NOAH’S BAGELS The very first location of Noah’s New York Bagels at 3170 College Avenue is now closed. Berkeley resident Noah Alper opened the bagel shop in 1989 on the Oakland/Berkeley border as a kosher shop, with little idea that it would turn into a West Coast bagel empire — in fact, at the time, there weren’t any bagel shops in the area at all. From that first store on College Avenue, Noah’s grew to 38 stores, including more than a dozen in the Bay Area and others from Seattle to Los Angeles, before Alper sold the chain to Einstein Bros. Bagels for $100 million in 1996. Noah’s has two remaining Berkeley locations, at 1883 Solano Avenue and 2344 Telegraph Avenue.
NORIKONOKO The 23-year-old homey Japanese restaurant, Norikonoko, closed its sliding doors for the last time on Nov. 19. Co-owners Noriko and Takumi Taniguchi decided to close their business before Dec. 31, 2019, when they were told by their landlord that they’d need to vacate the building, which will become an eight-story mixed-use building. Read more about the special restaurant that once was.
TOWNIE Many locals loved Townie, and many were saddened and shocked when the restaurant, which was located at 1799 University Ave., suddenly closed on Nov. 2. Townie was open for three years; it opened in July 2014.
TROY As Nosh reported earlier this month, Troy Greek Cuisine at 2985 College Avenue closed on Nov. 15. The restaurant decided to close the Elmwood location, but keep its sister location in Berkeley at 1843 Solano Ave. open. It also has locations in Alameda and San Francisco.
CAFÉ UMAMI In Oakland’s Dimond neighborhood, a new spot called Café Umami opened this month. It specializes in Asian-influenced fare in the form of toasts and grain bowls that are topped with miso-brown butter, ginger tahini sauce, katsuobushi (shaved bonito flakes), kimchi, nori-gomasio, burdock root or more standard toppings like avocado or sauteed mushrooms and spinach. There’s also bone broth served with brown rice and kimchi (or just plain bone broth to sip like a drink). If none of that’s up your alley, the café has granola and yogurt, chia seed pudding and a couple of poached egg dishes, too. As for beverages, Café Umami serves coffee drinks, chai, matcha, goldenmilk, an herbal latte and a spicy hot chocolate. Café Umami, 2224 MacArthur Blvd. (between May and Fruitvale), Oakland
DIMOND SLICE PIZZA Dimond residents have another reason to cheer, especially those who love Cheese Board’s pizza. An old McDonald’s was converted into a new pizza spot called Dimond Slice Pizza, and according to the East Bay Express, it was opened by Cheese Board alumni, Artemio Maldonado and Dwight Ferron. Like its alma mater, Dimond Slice serves a pizza of the day (always vegetarian) on a sourdough crust, by the slice, half or whole pie, which you can enjoy with a zesty, herby green dipping sauce. It also has a salad of the day. Unlike Cheese Board, you can also order chips with salsa or guacamole. Dimond Slice Pizza, 2208 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
THE GRIND ON MARKET ST. A small neighborhood sandwich shop and café opened this month on Market Street in the Santa Fe neighborhood of North Oakland. Found on the same block as Tamaleria Azteca, The Grind on Market St. is owned and run by a husband and wife team. Here, you’ll find hot and cold sandwiches, salads, breakfast burritos, pastries, cupcakes and coffee drinks — all at affordable prices (no menu item is over $7). Their two best-selling sandwiches are the hot pastrami and chicken and bacon sandwich, which are both pressed on a panini grill. Dessert-makers Marley’s Treats were the former tenants of this space, and although they’ve moved on, you can still get their cupcakes at The Grind. The Grind on Market St., 5755 Market St. (between Arlington and 58th), Oakland
HASTA MUERTE COFFEE Nosh first reported in January that a new Latinx, worker-owned coffee shop, radical bookstore and community space was heading to Fruitvale. This month, it opened. Hasta Muerte Coffee serves coffee and snacks made using organic ingredients. In the bookstore, it offers books, zines and other merchandise that, according to its initial Kickstarter page, would “highlight the spirit and social fabric that makes Oakland so radiant.” The East Bay Express reported that the pricing at Hasta Muerte will be lower than your standard third-wave coffee shop, with an 8-oz cup of coffee costing $1.60 and the most expensive item, an empanada, topping out at $5.50. Hasta Muerte will eventually host events like workshops, art shows and film screenings, too. Hasta Muerte Coffee, 2701 Fruitvale Ave. (at 27th Street), Oakland
THE KON-TIKI Downtown Oakland’s newest tiki bar is found within the sea-green art deco building that formerly housed Longitude tiki bar. Owners Christ Aivaliotis and Matthew Reagan went all out in creating this uber kitschy tiki paradise, with unapologetic amounts of fake foliage and tiki-style art, but also strong tropical drinks made with real fruit juices and house-made syrups, and island-inspired food that can hold its own. Reagan claims the Kon-Tiki’s cheeseburger — a beef patty topped with Kewpie mayo, pineapple onion jam and griddled Spam on a sesame seed bun — is the best you’ll find in Oakland; it’s also the only one you’ll find being served in the area past 10 p.m. Read more and see photos from our recent visit to The Kon-Tiki. The Kon-Tiki, 347 14th St. (at Webster), Oakland
MAMA’S ROYAL CAFÉ Loyal customers of 43-year-old Mama’s Royal Café in North Oakland were sweating bullets when they saw brown paper covering the windows since mid-October. Owner George Marino had announced in July he was selling the restaurant. Mama’s is well-known and beloved for its breakfast, its eclectic and vintage decor and its even more eclectic and artsy staff and clientele. On Nov. 20, the café reopened under new ownership. It’s now co-owned by Houshi and Soroush Ghaderi, the family who also runs The Vault in Berkeley. Nosh spoke with Soroush Ghaderi, who is planning to keep the menu, decor and staff just as the former owner did, however there were some changes to the kitchen and front counter. Read more on Nosh about the new iteration of the Oakland institution. Mama’s Royal Café, 4012 Broadway (at 40th St.), in Oakland
THE PAIN SHOP As we reported last week on Bites, a new bread shop opened in the former Doughnut Dolly space in Temescal Alley called The Pain Shop. As some Berkeleyside readers noted, this isn’t a store specializing in S&M gear, but a bread shop — “pain” in French means bread. The bread in question is baked by Pain Bakery. While Pain’s breads are currently made in a shared kitchen in San Mateo, both owner-baker David Surcamp and shop manager Meagan Ranes live in Oakland. Ranes told Nosh that they are currently looking for their own kitchen, ideally somewhere in the East Bay.
