The East Bay restaurants that opened and closed in April

Truffle potato chips, with crema, caviar and micro herbs, at Town Square Eats inside of Crooked City Taphouse in Jack London Square.
Truffle potato chips, with crema, caviar and micro herbs, at Town Square Eats inside of Crooked City Taphouse in Jack London Square. Photo: Town Square Eats/Facebook

Berkeley

Open

BLUE OX WINE CO. Blue Ox has opened a tasting room within its winery in the burgeoning Fifth Street wine district near Gilman. The tasting area features an eye-catching mural from Oakland artist Madeleine Tonzi framing a handsome wooden bar, and showcases Blue Ox’s small-batch varietals — handmade sparkling wines, Rhône-style reds and distinctly Californian blends, all made from organic, sustainably farmed grapes harvested from Mendocino to Monterey. Co-founders are industry friends and fellow upper-Midwesterners Josh Hammerling and Noah Kenoyer; the winery is named for Paul Bunyan’s ox in the Midwestern-based tall tale. Note: The tasting room’s limited hours are from 1-6 p.m., Friday through Sunday. Blue Ox Wine Co. Tasting Room, 1350 Fifth St. (between Camelia and Gilman), Berkeley

CAFENATED COFFEE COMPANY Taking over the Mission Heirloom space and garden patio in the Gourmet Ghetto is Cafenated Coffee, a husband-wife-owned business that started as an online-only retailer of single-origin coffee made with beans sourced from women farmers at coffee coops in Central America, South America and Africa. Along with various coffee drinks, Cafenated serves tea and pastries. Cafenated Coffee Company, 2085 Vine St. (at Shattuck), Berkeley

Collective, a new vegetarian and vegan restaurant in downtown Berkeley.
Collective Kitchen & Bar, a new vegetarian and vegan restaurant in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

COLLECTIVE KITCHEN & BAR This new restaurant on Center Street features vegan and vegetarian comfort foods (mac and cheese, pizza, bowls, soups and salads), juices and vegan cocktails in a spacious, comfortable room with some outdoor seating. On the restaurant’s Yelp profile, the owners write that it is run by “the three remaining members of a seminal north Berkeley collective, which ran its course and closed its doors at the end February of 2019.” However, despite the name, the owners say the new business is not a collectively run organization. Collective Kitchen & Bar, 2132 Center Street (between Shattuck and Oxford), Berkeley

DARYOUSH PERSIAN CUISINE Center Street’s bustle of restaurant activity this month included the soft opening of Daryoush Persian Cuisine, replacing Crunch. Daryoush is named for its owner, a first-time restaurateur who is proudly bringing Persian dining back to the neighborhood (Alborz Persian Cuisine used to sit next door at 2142 Center St.). The sit-down restaurant with a peaceful, welcoming vibe offers a sizeable opening menu of savory stews, soups, kabobs, wraps and rice plates. All meats are halal and come from Harris Ranch. Persian desserts include the doughnut-like zolbia-bamieh, paludeh (fine noodles served icy cold) and ice creams flavored with rosewater, cinnamon and saffron. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. Expect the menu to evolve over time, and look for a grand opening May 10. Daryoush Persian Cuisine, 2144 Center Street (between Shattuck and Oxford), Berkeley


Shish kebab platter at Wanted in Berkeley.
Shish kebab platter at Wanted in Berkeley. Photo: Joanna Della Penna

WANTED More flavorful, halal meat choices, this time with a more casual feel, come from Wanted, the very visible new eatery at University and Curtis (look for the giant sign) in the former Crepes Ooh La La (see Closings). Choices for dine-in or take-out are eclectic and meaty, from cheesesteak sandwiches, cheeseburgers, chicken wings and fried fish sandwiches, to specialty platters of Middle Eastern fare such as shish tawook, kufta and shish kababs with salads and sides. Try the Wanted Sauce, a light, creamy combination of garlic, lemon and secret spices with a kick. Nosh appreciated the small eatery’s friendliness, cleanliness and attention to detail. Wanted, 1160 University Avenue (at Curtis), Berkeley

Closed

BEAR’S LAIR TAVERN With the coming of spring, so closes another incarnation of the Bear’s Lair. Reopened by the Red Door Group at the beginning of 2018’s fall semester with chef David Lawrence at the helm, the newly named Bear’s Lair Tavern seemed the right fit for the on-again, off-again watering hole that first opened in 1962. However, a reader tipped Nosh to the sign posted this month mentioning “ongoing discussions” between the ASUC Student Union and restaurant owners around “re-imagining use of the space,” and it has once again closed until further notice. Stay tuned.

