CHLOE CAFÉ Taking over the quaint stone cottage building in downtown Berkeley that once housed the Rainbow Ranch Café is a new restaurant called Chloe Café. The business is run by a husband (Caesar) and wife (Chloe), who took over the former breakfast and sandwich shop. Chloe Café offers a few of Rainbow Ranch’s sandwiches, but the dishes I was most interested to try are the Taiwanese dishes. Before opening this restaurant, Caesar was a chef at the San Francisco branch of upscale Chinese restaurant chain, Hakkasan.
On a recent visit, I tried the Taiwanese minced pork over rice, a dish made with ground pork braised in a sweet and savory soy sauce. It’s served simply with steamed broccoli, a boiled tea egg and some sliced tomatoes. I really enjoyed the pork, which had a nice five-spice flavor, and was comforting and hearty like a home-cooked meal. And, it was a great deal at $10.
Other specialties at Chloe are some Japanese rice and noodle dishes, honey chicken wings, curry fish ball and tea eggs. Chloe Café just amended its menu, offering medium and large sizes for each of its bentos and soups. It’s also now offering a limited supply of Chinese pastries from Wonder Food Bakery in Oakland and other Bay Area Chinese bakeries. There is limited seating inside, but there are several tables on the patio. Chloe Café, 2080 Martin Luther King Jr Way (at Addison), Berkeley
LA COCINA’S CANTINA San Francisco food incubator La Cocina is back at the ASUC Student Union after a successful run as a one-month pop-up last year. Featuring five businesses owned by women and people of color, La Cocina’s Cantina line-up includes Old Damascus Fare, A Girl Named Pinky, Noodle Girl, Pink & Reds, and El Mesón de Violeta. So far, we’ve enjoyed a fresh fruit tart at A Girl Named Pinky, crispy imperial rolls from Noodle Girl, and a smoky Arab rice dish, beef mandi, from Old Damascus Fare. Fortunately, the vendors will be at Cal for at least two semesters, so there should be plenty of time to hit them all up. La Cocina’s Cantina, ASUC Student Union, UC Berkeley, 2495 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
1951 COFFEE COMPANY Also at the ASUC Student Union is a new café from Berkeley non-profit café 1951 Coffee Company, which is best known for its program to train and employ refugees and asylees. As with its flagship location on Channing Street, the student union café features educational elements for customers to learn more about refugee resettlement as they sip their drinks. 1951 Coffee Company, ASUC Student Union, UC Berkeley, 2495 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
PALM AÇAÍ CAFÉ The Elmwood neighborhood got a new spot specializing in açaí. Palm is owned by Oakland residents Ami McCartt and Chris Alcantar, who decided to open their business in Berkeley because of its “health-conscious and active residents” who may be drawn to their offerings. Along with a variety of bowls made with the Brazilian superfruit, pitaya (aka dragonfruit) and matcha, Palm serves sweet and savory toasts, smoothies, cold brew coffee, assorted teas and Whalebird kombucha on draft. Palm Açaí Café, 2979 College Ave. (between Ashby and Webster), Berkeley
RUSH BOWLS This Colorado-based açaí bowl chain opened its first California location in Berkeley. Rush Bowls offers fresh fruit with frozen yogurt or açaí topped with granola and honey, as well as smoothies. Rush Bowls, 1935 Addison St. (between Milvia and MLK), Berkeley
UME DESSERTS Berkeley’s first Hong Kong-style dessert café opened in Sather Lane. Here, you’ll find puddings, soups, jellies and glutinous treats pre-packaged in disposable wares and placed in display cases. If you’re not already familiar with ingredients like sago, grass jelly and durian, a visit to UME might be a little challenging, especially since labels are written in Chinese. (There’s no shame in asking questions, or better yet, just try something new.) On our visit, UME offered mango pomelo sago sweet soup, durian pancakes, purple glutinous rice pudding, snow fungus soup and many other Hong Kong sweets. UME Desserts, Sather Lane, 2433 Durant Ave. (between Telegraph and Dana), Ste. D, Berkeley
44 RESTAURANT BAR & LOUNGE After four years at 3290 Adeline St., 44 Restaurant Bar & Lounge closed this month. Mark Jones and Ramone Smith opened this Southern food restaurant in 2014, moving from a smaller location in Hercules to the 4,000-square-foot space in Berkeley, where they served soul food like catfish sliders, gumbo, and shrimp and grits. The spot also hosted music and dancing and was a place for locals to watch games over drinks.
GUACAMOLE 61 The Center Street location at of Guacamole 61 (2142 Center St.) closed this week. Nosh has attempted to get in touch with the restaurant since learning that a Chinese restaurant would be taking over the space. Guacamole 61’s Gourmet Ghetto location (1154 Shattuck Ave.) in the Epicurious Garden remains open.