At The Pain Shop, you’ll find large, crusty rounds of bread and squat, oblong baguettes lining a bread-case near the counter — all baked fresh that day. When we visited yesterday, the shop was selling the following varieties of loaves: country, oat porridge, walnut, sesame, whole wheat ($9-$9.75 for whole; $5 for half loaves and baguettes). All varieties are naturally leavened. We tried the baguette, which had a wonderfully crusty exterior; a fluffy, light and chewy interior riddled with large air holes and a slightly tangy, sour flavor — all signs that the proper care and time was put into this loaf of bread. We’ll definitely be back to try the others.
All Pain Shop’s breads are vegan, as Ranes explained that both she and Surcamp are vegan. The shop eventually plans to serve vegan sandwiches during lunch, which will include a banh mi, torta, Philly cheesesteak, sloppy joe and sweet banana chocolate dessert sandwich. Ranes said she hopes to be serving sandwiches before the end of the year, when they’ve hired more staff. The Pain Shop is open from noon to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. The Pain Shop, 482B 49th St. in Temescal Alley, Oakland
WOODEN TABLE CAFÉ Alfajores, Argentinian shortbread cookies, are the specialty of this new Downtown Oakland café, owned by Andreas Ozzuna (owner of Wooden Table Baking Co.) and her wife, Citabria Ozzuna. The café offers traditional dulce de leche alfajores along with specialty flavors, like chocolate, pumpkin and lemon ginger. It also serves other Argentinian conitos (a mound-shaped sweet, made with cookies, dulche de leche and chocolate), bon bons, espresso and yerba mate. Although sweets are the focus here, there are also a good selection of savory empanadas on the menu — both meaty and vegetarian. Wooden Table Café, 2300 Broadway (at 23rd), Oakland
BOSS KAT KITCHEN This Temescal BBQ joint was only open for four months before it shuttered. Found at 4920 Telegraph Ave. in the space where the old Mixing Bowl Café once was, Boss Kat had very mixed reviews on Yelp during the time it was open, including several complaints that it was inconsistent in quality and not open during the hours it was supposed to be. We’ll keep you abreast of what opens next in the space.
PACIFIC COAST BREWING COMPANY As Nosh reported back in September, Oakland’s 29-year-old brewery, Pacific Coast Brewing Company in Old Oakland closed this month. The brewery announced on Sept. 21 that it was closing “due to the uncertainty of our current lease, and the rapid changes coursing through the Bay Area’s restaurant industry.” However, Pacific Coast’s website has this hopeful message for fans: “While our time has ended at our Old Oakland location, please keep your eyes posted on this page for any updates that may give you a sneak peek at our future!”
FOOD HANDLERS CAFÉ Yelp lists Food Handlers Café as “food safety training” business, but it’s also an affordable Southern soul food restaurant. The East Bay Express recently wrote about the unique new business, opened by chef Rauch Grant, which is both eatery and classroom, where restaurant workers learn to safely handle and serve food by actually doing it in a real-life setting. Food Handlers Café, 1260 Rumrill Blvd. (at Regina), San Pablo
OAKTOWN SPICE SHOP Back in May, we first talked to Oaktown Spice Shop co-owner Erica Perez about the shop’s impending expansion into Albany. The Albany Oaktown Spice Shop opened this month in the space where Five Little Monkeys toy shop was before it moved down the street. It has a very similar look to its Grand Avenue space. Like its sister location, it also has a spice blending and grinding area in the back. Perez told Nosh that the new location will mostly replicate its sister shop, but it may offer different, locally made goods, like chocolates, candies and hot sauces, that are more targeted at its Berkeley and North Bay customers. Oaktown Spice Shop, 1224 Solano Ave. (between Talbot and Evelyn), Albany
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