CHINA CENTER Shuttered after only a handful of months is China Center on Center Street, with new sit-down restaurant and bar Easterly Hunan Cuisine already poised to take its place. The closure and signage switch seemed to happen overnight the weekend of April 20, though Easterly was not yet entirely open to the public as of press time. There is an Easterly in Santa Clara, but it is unclear whether the new location is from the same owners. Nosh spoke briefly with one of the workers, who said the restaurant will open in May. We will have more details once the new venue is fully up and running.

Signs for Pho Le are up at the former Crave Asia restaurant in Berkeley.
Crave Asia has closed and signs for the next restaurant, Pho Le, are already up. Photo: Joanna Della Penna

CRAVE ASIA A reader alerted us to the abrupt closure of Crave Asia and a new sign already up at the corner of San Pablo and Gilman. The new restaurant’s name is Pho Le Restaurant & Tea Bar, and despite the speedy signage, the opening is TBD.

CREPES OOH LA LA The final Berkeley location of this long-standing crêperie mini-chain, née Crêpes A Go Go before a divorce led to divided properties and names, has closed for good. New restaurant Wanted opened in the space this month (see Openings).

JUICE ORIGINZ After two years of construction and only one year in business, Telegraph Avenue lost Juice Originz this month. The vegan shop specialized in fresh juices and almond milk drinks, including vegan smoothies. A new restaurant called Savory Kitchen will open in its place.

Priya in Berkeley closed in April 2019.
Priya in Berkeley closed after 16 years in business. Photo: Joanna Della Penna

PRIYA INDIAN CUISINE For 16 years, the block of San Pablo Avenue between Addison and University has been marked by the brick-red awning and white script signage of Priya Indian Cuisine. The family-owned restaurant, known for Northern and Southern Indian dishes and affordable buffets, quietly went dark this month, though the awning remains. A farewell note on Priya’s website says that it’s time for the owners to “take on another journey.”


SAHA Last week, Nosh detailed chef-owner Mohamed Aboghanem’s decision to close Saha at Shattuck and Haste on April 28, in order to focus on the Saha restaurant and lounge in San Francisco. Though his food will be missed locally, diehard fans can still find his expressive Middle Eastern cooking inside the Hotel Carlton on Sutter Street in San Francisco, just across the bridge.

SUNRISE DELI Family-owned Sunrise Deli operated a popular Berkeley falafel shop at the edge of Cal’s campus for 15 years, along with two brick-and-mortars in San Francisco, a food truck and catering service. Earlier this month Nosh learned that owners Linda Erakat and her husband and son would close the Berkeley shop, so that Erakat, who was its main operator, could recover from breast cancer surgery and devote more time to her grandchildren. The Berkeley community wishes her well. The other Sunrise Deli businesses remain in full operation, including catering still available in Berkeley.

Temporarily closed

A peek inside Gregoire, currently closed due to a fire.
A peek inside Gregoire, currently closed due to a fire. Photo: Joanna Della Penna

[Updated at 7:26 p.m.] GREGOIRE Despite a nasty kitchen fire the morning of April 3 that has left chef Gregoire Jacquet’s famous little French take-out shop in disrepair, contractors told Nosh on a recent visit that they are confident that Gregoire will reopen in a matter of weeks. After this story was published, co-owner Tara Jacquet wrote to Nosh with an update: the restaurant will reopen the week of May 13.

Oakland

Open

EL LORO Taking over from small, homestyle Mexican eatery Gerardo’s in the Laurel is El Loro, with a spruced-up interior and similar menu of tacos, burritos, quesadillas and soups. El Loro, 3811 MacArthur Blvd. (between Loma Vista and Brown), Oakland