NINE THAI EATERY West Berkeley’s Nine Thai Eatery (1269 University Ave.) quietly closed this month, and shortly after it vacated the space, signage for Oakland’s Pyeongchang Tofu House has gone up. Pyeongchang, a nearly 20-year-old Korean restaurant that specializes in hot bubbling soondubu (soft tofu soup), has its first location on Telegraph Avenue in Temescal. At this time, we do not know why Nine Thai closed so abruptly, but a representative for Pyeongchang said the restaurant aims to open in late September or early October after a renovation of the space.
TOYO JAPANESE RESTAURANT We just got word that this Gourmet Ghetto Japanese restaurant (1463 Shattuck Ave.) quietly closed more than a month ago. Signage for a new izakaya called Ijo have gone up.
THE ALICE COLLECTIVE A new mixed-use community space called the Alice Collective opened on Aug. 16, in what was once the Holmes Book Company in Downtown Oakland. Restaurateur Ted Wilson, who created The Hall food court in San Francisco, is behind this venture. Upstairs, there’s a café open on weekdays for breakfast and lunch, offering Red Bay Coffee, baked goods from Oak & Fig Baking, sandwiches and salads developed by chef Christine Wells, as well as wine, beer and cocktails. Downstairs, there’s a commissary kitchen for various emerging and established food businesses, including Wilson and Wells’ catering company Metal & Match. As for the community angle, the space is available to the public to rent for events during evening hours The Alice Collective is hosting a free opening celebration on Sept. 5 with bites and drinks from Metal & Watch, Red Bay and Oak and Fig. The Alice Collective, 272 14th St. (at Harrison), Oakland
BLUE NILE ETHIOPIAN This Lakeside Ethiopian restaurant squeaked past our notice when it opened at the end of July, so we’re adding to this month’s list. Blue Nile offers a variety of Ethiopian vegetarian and meat dishes, including simmered stews like chicken, beef, lamb or fish tibs; raw or rare meat dishes like siga dulet, tera siga (served on Saturday and Sunday only) and kitfo (Blue Nile also serves it lightly cooked if requested); and a selection of vegan dishes of Ethiopian veg favorites, like red lentils, yellow split peas, collard greens and mushroom tibs. Blue Nile opens at 9:30 a.m. daily and offers an Ethiopian breakfast menu. Blue Nile Ethiopian, 160 14th St. (between Madison and Jackson), Oakland
ED’S CHEESESTEAK Those looking for a cheap, filling meal near City Hall might want to head over to Ed’s Cheesesteak, a new sandwich shop in the space formerly occupied by Lady Esther’s. The menu here features a small selection of breakfast items, five types of cheesesteaks (including shrimp and vegetarian versions) and four burgers. All menu items are under $10, with many sandwiches priced at $5.99. Ed’s Cheesesteak, 300 Frank H. Ogawa, Ste 150, Oakland
THE FOOD FOUNDRY Oakland’s Dimond neighborhood has a new take-out and catering option. The Food Foundry offers a menu of “homemade Korean and Asian fusion” dishes, like japchae (stir-fried Korean glass noodles) and kalbi (Korean marinated short ribs), fried chicken, baked pork ribs, salads and more. But don’t expect to sit down for a meal here. The Food Foundry offers to-go orders only, as it’s located in a shared commercial kitchen without a dining area. The Food Foundry, 2818 MacArthur Blvd. (between Georgia and Coolidge), Oakland
MAYA HALAL TAQUERIA This new taqueria in Downtown Oakland has taken over the space after the closure of Taqueria La Chata. According to Hoodline, the same staff from La Chata is still employed here. What’s different is the meats here are halal, and in accordance with Muslim dietary law, the restaurant no longer offers pork on its menu. Maya Hala Taqueria, 346 14th St. (between Webster and Harrison), Oakland
LE PHO Berkeley Vietnamese restaurant Le Pho has added a second location in Uptown Oakland this month, taking over the Old Brooklyn Café & Bakery right after it closed. The menu here is smaller and more focused on “greatest hits” accessible fare, what it calls “Vietnamese modern street food,” which includes beef, chicken, shrimp and vegetarian pho, vermicelli salad bowls, and fresh spring rolls and fried imperial rolls (In comparison, the original San Pablo Avenue restaurant offers more than 80 dishes). There’s also a “build your own rice bowl” option, that seems to be banking on the “build your own” bowl trend. Le Pho, 2228 Broadway (between 23rd and Franklin), Oakland
