Bites: Philz to close Gourmet Ghetto café, Farm Burger shutters in Gilman Village, changes at Chick’n Rice

Philz Coffee. Photo: Emilie Raguso

PHILZ SHATTUCK TO CLOSE You may have noticed Philz Coffee has been expanding. Not only can you find the San Francisco-based “one cup at a time” coffee company (founded in 2002 by Phil Jaber, now run by his son Jacob) in the Bay Area, but in L.A., San Diego, Sacramento, Washington, D.C. and Virginia (to come), with a total of nearly 50 locations. But recently, the company has decided to close an outpost — its first East Bay location, the North Berkeley café at 1600 Shattuck Ave., which opened in the Gourmet Ghetto in 2010. The store will close on Jan. 13, 2019. Jacob Jaber told Nosh in an email that the store’s multi-level layout is the reason for its decision to close the café, despite its popularity with the neighborhood. “The space was unique relative to how other Philz stores were shaped,” he said. “As the years passed, business grew but limitations on our ability to enhance both team and customers experience from a layout and flow standpoint became a hard reality.” Jaber said the company will transfer staffers from the Shattuck Avenue café to its other locations. Its closest remaining East Bay locations are at Gilman Village in Berkeley and on College Avenue on the Berkeley-Oakland border, but it also has a café in  Walnut Creek and one to come in Lafayette. In the meantime, Jaber said Philz is searching for a replacement spot, although he did not specify that it would be in the same area. We’ll keep you updated on Nosh as more details emerge. Philz Coffee, 1600 Shattuck Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley 

Farm Burger Berkeley, which opened in 2014, has transferred its lease to Marin Pizza, which plans to open in the space in late November. Photo: Farm Burger Berkeley/Facebook

OUT TO PASTURE The West Berkeley outpost of Farm Burger (1313 Ninth St.) closed yesterday. The Atlanta-based boutique burger chain, which touts serving local, humanely and sustainably raised meats and a seasonally changing menu, released a brief statement on its social media platforms: “Farm Burger Berkeley says a sweet goodbye to its home in the Gilman District today. We’ve passed the baton to Marin Pizza, a farm-to-table fast-casual pizza and salad restaurant that maintains the same ethos for nutritious, farm fresh food that Farm Burger held. We are grateful to have been part of Berkeley for 5 years. Thank you for your incredible support. Come see us at Farm Burger Marin!” Farm Burger opened at Gilman Village in 2014; at the time it was its fifth location, but its first on the West Coast. Its remaining California location is at 882 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in San Anselmo.

Farm Burger told Nosh in a statement that the Berkeley location was acquired by Marin Pizza on Oct. 26, and that its Gilman Village staff “will be given the opportunity to transfer to Farm Burger Marin or stay on with Marin Pizza.” The company decided to move on from Berkeley to “concentrate its store growth in the South East.” The transfer of its lease to Marin Pizza, which is effective on Nov. 1, is not too surprising, given that the North Bay restaurant’s VP of operations, Michael McGuan, had been part of Farm Burger’s expansion into the West Coast. McGuan left Farm Burger to join its founder Tom Wyman, and together, they opened the farm-to-table build-your-own pizza restaurant at the Corte Madera Town Center in March. According to the Mill Valley Herald, McGuan has “taken some of the relationships he forged while at Farm Burger with California ranchers and farmers to help build the foundation for Marin Pizza.” Marin Pizza plans to open its second location at Gilman Village in late November.

CHICKEN COUP The last time Nosh checked in with Berkeley’s Chick’n Rice, a representative for the fast-casual Thai restaurant assured us the eatery, which specializes in khao mun gai, was only closed for summer break and would reopen in September. Well, that didn’t happen, and now we know why. Eater reported this week that Chick’n Rice will merge with Rooster & Rice, a San Francisco-based chain that also focuses on the Thai chicken and rice dish. Rooster & Rice was founded in 2015, two years before Chick’n Rice, and already owns three locations. Chick’n Rice co-founder Vince Cao told Eater, “The industry was getting pretty fragmented and I admired what [co-founders] Bryan Lew and Tommy Charoen were doing at Rooster & Rice.” According to Eater, the downtown Berkeley location at 2136 Center St. will remain closed indefinitely while the terms of the merger are finalized, but going forward, Chick’n Rice will adopt the Rooster & Rice name, brand and menu.