HERE’S HOW Jennifer Colliau, a Bay Area bartending maven and former five-year beverage director of The Interval at Fort Mason’s Long Now Foundation in San Francisco, has opened her long-awaited solo project in Oakland. Lucky Oakland! The sophisticated, spacious bar, called Here’s How, boasts a high-involvement level of detail in cocktail science, allowing Colliau and her team of innovators to really stretch their legs. Look for a laboratory-like prep room featuring a bandsaw for cutting perfectly clear ice, digital thermometers to ensure drinks are served at just the right temperature, canned cocktails, and plenty of talent both behind the bar and in the kitchen. Chef Jordan Grosser, of Stag Dining, has carefully created a menu of bar bites that matches the creativity and execution of Colliau’s cocktails, with snacks like Popcorn Shrimp Popcorn, made with Bay shrimp, popcorn and Korean chile butter, and Pickled Eggs & Pretzels, turmeric-pickled eggs and a Firebrand soft pretzel with hot peppers and mustard. A private room in the back seats about 20 and booking it comes with its own bartender. Here’s How, 1780 Telegraph Ave. (between 17th and 18th), Oakland

I Scream Donuts' owner Katie Wages helps customers at her ice cream-filled donut shop in Oakland's Temescal neighborhood.
Owner Katie Wages helps customers at I Scream Donuts in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. Photo: Joanna Della Penna

I SCREAM DONUTS It’s off to a bare-bones start of mostly evening hours, zero decor and only a handful of flavors of Tara’s Organic Ice Cream, but one bite of chocolate-peanut butter swirl stuffed inside a warmed, glazed Rainbow Donut, topped with organic powdered sugar, and it’s clear why fans of new Temescal shop I Scream Donuts are happy to overlook any soft-opening hiccups. Owner Katie Wages also runs a small home daycare, hence her evening shop hours; summer will bring earlier weekday starts and more ice cream flavors. Look for a grand opening May 11, and we’ll see you in line. I Scream Donuts, 4731 Telegraph Ave. (between 47th and 48th), Oakland


Krispy Krunchy Chicken at White Horse Liquors in Oakland.
Krispy Krunchy Chicken at White Horse Liquors in Oakland. Photo: Sarah Han

KRISPY KRUNCHY CHICKEN Growing chain Krispy Krunchy is speedily turning gas stations and liquor stores into symbiotic, fast-casual vending stations for Cajun-style fried chicken, honey butter biscuits and sides such as mac ‘n cheese. Now found across the Bay Area, Krispy Krunchy’s newest outpost is inside the White Horse Liquors store on Telegraph Avenue. Look for the red, white and yellow banners. Krispy Krunchy Chicken, inside White Horse Liquors, 6606 Telegraph Ave. (at 66th), Oakland

OAKLAND UNITED BEERWORKS TAPROOM Oakland United Beerworks launched its roomy, inviting new Jack London Square taproom on April 12, featuring eight of its craft beers on tap. Hours are 4-10 p.m., Friday; noon to 10 p.m., Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m., Sunday. Oakland United Beerworks Tap Room, 262 Second St. (at Alice), Oakland

A bowl of Guilin noodle soup at R'Noodles in Oakland Chinatown.
Guilin noodle soup at R’Noodles in Oakland Chinatown. Photo: R’Noodles

R’ NOODLES Now open next door to Cam Anh in Oakland’s Chinatown is R’ Noodles, softly launched on the last day of March. The Chinese noodle eatery features soups, including Guilin-style noodles, as well as colorful dumplings and a range of additional chewy, slurpy specialties in an unassuming space. R’ Noodles, 930 Webster St. (between Ninth and 10th), Oakland

TOWN SQUARE EATS Found inside Jack London Square’s new Crooked City Cider Taphouse is Town Square Eats. The eatery, with a separate checkout station inside the taphouse, is a collaboration between Perle Wine Bar’s Rob Lam and Helen Chandra, and Great China’s James and Lea Yu. Cider-friendly menu items include sandwiches, salads, gluten-free pizza, Impossible Burgers and truffle chips. Town Square Eats, inside Crooked City Cider, 206 Broadway (at Third), Oakland

XINGONES Mayra A. Velazquez and Justino “Tino” Perez’s fried chicken and street tacos pop-up took over the kitchen of Fort Green in Old Oakland earlier this month. Here, you’ll find fried chicken and waffles, tacos, tortas, salads, nachos and other bar bites. Xingones started, and continues to pop-up, at the Laney College flea market (8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays). Fort Green, 736 Washington Ave. (at Eighth), Oakland

Mee Cook, a Thai noodle salad, at Yimm in Oakland.
Mee Cook, a Thai noodle salad, at Yimm in Oakland. Photo: Yimm/Facebook

