Bites: Plans for Jack London Square food hall move forward

Jack London Square. Photo: Tory Putnam

A SQUARE DEAL The promise of a Ferry Building-like food hall in Jack London Square has been on the table for several years, and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, it may finally come to fruition. Plans for a two-level 40,000-square-foot “entertainment venue with novel food and beverage purveyors” were announced on Monday.

The venue at 55 Harrison St. is a property that L.A.-based real-estate development company CIM Group purchased about three years ago. In 2016, CIM Group had also purchased Water Street Market, a 32,000-square-foot building that had been originally intended to be a waterfront market hall. The Carlin Co. was brought on in 2015 to complete the venue, but the deal fell through not too long after the new landlords purchased the property, and the ambitious food plaza never came to be. After the bust of the development, some businesses worried that Jack London Square would never achieve its potential, but in the meantime, big name food businesses and restaurants — like Belcampo, Dyafa and Farmhouse Kitchen — continued to move to Jack London Square.

CIM Group will work with entertainment venue developer John McEnery, who brought San Pedro Square Market to San Jose and the Abbott Square Market to Santa Cruz, and Oakland-based JRDV Architects for this project. According to the San Francisco Business Times, plans include “an event and entertainment space,” a bar and outdoor terraces on both levels.  A timeline for its completion has not yet been announced.

Umami Mart co-owners Yoko Kumano and Kayoko Akabori stand in front of 4027 Broadway, where they will move their Japanese drink shop in May.
Umami Mart co-owners Yoko Kumano (left) and Kayoko Akabori in front of 4027 Broadway, which will be the new home for their Japanese drink retail store and tasting room. Photo: Umami Mart

UMAMI MART MOVES As Nosh reported in November, Japanese drink shop Umami Mart is moving from Old Oakland to North Oakland, where it will open a Japanese spirits tasting room. Last week, co-owners Kayoko Akabori and Yoko Kumano officially announced an opening date for the new location: May 1. Akabori told Nosh that they will close the original six-year-old store at 815 Broadway on April 15 to prepare for the move to 4027 Broadway, just two miles up the road. When the store reopens in May, Kumano said it will only be the retail portion of the business, with the tasting room to come in the near future.  Eventually, Umami Mart plans to serve sake, Japanese beer and shochu, as well as spirits from guest distillers and makers in the tasting room, located in the back of the store. Umami Mart’s new home takes over a former taqueria, Broadway Burrito, which will be reimagined into the specialty store by designer Anders Arhoj and local builders Manual Labor. Akabori said UM fans should stay tuned on April 4, when they’ll announce special news on their blog, Instagram and Facebook pages.


BORIQUA POP-UP Last Friday, Oakland chef Darren Anthony Lamboy, who operates the Boriqua Kitchen food truck, hosted a pop-up in the now-closed Gio’s in downtown Berkeley. At the festive event, live salsa music offered the soundtrack for the evening, where 300 attendees enjoyed Lamboy’s traditional home-style Puerto Rican cuisine. A representative of Boriqua Kitchen told Nosh that this was its first pop-up in Berkeley and a future collaboration at the Gio’s space is being discussed, although no further details could be given at this time. In the meantime, the Boriqua Kitchen truck continues to stop at various locations around the Bay Area. Its next East Bay event, “Noche en San Juan,” takes place 7-11 p.m., April 5, at Building 43 Winery, (2400 Monarch St., Alameda), where Puerto Rican fare will be paired with Building 43 wines and live music from Julius Melendez and is Latin All Stars.

Lucia's pizza truck, a vintage 1981 Piaggio Ape modified with a brick wood-fire pizza oven, is parked at the Grand Lake Farmers Market, with the Grand Lake Theatre's sign peeking from behind a building in the background.
The Lucia’s pizza truck at the Grand Lake Farmers Market. Photo: Lucia’s

PIZZA PIZZA The recent wet weather has put a damper on Lucia’s pizza truck appearances. The Berkeley Neapolitan pizza restaurant usually brings its souped-up ’81 Ape Piaggo, custom-built with a brick wood-fire oven on the back, to the Grand Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays. But Lucia’s co-owner Steve Dumain told Nosh that the truck has missed some of its regular dates due to rain. The good news is that this projected dry weekend means there’s pizza on the forecast, too. Lucia’s has booked two appearances in the coming days: On Friday, the truck will be parked at Temescal Brewing (4115 Telegraph Ave.) from 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, expect the mobile wood-fired oven back at the Grand Lake Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday will be Lucia’s first time at Temescal Brewing, and if all goes well at this appearance, Dumain says the two businesses may plan for more appearances there in the future.

