A CHEESY FAREWELL The Southside Berkeley location of grilled cheese restaurant The Melt has closed. A sign posted on the door said that the restaurant has been sold and The Melt is currently searching for a new location in the East Bay. The Melt opened at 2400 Telegraph Ave. in 2012 as the fifth branch of the Bay Area chain. There are now a total of 10 Melt restaurants in Northern and Southern California, with two existing spots in San Francisco and another on the way at 455 Market St.
365 DAYS OF PIZZA Gio’s Pizza & Bocce is throwing a special contest in honor of Pizza Lovers Month in Berkeley. From now until the end of February, customers who purchase a pizza, a calzone or house cocktail will get a raffle ticket for each. On Feb. 28 at 7 p.m., Gio’s will draw two winners for the prize of a free pizza per week for an entire year. If the two winners are present during the live drawing, they’ll each receive a bonus prize of one $100 gift card. And if that’s not enough pizza for you, Gio’s has a limited-time offer of 2-for-1-pizza and calzone every day before 6 p.m. That’s amoré! Gio’s Pizza & Bocce, 2420 Shattuck Ave. (between Haste and Channing), Berkeley
CAFFE MED SPACE UPDATE Berkeleyside contributor Ted Friedman sent us a photo taken inside the old Caffe Mediterraneum space, which will soon become a restaurant called Boileroom. As seen in the photo, an actual boiler exists in the space. (The red lights are from a paramedic van that was outside when the photo was taken.) In January, The Daily Cal reported the identity of the new restaurant but had few details about what’s to come inside. Friedman, who spoke with the building owner on site, was told that Boileroom would be a Chinese restaurant that also served ice cream. For now, Boileroom has a website and Facebook page with a logo, but no other information. Caffe Med was a beloved 60-year-old Berkeley institution that closed in November 2016 after longtime owner Craig Becker transferred the lease to the new ownership. We’ll have more details on Nosh as we get them. Boileroom will be at 2475 Telegraph Ave. (between Dwight and Haste), Berkeley
SAME PLACE, NEW OWNERS Downtown Berkeley taqueria El Burro Picante was sold to new owners, brother and sister Cal and Fallon Kepner. The restaurant was briefly closed for renovation but reopened last week, when the sale finalized. The Kepners are East Bay natives who currently live in Fremont, but Cal Kepner told Nosh his dad grew up in Berkeley and the siblings have fond memories of visiting the area. Neither have owned a restaurant before, but have worked in the food industry for many years. Kepner said that they have retained the same staff and are keeping 90% of the old menu, but with a focus on fresh produce and high-quality meats, as well as few new offerings, including new vegan (falafel) and meat (shrimp and chorizo) options. For night owls looking for late-night bites, El Burro Picante’s hours are worth noting: It is open 11 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday; noon to 9 p.m., Sunday. El Burro Picante, 2021 University Ave. (near Milvia), Berkeley
GROWING A LEGACY In celebration of Black History Month, two Oakland urban farming groups Pollinate Farm & Garden and Farms to Grow, Inc. will host a film event dedicated to black farming. The second annual “Black Hands in the Soil” program takes place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23, and will feature a screening of Angel Serrano and Alvaro Toepke’s documentary “The Language You Cry In” and several short films that look at the legacy of black farming in the United States and United Kingdom. Tickets are $5-25, sliding scale. The program will take place in Oakland, but the location of event will be given upon ticket purchase.
FLAME ON Los Angeles pastry chef Vanessa Parish wants to bring a little fire to your dessert experience. The former host of Buzzfeed’s “Tasting Our Roots” is popping up at AlaMar Kitchen and Bar in Oakland from 7 to 10 p.m. on Feb. 12. At TORCH, Parish will offer a variety of desserts and customizable toppings that will turn all ooey and gooey after they’re kissed with fire by “torch techs.” One treat you’ll find at TORCH is the Not Your Scout’s Campout, a s’mores-like treat made with a fudge brownie topped with a Kahlua ganache and butterscotch chips. Tickets are $15. AlaMar Kitchen and Bar, 100 Grand Ave. (between Webster and Valdez), Oakland
DUENDE TURNS 5 Over in Uptown Oakland, Paul Canales’s modern Spanish restaurant Duende is about to celebrate its fifth anniversary. Of course, a party is in order. On Sunday, Feb. 11, from 6-9 p.m., guests will commemorate year five with special spread of food and drinks made just for the occasion. The menu will include Tortilla Español with allioli, montaditos made with pork rillettes, duck liver pâté, morcilla de calabazas and spicy albacore, spicy pork skewers, patatas bravas, fried oysters, a spicy fried chicken sandwich, paella, jamón and desserts. To drink, there’ll be Spanish punches, cocktails, beer, wine and cava. Tickets are $35 and include food (drinks are extra). Duende, 468 19th St. (at Telegraph), Oakland
BEAN THERE Longtime neighborhood coffee shop and hangout for writerly folk, The Beanery in the Elmwood (at 2925 College Ave.), is closing this week. Its last day will be Thursday, Feb. 8. Owner Fima Navaie told Nosh that after almost 18 years in business, she and her husband have decided to sell the Berkeley café; the ownership will transfer on Friday to local gourmet salad restaurant, Organic Greens, which has another location on Kittredge in Berkeley. The couple will concentrate on their San Francisco Beanery stores and possibly grow their wholesale business. Speaking of which, they will be supplying Beanery coffee and tea to Organic Greens. Navaie said she has asked the new owners to employ as many of the Beanery staff as possible, however, the new buyer is still in the process of interviewing employees. For those who have coffee cards to cash out from this Beanery location, better go spend them today and tomorrow, or else you’ll have to trek out to San Francisco to get your free coffee.
NOAH’S, THE CONCEPT If you’ve been by Temescal Plaza lately, you may have noticed a big change to the building that formerly housed neighborhood favorite, Genova Delicatessen. A big blue change. As Nosh reported in October, bagel chain Noah’s NY Bagels claimed the space and recently painted the 2,300-square-foot store its signature dark blue hue. The location softly opened on Feb. 1. Calling the Temescal Noah’s a “concept store,” the brand says it is an example of what’s to come for future Noah’s in California. The company plans to open 25-30 new bagel shops across the state in the next five years. So what’s the concept? This Noah’s location will have a more contemporary look, with stainless steel and wood finishes. There’s a large dining area inside with different arrangements of seating for various types of guests. Another new design feature is a “baking theatre,” where guests can watch bakers making bagels for the store. Finally, this new Noah’s has a new beverage program, with a dedicated barista making drinks. The craft tea bar will serve cold-brew green, black and nitro, kombucha and tea lattes; the coffee will be sourced from Peet’s. The new store will host a grand opening event starting at 9 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 10. Noah’s, 5095 Telegraph Ave. (between 51st and 49th), Oakland
NO SEASONS Yesterday, the E’ville Eye reported that Portland-based grocery chain New Seasons has officially pulled out of the Emeryville project at the Public Market. Last month, suspicion was high that New Seasons would abandon the location after putting an indefinite hold on its opening, and after pulling the plug on its Hayes Valley location in San Francisco. The San Francisco Business Times printed a leaked email that revealed reasons for the hold: “increased construction and operating costs in addition to lower and slower sales in our NSM NorCal stores.” New Seasons released a statement on Feb. 6 that confirmed that the company will not open its planned stores in San Francisco, Carmel or Emeryville, and that it would close its Sunnyvale location, which just opened in August 2017. For now, New Seasons has not announced whether it will sell or lease the Emeryville space.