YIMM Those addicted to the rich, flavorful Thai dishes of Imm Thai Street Food in downtown Berkeley will be excited to learn that sister restaurant Yimm, from the same owners, has opened in Rockridge’s former Osmanthus space. Look for a broader, more upscale menu of authentic Thai homestyle “comfort food,” including curries, wok noodles, omelets, rice plates and soups, as well as cocktails from the full bar. Yimm, 6048 College Ave. (at Florio), Oakland

Closed

BAR 41 Despite community fundraising attempts, Bar 41 on 41st at Broadway shuttered on April 25. In an Instagram post, owner Chris Parks announced, “That’s all she wrote, folks! Thank you to everyone that supported us in every way, I lived the dream and now it’s over.” Parks first bought the attractive, split-level space in 2017 when it was Café Underwood, renamed it Bar Underwood and eventually changed the name to Bar 41 to avoid confusing customers who expected a café. Despite quality drinks and food and loyal patronage, the bar and restaurant couldn’t find its footing and will be missed.

Oakland Chinatown restaurants, including Chan's Ktichen, now closed.
Oakland Chinatown Taiwanese restaurant Chan’s Kitchen has closed. Photo: Sarah Han

CHAN’S KITCHEN The Oakland location of Taiwanese eatery Chan’s Kitchen at 930 Webster has closed. The Chan’s Kitchen in Dublin remains open, and interestingly, the original Chan’s Kitchen in Newark is also still in operation, but has recently reopened as a fast-casual Japanese restaurant.

KOKOLATO After a brief attempt at a partnership, Classic Cars West owner Michael Sarcona has confirmed that he has parted ways with fledgling vegan gelato maker Kokolato. No word yet on where the Bali-originated purveyor might land next.

GERARDO’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT Long-loved, no-frills Gerardo’s in the Laurel District, known for its inexpensive, loaded burritos, tacos and occasional tamales, has closed. The space has reopened as El Loro (see Openings).

Geoffrey Deetz seen at The Temple Club. Photo: Jeffrey Edalatpour

TEMPLE CLUB Geoffrey Deetz’s well-regarded Temple Club, which specialized in central and northern Vietnamese cuisine, has closed. The restaurant had been listed for sale since late last year, but we have no further details at this time.

UMAMI MART The original location of Umami Mart at 815 Broadway closed on April 15, but Nosh is excited to welcome Umami Mart a bit closer to Berkeley when it moves its retail shop and new tasting room serving Japanese sakes, craft beers and select shochus to Temescal at 4027 Broadway. Although a May 1 opening date was hoped for, construction delays have pushed the date back.

Beyond

Open

EL AGAVE AZUL A tipster alerted Berkeleyside that Richmond welcomed attractive newcomer El Agave Azul at the end of March. Mexican entrees include chimichangas, enchiladas and larger plates with an emphasis on seafood. The restaurant is full-service, and there is a full bar. El Agave Azul, 12955 San Pablo Ave. (between Andrade and Natalie), Richmond

ANTIGUA COFFEE SHOP The newest location of this comfortable San Francisco-based mini-chain café offers bagel sandwiches, empanadas, panini and other lighter fare for breakfast and lunch, along with coffee drinks, juices and smoothies. The San Leandro shop operates in concert with Papaito (see below), in a roomy, shared space with indoor and some outdoor seating. Antigua Coffee Shop, 500 Davis St. (between San Leandro and Carpentier), San Leandro

A plate of Syrian pastries from Nana Desserts in El Cerrito.
A plate of Syrian pastries from Nana Desserts in El Cerrito. Photo: Sarah Han

NANA DESSERTS A new sweet shop specializing in Syrian desserts opened at the El Cerrito Peppermint Tree Plaza in late March. The young couple who runs the business are originally from Yemen, but told Nosh “the best desserts are from Syria.” Along with its most popular pastry, baklava, Nana carries warbat with pistachio, asabi with pistachio, baluriya and harisi (with almonds or pistachios). Aside from these Middle Eastern desserts, Nana also offers ice cream, smoothies, milkshakes, coffee and tea. Nana Desserts, 10172 San Pablo Ave. (near Lincoln), El Cerrito

