[Updated Jan 24, 1:20 p.m. with comment from Noah’s] NOAH’S DARK Customers who came to the Southside Berkeley location of Noah’s (2344 Telegraph Ave.) looking for bagels and shmears found brown paper covering the windows of the shuttered shop this week. Noah’s Bagels Telegraph closed on Monday, Jan. 21. According to Stuart Baker, executive director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District, the store was scheduled to close at the end of the month, but Coffee & Bagels Brands, the company that owns the chain, decided to close it a few days early. Baker said it closed because the company is “focusing on larger foot-print spaces for their new business model, as evidenced by their space in Temescal,” referring to the 2,300-square-foot “concept store” that Noah’s opened in the former Genova Delicatessen last February. These new stores have a more contemporary design, large dining areas, coffee-and-tea bars, as well as features like “baking theatres,” where guests can watch bagels being made.
Tyler Ricks, president of Coffee & Bagels Brands, told Nosh that part of Noah’s development strategy is devoted to opening larger format locations, the closure of the Telegraph Avenue store was more of a financial decision. “The rents were going up significantly and we didn’t feel like we could make that location work going forward with the significant increases,” Ricks said. He also said that Noah’s will be exploring different concepts, including drive-thru stores and digitally enabled locations that allow for customers to order ahead for easy pick-up.
A sign on the door of the now-shuttered shop directs customers to visit its Temescal store, (5095 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) as well as locations at 1883 Solano Ave. in Berkeley and 2060 Mountain Blvd. in Oakland’s Montclair neighborhood, and mentions a new shop coming to Berkeley Way in May. Ricks clarified that the new store will be on the ground floor of 1919 Shattuck Ave., within UC Berkeley’s Berkeley Way West building. One of five new Noah’s stores in 2019, it will have more space for catering, allow for deliveries and have a “more inviting environment” with extra seating. Ricks said the company wanted to stay close to Cal, but also be accessible to all Berkeley residents. He said Noah’s has signed the lease for the space and gave a target for a May or June opening.
365 STORE NO MORE In early 2017, a 365 by Whole Foods Market was announced as the anchor tenant of an upcoming mixed-use development in Temescal. Designed by Oakland-based RAD Urban, the six-story development at 5110 Telegraph Ave. is currently under construction and will eventually house 204 apartments and a one-acre rooftop garden, but it was the 365 store, Whole Foods’ smaller and cheaper grocery store model, that garnered the most attention for the project. But now, with the recent announcement that the Amazon-owned grocer is dropping its 365 concept because the model is “no longer necessary,” what will come of the 28,000 square-foot space is the big question. RAD Urban CEO Randy Miller told Nosh, “We don’t have a decision yet on what Whole Foods is planning for the space,” but Miller had told the San Francisco Business Times that the grocer would “explore other options for the site.” At some pending locations of 365 markets, the company has decided to build its traditional markets in their place. Whether that will happen in Temescal has not yet been announced. Stay tuned on Nosh, where we’ll report more updates as we get them.
