand Lake Theater doesn’t look like it will be much longer for this world. A five-story housing and retail development is now planned for the location, which, if the plans go through, means the Kwik Way building will be demolished. A restaurant space that includes patio seating is planned for the new building. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the original Kwik Way closed 12 years ago, and community members protested and eventually killed a few different plans to replace the drive-in with fast-food franchises such as McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. The original burger restaurant was revived in 2011 and closed in 2014. For the last year and a half, it has been leased to Merritt Bakery. While the Chronicle story says that there is near-unanimous support for the new development, the Splash Pad Park newsletter reports “decidedly mixed” feedback based on concerns about increased traffic, lack of parking and a lack of provisions for affordable units. We will keep you posted.
OFF THE GRID EMERYVILLE SHIFTING FOCUS The weekly lunchtime Off the Grid food truck pod at the Emeryville Public Market will be changing to a monthly event beginning Aug. 20. From then on, it will occur every third Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The monthly event will be larger in scale and will include a wider variety of food trucks, curated live music performances, children’s activities and community partnerships. According to a statement from the organization, this shift will allow Off the Grid “to dedicate more time and resources to curate an enhanced guest experience with a complete festival atmosphere.” The final smaller-scale iteration of the Emeryville Off the Grid event will take place Aug. 13. Connect with Off the Grid on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
SWEET MARIA’S IS MOVING Purchasers of green coffee beans and all manner of coffee making supplies take note — West Oakland’s green coffee emporium and coffee educator Sweet Maria’s is moving to a larger warehouse space at 28th and Adeline streets. Much of the construction on the new space is almost finished, and the coffee company plans to close Aug. 22 to 29 to finish up the move. Sweet Maria’s will be closed for walk-ins and pick-ups at that time, and will not be shipping orders that week. The owners plan to host a warehouse-warming party later in the fall. Connect with Sweet Maria’s on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
CALICRAFT OPENS TAPROOM IN WALNUT CREEK The East Bay brewery has been making its beers in Walnut Creek since 2012, but it is only as of this week that the space is open to the public. Eater SF reports that the Calicraft Taproom has 12 taps, 2,000 square feet of kid-friendly bar space and an outdoor beer garden. Three of the beers on available are brewery only, and these, such last the “Barrel Project Zinfandel Sour,” highlight Calicraft’s commitment to using California-grown ingredients. Growler fills, brewery merchandise and bottles are for sale at the taproom. For now, it is open Wed-Sun from 12-6 p.m. Calicraft Brewery Taproom is at 2700 Mitchell St. (at N. Widget Lane), Walnut Creek. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
TIDBITS: ACME BAR’S PATIO, SIEM REAP SANDWICHES Although the Berkeley City Council voted last fall to allow Acme Bar & Company to expand its operations to include a backyard patio, the outdoor space has now just recently opened. A few petitions from neighbors slowed down the process, according to one of Acme’s bartenders. It is currently only open until 9:30 p.m. in order to minimize neighborhood disturbances. Acme is also hosting guests from various beer, wine and spirits companies every Saturday for tastings on the patio. In East Oakland, a new banh mi sandwich shop has opened in the original location of Banh Mi Ba Le at 1500 International Blvd., according to a poster on Hungry Onion. The shop, Siem Reap, has a short menu of four sandwiches and a few smoothies, and has so far received positive reviews. Acme Bar is at 2115 San Pablo Ave. (at Addison Street), Berkeley. Connect with the bar on Facebook and Twitter. Siem Reap Sandwich Shop is at 1500 International Blvd. (at 15th Avenue), Oakland.
Dinners and events
CALAVERA VS. DRAKE’S ‘KNIFE FIGHT’ In celebration of both restaurants’ one year anniversaries, Calavera and Drake’s Dealership will be holding a “knife fight” cook-off at Hive Oakland this Sunday. Each team will prepare five dishes which each include a secret special ingredient. Guests can sample all 10 dishes and will vote to choose a winner for each course as well as a “Best Overall Dish” award. A $20 ticket includes tastes of all of the dishes. Beer, wine and cocktails from Mt. Gay Rum are separate. A portion of all of the event proceeds will go to Serenity House in West Oakland. “It will be a day of Oaktown love and entertainment, and of course the focus, 10 incredible dishes created by the chefs pitted against one another, vying for the title of champion,” according to the Eventbrite page. The celebration will run from 1-6 p.m. Purchase tickets here. The Hive is at 2335 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with Calavera on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Connect with Drake’s Dealership on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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