ROYALTEA USA This Chinatown boba café is found in the former New Tin’s Supermarket space. Royaltea offers milk teas, fruit teas, lemon teas and matcha drinks, but is best known for its cheese mousse (salted cheese drinks) and puff cream (drinks with a layer of custard-cream) teas. This is Royaltea’s second location in the East Bay joining another branch in Fremont. Royaltea USA, 702 Webster St. (between 7th and 8th), Oakland
2ND HALF SPORTS LOUNGE Temescal’s newest sports bar opened in the former Urbano Latino space on Telegraph Avenue. As reported by the East Bay Express, 2nd Half comes from Erika and James Dailey, who also own HalfTime Sports Bar in Downtown Oakland. 2nd Half offers its own food menu of hearty Southern fare (like fish and chips, gumbo, mac ‘n’ cheese), but on Sundays (1-10 p.m.) and Mondays (5-10 p.m.), Oakland’s Smokin’ Woods BBQ is on site with a menu of Texas-style barbecue cooked with fragrant cherry and oak wood. James Woodard’s smoked meats wer recently included on Food & Wine’s list of the best BBQ restaurants in the country. 2nd Half Sports Lounge, 4307 Telegraph Ave. (between 43rd and 44th), Oakland
7TH WEST A new community space opened in West Oakland featuring Filipino eats from Jeepney Guy, an indoor bar serving Filipino-inspired cocktails, an outdoor beer garden with Oakland beers and an event space, which will host art shows, live music, dance nights and more. Dog owners will want to note that it’s pet-friendly. The founders are all local business owners with prior experience running venues in the Oakland — Donna Brinkman and Kevin Pelgone are partners at Oakland’s Overlook Lounge and Pancho Kachingwe is a co-owner of Hatch. 7th West, 1255 Seventh St. (at Union), Oakland
THE WELL After this Temescal wellness café closed at the end of 2017, its founder Marielle Amrhein eventually decided to sell the business to Anwen Cai Baumeister. The Well reopened on Aug. 1 and in its newest incarnation, the café continues to focus on herbal drinks and food, but with new additions, like a Chinese tea tasting area and a kava bar. The Well’s menu offers eats like cardamom chia seed pudding, Chinese rice porridge and a salad, and drinks like a roasted roots and mushroom latte, golden milk latte, herbal refreshers, caffeinated and herbal teas, and a variety of kava. The café also offers daily “Karma Meals,” a pay-what-you-can drink and bowl option, as a way to be more accessible to the community at large. The Well, 5443 Telegraph Ave. (at 55th), Oakland
YU’S IDEA CUISINE In Chinatown, Yu’s (or Yun’s, if you go by the sign outside) Idea Cuisine has taken over the former Chili Padi space (which was most recently Hotpot Factory, but that restaurant closed very quickly). According to the East Bay Express, the owners brought on a chef from Shanghai to cook Shanghainese cuisine, but Yu’s menu also offers specialities from Guandong and Sichuan Province. Yu’s Idea Cuisine, 366 8th St. (between Webster and Franklin), Oakland
BA-BITE Oakland’s popular Israeli restaurant Ba-Bite served its last meals on Aug. 13. Citing a longtime landlord dispute, owners Mica Talmor-Gott and Robert Gott, who also run boutique catering company Savoy Events, decided to close rather than continue in the space at 3905 Piedmont Ave. The timing of the closure was surprising, as Ba-Bite was recently featured on KQED’s “Check, Please! Bay Area” (a pick from the show’s guest, Nosh contributor Alix Wall) and business was booming just before it closed.
[Updated Sept 4.] OLD BROOKLYN CAFÉ & BAKERY Oakland bagel café Old Brooklyn closed its last location at 2228 Broadway this month. The closure comes a few months after the company shuttered its original shop in Rockridge this April. Nosh received an email response from CEO Richard Le who said that Old Brooklyn decided to close its Uptown location “given the increased competition in the coffee and sandwich space.” As noted above, Berkeley’s Vietnamese restaurant Le Pho opened here shortly after Old Brooklyn closed. The fast turnaround is because Le also owns Le Pho. He said, “From the success we saw in Berkeley, we decided to open a second location and introduce Le Pho to the growing diverse Uptown Oakland food scene.”