NEW DUMPLING Thanks to a reader tip, Nosh editor Sarah Han shone a little spotlight last week on this new Chinese eatery softly opened in El Cerrito’s former Cigar Box Kitchen space. Though it’s the owners’ first restaurant, New Dumpling’s handmade dumplings filled with 10 (and growing) flavor combinations, along with its savory side dishes, Szechuan beef noodle soup and other specialties are already drawing eager crowds. Since the review ran, Nosh has heard the restaurant has sold out early every day, so you may want to plan your visit in a few weeks. New Dumpling, 10064 San Pablo Avenue (at Central), El Cerrito

A half herb-roasted chicken from Papaito, which opened a new location in San Leandro in April 2019.
A half herb-roasted chicken and sides from Latin American-inspired eatery Papaito Rotisserie, which opened a new location in San Leandro this month. Photo: Papaito Rotisserie/Facebook

PAPAITO ROTISSERIE Sharing a counter-service dining area with Antigua (see above) is newly-opened Papaito Rotisserie, a Latin American-inspired eatery with a popular flagship located in Hayward. The restaurant features roasted chicken, porchetta, beef ribs and lots of savory sides — plantain chips, grilled and roasted vegetables, casserole mushrooms — served a la carte, as well as Latin-inflected appetizers, salads and ceviche. Papaito is open for lunch and dinner. Papaito Rotisserie, 500 Davis St. (bet. San Leandro and Carpentier), San Leandro

TEN SECONDS The Yunnan (“Crossing Bridge”) rice noodle dishes at this new Old San Leandro Chinese noodle and boba shop are colorful, flavorful, fast-casual feasts, similar to the hot pot experience — diners add their preferred ingredients and condiments to a piping-hot stone bowl of broth, with cooked proteins and fresh rice noodles added last. Portions are reportedly sizeable and satisfying and spice levels nicely customizable. Meatier options include dry chicken wings and skewers. Ten Seconds, 145 W Joaquin Ave. (between Washington and Santa Rosa), San Leandro

Cod and potato fritters, fennel with seeded mustard dressing, pickled green almonds, preserved lemons and aioli at Top Hatters Kitchen & Bar in San Leandro.
Cod and potato fritters, fennel with seeded mustard dressing, pickled green almonds, preserved lemons and aioli at Top Hatters Kitchen & Bar in San Leandro. Photo: Top Hatters Kitchen & Bar

TOP HATTERS KITCHEN & BAR Top Hatters Kitchen & Bar opened quietly on April 24 in San Leandro, lovingly repurposing the former Top Hatters hat shop building into a welcoming, modern, neighborhood eatery and bar. What does this mean for diners in the ‘Dro? Seasonal craft cocktails with hat-inspired names; “bohemian,” modern Californian bar snacks; small and large plates with rustic and inventive touches; and platter specials for groups served family style, all with an eclectic, seasonal bent. Chef-owner is San Leandro resident DanVy Vu (Go Streatery, Girl Friday Zeppole), who shares the business with her husband, Matthew Beavers. The new restaurant and bar is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Top Hatters Kitchen & Bar, 855 Macarthur Blvd. (at Diehl), San Leandro

The Vampire Taco at Yard House in Concord.
The Vampire Taco at Yard House in Concord. Photo: Yard House

YARD HOUSE As of April 29, Concord has a new beer-lover’s destination in Yard House, located within The Veranda shopping complex. The hard-to-miss, 16,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor bar and restaurant belongs to a national chain of beer halls, with each location featuring curated taps dedicated to local brews. A beer-centric menu of bar bites includes lamb burgers, fried chicken dishes, steaks, seafood, Asian and Mexican-style plates such as the “vampire-style” street tacos — carnitas, bacon chorizo, chipotle, cumin crema and guacamole wrapped in a grilled, crispy, cheese-smothered flour tortilla. Try it with Concord’s local Epidemic Affliction Amber on tap. Yard House, The Veranda, 2005 Diamond Blvd. (at Willow), Concord

Closed

SCARLET CITY ESPRESSO BAR Pinball, Star Trek and coffee geeks will miss this Emeryville café devoted to all three pastimes and their fans, that boldly opened in the Triangle sector nearly five years ago and was beamed up April 14. Luckily, parent company Scarlet City Roasting Company still prospers.

Temporarily closed

POSTINO Lafayette’s picturesque Italian restaurant Postino suffered a fire on April 16, and the historic venue is temporarily closed for repairs and assessment. All reservations and private events are halted for the moment; diners can watch for updates on the restaurant’s website.