WESTERN PACIFIC TIME Whether they’re excited, disappointed or conflicted, many Nosh readers are hungry for details on the opening of Charlie Hallowell’s new Berkeley establishment, Western Pacific. Although the restaurant has not released any official updates on the opening, many passersby have noticed that the former BUILD Pizzeria space has been quietly undergoing construction and looks nearly complete inside. Last Thursday, the large yellow BUILD signs came down and new hand-painted signage went up. Nosh confirmed that Western Pacific will hold a friends and family event on Oct. 29 and will open to the public shortly after.
Earlier this month, Hallowell penned an open apology (and then an apology for his apology) for his behavior that led to several former female employees to bring sexual harassment allegations against him. The letter spelled out detailed steps about how he’d be moving forward with his business (with managing partner Donna Insalaco as majority owner) and briefly mentioned the downtown Berkeley restaurant, which has been in the works since before the scandal broke last December. (Originally, the restaurant was slated to be a second location of Boot & Shoe Service, but he sold the original Boot & Shoe restaurant to new owners, and thus the restaurant needed a new name.) Like Hallowell’s Pizzaiolo and his former restaurant Boot & Shoe Service, Western Pacific will feature a menu focused on wood-fired pizza and Cal-Italian fare, but further details are still to come. The restaurant’s publicist Tom Walton told Nosh the restaurant is still ironing out a few things, including hiring a chef de cuisine. Western Pacific will be at 2286 Shattuck Ave. (at Bancroft), Berkeley
SOMETHING NEW AND BLUE As Nosh reported in July, Blue Bottle has been working on bringing its coffee to Piedmont Avenue, at what will be its fifth East Bay location. The Oakland-based coffee chain announced this week that the café, in the space formerly occupied by A.G. Ferrari, will open on Nov. 3. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. opening day, it’ll offer free cups of coffee and donate proceeds from merchandise sales to the Ecology Center. Blue Bottle Coffee will be at 4001 Piedmont Ave. (at 40th), Oakland
FARM STAND TO TABLE Good news for downtown Berkeley residents and workers — there’s a new weekday farm stand that’s a convenient place to grab some of the freshest dinner fixings on your way home. The Berkeley Farm Stand at the new Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza is operated by the Ecology Center. It’s open from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, year round, rain or shine. As with the Ecology Center’s three weekly Berkeley farmers’ markets, the stand features fruits, vegetables and other products from small, independent and sustainable farm vendors. When Nosh stopped by on Tuesday evening, we saw full baskets of produce, including carrots, broccoli, persimmons, pomegranates, strawberries, fresh herbs and walnuts, sourced from UC Gill Tract Farm, Avalos Farm, Blue Heron, Kaki Farm, Billy Bob Orchards and Kashiwase Farms. Along with providing healthy choices for shoppers in downtown Berkeley, the stand also offers job training opportunities for youth interns participating in the Ecology Center’s Youth Environmental Academy (YEA). EBT access will be available soon, probably by late November, said farm stand manager Dante Alnas-Benson. Berkeley Farm Stand at Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza, Shattuck Ave. at Center Street, Berkeley
EAT, THEN VOTE Some of your favorite restaurants want you to do something on Nov. 6: Vote. But before you do, they also want you to join them help ensure more people can cast their ballots, too. This Thursday, Oct. 25, several Bay Area and Portland restaurants are banding together for Dine out for Democracy, a collaborative fundraising campaign raising money for two nonprofits that work to make sure that more people who are eligible to vote can. Proceeds raised on Thursday will be donated to the National Voter Protection Action Fund, a non-partisan nonprofit working against voter suppression efforts and Alliance for Youth Action, a nationwide network of youth-led organizations that activates and engages more young people to get politically involved. Participating East Bay restaurants and bars include Doña Tomas, Beauty’s Bagel Shop, Camino, Gather, Home of Chicken & Waffles, Make Westing, Tacubaya, Ramen Shop, Starline Social Club, Mockingbird, Duende, Saul’s Deli, and Homemade Café.