FARMHOUSE KITCHEN EXPANDS IN EAST BAY Farmhouse Kitchen is quickly becoming an empire of Thai cuisine. First opened in San Francisco in 2015 by chef Kasem “Pop” Saengsawang and Iing Chatterjee, the restaurant gained a fanbase (and Michelin Bib Gourmand nod) for its colorful, flavorful and Instagram-worthy southern Thai fare and equally lively and festively decorated digs. It now has satellite restaurants in Portland, Oregon; Oakland’s Jack London Square, as well as a sister restaurant, Daughter Thai, in Oakland’s Montclair Village that serves a similar menu. Nosh learned from co-owner Atikom “Arty” Larpnampha that the restaurant owners now have their eyes on Berkeley.
According to Larpnampha, Farmhouse Kitchen is in the process of taking over the two-story space occupied by recently closed Dara Thai Lao Cuisine (1549 Shattuck Ave.) in the Gourmet Ghetto. Dara, opened in 1992 by the Xayavong family, was the first restaurant in Berkeley to serve Laotian dishes. Larpnampha said when Farmhouse Kitchen opens in the space, it looks forward to taking advantage of the restaurant’s rooftop dining space. Escrow closes on June 15, and the owners aim to open Farmhouse Kitchen Berkeley before the end of the year.
Concurrently, the Farmhouse Kitchen owners are also working on Farmhouse Factory at 16695 E. 14th St. in San Leandro, which will serve as the restaurants’ central kitchen and the site of a food truck, for grab-and-go service. It will be up and running in August. In the meantime, the owners and staff are preparing for the upcoming Pride Parade in San Francisco. Last year, Farmhouse Kitchen won an “Absolutely Fabulous Theme Contingent Award” for their Pride float, and the restaurant plans to go all out again this year.
SANCTUARY BISTRO TO CLOSE West Berkeley vegan and gluten-free restaurant Sanctuary Bistro is preparing for its final days. Owners Jennifer Jones Horton and husband, chef Barry Horton, have decided to close the nearly five-year-old establishment to move to Charlotte, North Carolina, later this year. The couple opened Sanctuary Bistro in 2014 with a mission to be a compassionate vegan neighborhood spot. Not only did the restaurant serve local, sustainable and animal-free fare, but it donated a portion of proceeds to animal welfare and environmental non-profits. The couple has put the space up for sale, but Sanctuary Bistro will remain open until a new buyer purchases it (Jones Horton told Berkeleyside that will likely be near the end of July). In an email newsletter, the couple says a desire to be closer to Jones Horton’s family is prompting the move, and they’ll be opening a new restaurant in Charlotte. So unless you’re heading to North Carolina too, be sure to schedule some last Sanctuary Bistro visits before it’s too late. Sanctuary Bistro, 1019 Camelia St. (at 10th), Berkeley
THE SHUTTER: 85°C BAKERY The Berkeley location of Taiwanese chain 85°C Bakery has closed. The shop at 21 Shattuck Sq. opened in 2015, and although the brand has an international following (and more than 1000 locations worldwide) for its affordable Asian-style cakes, pastries and breads, this particular outpost never quite seemed to find its footing. A note posted on the door thanks customers for their patronage and guides them to locations in San Francisco, Pleasanton and Daly City.