STRADA TURNS 30 A favorite sipping spot for Cal students and faculty, Caffe Strada, is celebrating a big milestone this year — its 30th year in business. The European-inspired café located across from the university campus opened on Jan. 30, 1989, and is said to be the birthplace of the Bianca Mocha, a white hot chocolate-espresso drink that tempted a visit in 1997 from then-Vice President Al Gore. To celebrate year 30, Caffe Strada will be giving away free coffee drinks all day. Strada owner and founder, Daryl Ross said to expect long lines for the freebies, but has arranged for the Cal Band to stop by to entertain those waiting. Caffe Strada, 2300 College Ave. (at Bancroft), Berkeley
WINE IN TEMESCAL ALLEY Lake County-based winery Prima Materia Winery has now opened its wine tasting room in Temescal Alley. As Nosh first reported in September, the winery is run by chef-winemaker Pietro Buttitta and offers Old World-style California wines made from grapes grown by Buttitta, mainly Italian and some French cultivars. In addition to selling Prima Materia wines, the space has a kitchen, which will allow Buttitta to serve food — likely small plates. He hopes to offer bites within the next few weeks and host wine dinners on a monthly basis. The date for the next dinner is still TBD, but Buttitta plans to theme the menu on the ancient Roman recipes of Apicius. Stay tuned on Nosh for more details. Prima Materia Winery and Pop-up Kitchen, 482 #B 49th St. (near Telegraph), Oakland
KON-TIKI DOES VEG Oakland island-themed oasis The Kon-Tiki has news of new eats! While The Kon-Tiki’s beef burger — loaded with pineapple onion jam, Kewpie mayo and an optional addition of sliced Spam — is probably its most well-known food offering, owners Matt Reagan and Christ Aviatlos have been hearing plenty of requests from vegetarian and vegans who visit the downtown tiki bar hoping for more meat-free fare to pair with their tropical drinks. And so they tasked chef Manny Bonilla to create some veg-friendly dishes. Now, eight items —more than half the menu — are meat-free (and many can be made vegan), including a crispy Chili Pepper Tofu, Edamame Toast with green garlic and tofu spread, and an ants-on-a-log inspired Celery and Frisée Salad that may take you back to your lunchbox days. The Kon-Tiki, 347 14th St. (at Webster), Oakland
FAREWELL, TAMMY’S Tammy’s Chicken in Waffles in Berkeley (2466 Bancroft Way) has shuttered. The Southside restaurant, which specialized in waffles with fried chicken and other sweet and savory ingredients cooked inside them, was opened last June by founder Tammy Powers and business partner Niko Thysell. Together, they brought to Berkeley a brick-and-mortar version of Powers’ business, which she started as a bike shop, morphed into a coffee cart and expanded to a waffle shack on Treasure Island. Powers, who has a movie-worthy backstory (she moved to the Bay Area to undergo gender transition, was homeless for a stint before eventually starting the bike shop) and Thysell, a Livermore-based real estate developer, did not know each other for long before going into business, and they were the first to admit they had an unlikely partnership. Still, they had high hopes for Tammy’s Chicken in Waffles. However, things didn’t go as planned. In an email to Nosh, Thysell said the partners have split ways. “At this time, yes, we are closed for good. A revival of the restaurant is highly unlikely,” he wrote. Nosh was unable to reach Powers for comment at time of publication.
BRUNCH EVERYDAY Kyle Itani and Jenny Scharwz, owners of Hopscotch in Uptown Oakland, have also decided to tweak their menu due to popular demand. The weekend brunch offerings at the Japanese-inflected American diner, with dishes like soba biscuits and sausage gravy and braised pork belly benedict topped with yuzu hollandaise, have been such a fan favorite that many customers have asked the restaurant to make the brunch menu an every day thing. Itani and Schwartz have heard the demands and decided to try it out. Starting today, Jan. 23, Hopscotch will offer a selection of the most popular brunch foods along with its regular lunch menu from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Hopscotch, 1915 San Pablo Ave. (at 19th), Oakland
CASTRO VALLEY NEWS Five years after opening in Hayward, Cannery Café is looking to expand into Castro Valley. Owners Debbie Pfisterer and Jeff Rosen have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 to open an all-day café and taproom. The Cannery Kitchen & Tap will be in the upcoming Castro Valley Marketplace, a recently approved project that will redevelop a 44,900-square-foot building that once housed Daughtrey’s department store into a gourmet marketplace hosting 16 food purveyors, including a natural food store, a butcher shop, a wine shop and cookware store. Pfisterer, a Castro Valley resident who owns Blue Heron Catering, and Rosen, a longtime East Bay chef and restaurateur, envision their forthcoming restaurant as a family-friendly destination offering breakfast, lunch, dinner seven days a week, as well as weekend brunch, a taproom serving local beers and wines, and a live music venue, hosting performances by local artists four nights a week. The Cannery Kitchen & Tap, along with the greater Castro Valley Marketplace, hopes to be open as soon as Spring 2019.