ANAVIV’S TABLE Arnon Oren, a chef and owner of catering and events companies Oren’s Kitchen and Anaviv Catering and Events, opened a new 10-seat fine dining restaurant in Richmond this month. Chef Ed Vigil (Olema Inn, Ramblas Tapas) heads the kitchen, which will serve a tasting menu highlighting locally sourced produce and ingredients. The menu will change weekly, depending on what’s fresh and seasonal. Anaviv’s Table is more like a dinner party than a restaurant. The evening starts in kitchen, with chef Vigil introducing himself and offering guests small bites. The meal is served at a communal table, so expect to converse with your fellow diners. The restaurant serves one seating at 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday; dinner is $125 a person, including cocktail and wine pairings. Anaviv’s Table, 600 Hoffman Blvd., Richmond
BABY CAFÉ This Hong Kong-style café opened its third branch in Alameda, taking over the space once occupied by Hot Spot. Baby Café has two other locations in Downtown Oakland and Union City. The specialties here include baked spaghetti and rice plates, sandwiches, pan-fried noodles, milk tea, egg puff waffles and other HK-style desserts, as well as its signature rice cube dishes, featuring beef stew and chicken curry come nestled in a square bowl made out of crispy browned rice. Baby Café, 2321 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda
CAFÉ LIANO This café across from the San Leandro BART station is owned by Cesar Coreas, who formerly operated Sunrise Coffee Company, which closed last year. Liano is the name of his son. The café offers locally roasted coffee, which you can get brewed in drinks (including nitro and cold brew) or as whole or ground beans to take home, and Semifreddi pastries. So far, a crowd favorite here is Liano’s marshmallow latte. Café Liano, 1540 San Leandro Blvd. (near Juana), San Leandro
CHOLITA LINDA Temescal’s uber-popular Latin American restaurant, which got its start as a food stand at the Jack London Square farmers market, expanded into Alameda this month. This second brick-and-mortar location opened on Aug. 24 in the former Flavors of India space, and will serve the same menu as the Oakland spot, including its famous fried fish tacos, pressed asado sandwich, salads and agua frescas. Cholita Linda, 1337 Park St. (at Central), Alameda
CRABBY CRAB San Leandro’s newest Cajun seafood spot offers crab, shrimp, crawfish, etc. boiled in a spicy sauce or deep fried in batter. There also offer raw oysters on the half shell and sides like fries, sweet potato fries and fried chicken tenders and wings. Crabby Crab, 16490 E 14th St. (between 164th and 165th), San Leandro
HANG TEN BOILER This month, Hang Ten Boiler moved to a new location on Santa Clara Avenue from a space on Encinal Avenue. Hang Ten is known for its Cajun-style boiled seafood; garlic noodles; Hawaiian-style combo plates and its diehard love for the Warriors. Hang Ten Boiler, 2315 Santa Clara Ave. (between Oak and Park), Alameda
MANGOSTEEN BISTRO Walnut Creek’s new Vietnamese restaurant comes from chef Hai Nguyen and business partner Thanh Dinh, who also own La Sen, a French restaurant that the duo moved from Concord to downtown Walnut Creek last year. Mangosteen offers modern renditions of Vietnamese fare, including noodle soups (several variations of pho and hu tieu do bien), rice plates, bun and a catfish claypot, along with salads, spring rolls and other starters. Mangosteen Bistro, 1518 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek
MAYA THAI LAOS RESTAURANT This new family-owned Thai-Laotian restaurant in San Pablo is owned by a former chef of Maya Thai House in Vallejo, and for fans of that latter restaurant, the Thai offerings here will look familiar. You’ll find standard noodle and stir-fry dishes that you come to expect at Thai restaurants, but there are also less common Thai and Laotian specialties, like the roti green curry, sien hang (Laotian beef jerky) and larb pha (fish larb); and some unique spins on traditional dishes, like an avocado green curry and a crispy trout salad with green apples. Maya Thai Laos Restaurant, 3550 San Pablo Dam Rd. Ste H, San Pablo
SUMIKO CAFÉ This boba shop and sushi restaurant offers nigiri sushi, rolls and poke bowls, along with fruit teas, milk teas and cheese teas. Sumiko Café, 1118 Lincoln Ave. (near Bay), Alameda
BLACK BULL TACOS Y CERVEZA The Alameda Mexican restaurant at 1635 Park St. closed this month after less than a year in business. Black Bull was opened by the owners of Scolari’s Good Eats, and was headed by chef Brian Boyd, who offered creative dishes like marinated duck heart and fried avocado tacos. Since it closed, some of its fan-favorite tacos have been making an appearance on the menu at Scolari’s and at Scolari’s Airstream, a food truck that has a regular Thursday night gig at Faction Brewing.
CIGAR BOX KITCHEN El Cerrito’s Cigar Box Kitchen, which opened on San Pablo Avenue in late July, closed after less than a month in business, and just a week after we first noticed it opened! Owner Steve Zwetsch said that the restaurant closed “due to unforeseen financial circumstances.” While it was open, this all-day restaurant-bar served standard diner fare with some gourmet touches, and hosted live acoustic music performances. It closed on Aug. 26, with free drinks for customers and music all day. Cigar Box Kitchen, 10064 San Pablo Ave. (near Central), El Cerrito