ISLAND TIME If last week’s Nosh feature on the fascinating history of Trader Vic’s got you thirsty for a Mai Tai at the legendary Tiki lounge, the following event might inspire you to get over to Emeryville sooner than later. From 6-9 p.m., April 7, L.A.-based group Ladies Who Tiki, will be hosting a book signing and panel discussion at Trader Vic’s. Author Shannon Mustipher will be on hand to sign copies of Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails and guest speakers Suzanne Long of Rum Academy, Jeanie Grant of Pagan Idol, Humuhumu of Critiki, and Michelle Perez of Ladies Who Tiki, will discuss the role of women in today’s Tiki culture. The event is 21+ Trader Vic’s, 9 Anchor Dr., Emeryville

A FEAST FOR THE SENSES Anaviv’s Table in Richmond will host a special one-night affair called “An Italian Sensory Experience of Food, Wine and Music.” Taking place at 6 p.m., April 7, Italian chef and author Roberto Forreti will guide attendees with demonstrations and four courses of food and wine from the La Merche region of Italy. While guests start the evening with appetizers, Forreti will give a demonstration on making stuffed olives and a guided olive oil tasting. The first course — a legume soup — will be followed by a fresh egg pasta making demo, and the resulting noodles will be prepared for the second course. The third course will be chicken (or vegetarian) “Ncip-Nciap,” a dish made with poultry, vegetables, tomatoes and herbs. Finally, the final course will feature cooked wine cake and a cooked wine tasting. Tenor Carlo Assogna will cap the evening with a performance of songs from La Merche. Tickets are $150 plus tax per person. Call the restaurant at (415) 376-1400 to make a reservation. Anaviv’s Table, 600 Hoffman Blvd., Richmond

CHICK FACTOR Erica K. Freeman and Malaka Wilson-Greene are the women behind Two Chicks in the Mix, an Oakland and L.A.-based bakery that been getting attention for baking up desserts made with organic and locally sourced ingredients, many with uncommon flavors. Some of the Chick’s most popular offerings include lemon olive oil cake with French lemon curd and red velvet brownies. This Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., Two Chicks in a Mix will be at Morningtide in Albany for a pop-up, where it will give out samples of some of its most popular cake flavors and have slices and whole mini cakes for sale. Morningtide, 847 Cornell Ave. (at Solano), Albany

THREE UPCOMING WINE-Y EVENTS:

Last March, Côte West made the move across the bay, from Dogpatch in San Francisco to Embarcadero Cove near Jack London Square. The boutique winery, operated by married couple Kerrie and Bret Hogan, works with premium vineyards across Sonoma County to create Old World-style wines with a California flair. The couple’s new tasting room, which opened in November and is both kid and dog-friendly, welcomes visitors for tastings on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Kerrie Hogan told Nosh that people are gradually finding out about Côte West, but to get on more people’s radars, they’re starting to host events at the winery. On April 7, from 1-5 p.m., Côte West will host “Made in Oakland,” featuring food, wine and merchandise produced by local makers. The winery will offer flights for $10 during the event. Free and open to the public, including kids and dogs. Côte West Winery, 2101 Dennison St. (near Cotton), Oakland

“An Exploration of Wine and Cheese” is an event taking place at Berkeley’s Cheese Board. UK cheese and food writer Francis Percival will be joined by Caroline Hostetler of Quality Cheese and natural winemaker Matthew Rorick of Forlorn Hope for an afternoon of “sipping wine, tasting cheese, and learning about both in the process.” There will be two seatings at 1 and 3:30 p.m., April 7. Tickets are $43. 21+ only. The Cheese Board Collective, 1512 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine), Berkeley

“Sip, Savor and Support,” is an evening of wine tastings led by Eoin Carey of Copa Fina, paired with bites prepared by Kitchen on Fire chef Olive Said and The Bread Project chef Gram Gould. There will also be a silent and live auction. Proceeds benefit The Bread Project, a nonprofit that trains low-income Bay Area residents in commercial baking. The event takes place from 6-8:30 p.m., April 9. Tickets are $100-$250; the event is limited to 75 guests. All welcome, but 21+ only to drink. Kitchen on Fire Cooking School, 6506 San Pablo Ave., (at 65th), Oakland