FOB KITCHEN UPDATE Brandi Dulce emailed Nosh to let us know some exciting news: FOB Kitchen will officially open on Nov. 16. The popular former San Francisco pop-up restaurant run by Dulce and her partner Janice will bring Filipino fare and a full bar to Temescal Triangle in the former Juhu Beach Club space. FOB Kitchen told Eater that diners should expect favorites from the pop-up, like its tocino and adobo, but served family-style and with more vegetarian options. To complement the bold Filipino flavors, drink consultant Cali Gold has created an Island-inspired cocktail menu; there will also be six beer taps and three wine taps. When it opens, FOB Kitchen will serve dinner four nights a week, with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. FOB Kitchen will be at 5179 Telegraph Ave. (at 51st), Oakland

Nobilis Restaurant at Point San Pablo Harbor in Richmond. Photo: Nobilis Restaurant

WHAT’S UP AT NOBILIS? In July, the Richmond waterfront welcomed Nobilis, a new restaurant owned and operated by Point San Pablo Harbor. It was in business for about a month under chef Todd Corboy, who developed its menu of refined, seasonal and locally sourced comfort food eats, before Nobilis had a maintenance issue that required it to temporarily close. Nosh spoke with Point San Pablo Harbor president Daryl Henline, who said that time off, the restaurant reassessed its business model, and in the process, Nobilis and Corboy parted ways. The restaurant reopened on Oct. 20 with a new chef, Stevie Neal, who for the past 12 years has run his own restaurant in Japan. Henline said despite the change in the kitchen, Nobilis will retain the “finer diner” menu it opened with, with some additional breakfast dishes that Neal has introduced and possibly new dishes with the change of season and in response to customer feedback. For now, that means, sandwiches, a  burger, fries, oysters, clam chowder and brunch dishes on the weekend, made with quality and organic ingredients, when possible. To drink, Nobilis offers local brews from Richmond’s East Brother Beer and Benoit Casper, and a curated selection of wine. Another new thing to note: Nobilis is now open on Tuesdays and has expanded its lunch hours. Hours are now 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Nobilis Restaurant at Point San Pablo Harbor, 1900 Stenmark Dr., Richmond

GO SEE CAL As co-owner Allison Hopelain told Nosh, when we spoke with her about the decision to close Camino, there will be some last parties to eat, drink and be merry before the curtains are drawn in December. One of those shindigs is happening on Nov. 18, featuring Chef Cal Peternell, who recently released a new cookbook, Almonds, Anchovies & Pancetta. This will be Camino’s last-ever book dinner party, and as with the others, there’ll be lots of drinking, snacking, socializing and book signing before the sit-down meal, featuring dishes inspired by recipes in Peternell’s book, expertly prepared by chef Russell Moore in Camino’s fireplace. Vegetarian and pescatarian meals can be provided, with advance notification. Tickets are $100 and include drinks and tip. The party starts at 5 p.m. Camino, 3917 Grand Ave. (between Sunny Slope and Jean), Oakland

The Día de los Muertos altar at Calavera in Oakland. Photo: Melissa Welles

DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS FOOD OFFERINGS

Arizmendi Emeryville Mexican traditional sweet bread pan de muerto will be offered at the bakery, Wednesday, Oct. 31 through Friday, Nov. 2. Arizmendi Emeryville, 4301 San Pablo Ave. (at 43rd), Emeryville

Café El Patio Fruitvale coffee shop Café El Patio will pay its respects to the dead with artwork and decorations by local artists. The café will be open on Sunday, Nov. 4, offering sweet pan de muerto. Café El Patio, 4030 International Blvd. Ste. B (near 41st), Oakland  

Comal In downtown Berkeley, Comal is decked out in Day of the Dead decorations, and on Thursday, Nov. 1 and Friday, Nov. 2, the restaurant will be sending diners home with a slice of pan de muerto from Berkeley’s Casa Latina. Comal, 2020 Shattuck Ave. (between University and Addison), Berkeley


Calavera Oakland’s Calavera presents its annual week-long celebration of Día de los Muertos from today through Sunday, Nov. 4. The restaurant will be festive with ceremonial altars and traditional decorations to pay homage to those who’ve passed, and this year, it will pay tribute to Mexican actor and lucha libre fighter, El Santo. During the week, Calavera will offer creative cocktails and special menu items created by chef Dario Pantoja and guest chef Julio Aguilera from El Destilado in Oaxaca. Menu highlights include Aguachile Negro (octopus, celery, avocado, chayote), a choice of three moles (negro Oaxaca, mole poblano or mole amarillo) with wood-fired chicken, duck breast or grilled quail and for desert, Firebrand Bakers’ pan de muerto, calabaza de tacha and panacota de leche. Calavera, 2337 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), in Oakland.

Cosecha In Old Oakland, Cosecha will host a Day of the Dead-themed dinner on Friday, Nov. 2, from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  As with past celebrations here, there will be a community altar for those who wish to leave photos of loved ones who’ve been laid to rest. A special menu of seasonal California-Mexican fare will be offered first come, first served. Cosecha, 901 Washington St. (at Ninth), Oakland