RARETEA ROCKRIDGE Signs have gone up at the space next door to Redfield Cider on College Avenue in Rockridge revealing its new tenants — RareTea. The Berkeley-based boba franchise (founded as TeaOne in 2016, changed to its current name in 2018), currently has seven branches, four in Berkeley, two in Davis and one in Sacramento. This will be its first outpost in Oakland, but the company also has five others on the way throughout California and grand plans to expand nationwide. RareTea distinguishes itself from other bubble tea spots with its “TeaPresso” machines, which it claims activates the healthy compounds in the tea leaves and creates a consistent product. RareTea brand owner Tony Lei told Nosh the new location will open in late June. RareTea will be at 5817 College Ave. (between Oak Grove and Chabot), Oakland
‘CAL’ DAYS ARE APPROACHING In February, when we last checked in with Cal Peternell, he was taking votes for possible names for his new counter-service restaurant and wine bar in Old Oakland. The verdict is in, it will be called The Lede. According to Eater, the lunch/dinner menu will lean towards Cal-Italian, in a more casual, rather than fine-dining, setting, with accessible prices to match. Still, those familiar with Peternell’s Chez Panisse days will taste similar flavors and see a familiar cooking approach at The Lede, meaning influences and inspirations from French, Italian, and Mediterranean fare, using local, seasonal produce. Kit Taylor (Prizefighter) will lead the bar program, offering beer, wine and cocktails. The restaurant is located in the former Pacific Coast Brewing, shared with Studiotobe, a co-working space and production studio for local journalists (and where Peternell records his Cooking By Ear podcast), which explains the journalistic name. Like a well-crafted lede (the introductory sentence, or hook, of a news story), Peternell told Eater he hopes his food will “provoke and evoke stories and conversation and collaboration.” The Lede aims to open by late summer. The Lede, 906 Washington St. (at Ninth), Oakland
MONTCLAIR VILLAGE UPDATES Nosh was recently invited to a restaurant walk with the Montclair Village Association, where we heard a few food-newsy tidbits about changes coming to the neighborhood, as well as an upcoming event for beer and wine lovers:
First up, the Starbucks at 2059 Mountain Blvd. is moving across the street to a larger space at 2080 Mountain Blvd. According to Daniel Swafford, the executive director of Montclair Village Association, the new location is about three times the size. Expect a grand opening location on June 13. At this time, there are no future tenants lined up for the 2059 Mountain Blvd. space.
While having sandwiches and fries at The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie (if you haven’t been yet, put Fifth Quarter on your list; it’s a winner), we saw a public notice for a new business next door, a new bakery-café from Virginia Davis, head chef, recipe developer and co-owner of Mulberry’s Market in Piedmont and owner of Virginia’s Live A Little, a gourmet salad dressing and croutons brand. We reached out to Davis, who confirmed she and friend Beth Barrett are behind the new project at 6466 Moraga Ave. The idea for the business spawned from a longtime daydream the two had of creating a café offering homemade baked goods and “killer cappuccinos.” The business partners are self-professed gym rats, so the spot will serve the type of fare they crave — “health-focused food,” meaning light and not overly indulgent, but still satisfying. As Davis explains, “We go to the gym and then look for ways to negate everything we’ve done there with something delicious.” Expect baked goods like scones, muffins, bars and cookies, including gluten-free versions, as well as breakfast sandwiches, egg white frittatas, protein bowls, daily soups, sandwiches and salads. The café will be counter-service, open for breakfast and lunch. The café is yet to be named, and the building is currently in escrow. If the sale, permitting and construction all go smoothly, it could be up and running by December or January. Davis has a bit of history in the neighborhood. She currently lives in the area, but she also once ran the Il Fornaio bakery in Montclair (That bakery closed years ago and eventually became the home to the Montclair Starbucks mentioned above!).
Montclair Village Association is currently fundraising to change the layout and design of Antioch Court near its intersection with Mountain Boulevard. If the Antioch Court Campaign is funded (construction costs total $750,000), it will repair potholes on the street and narrow a dangerous, too-wide crosswalk, while creating a European-inspired plaza for al fresco dining events, live entertainment series and places to sit. MVA aims for a ribbon cutting in late 2020.
Next Saturday, June 15, is the Montclair Beer, Wine, and Music Festival. The family-friendly event takes place noon to 6 p.m., featuring live music by JetBlacq, JAX, Mio Flores and The Latin Jazz AllStars and Andre Thierry and His Accordion Soul Music; a puppet show; and unlimited tastings of more than 40 craft beers and artisan wines. The celebration takes place on Mountain Boulevard between Medau and La Salle. Tickets for tastings are $30 in advance, $40 at the door.
NEW JACK EATS CUESA’s Jack London Square farmers market welcomes two new food vendors: Alameda’s East Ocean Seafood restaurant offers Hong Kong-style dim sum and Pepito’s Paletas serves artisanal Mexican ice pops. Both can be found at the market on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A LATTE LOVE Congrats to Mehdi Chung, Barista Trainer and Coffee Quality Specialist at Oakland’s Mr. Espresso, who recently won the Latte Art World Championship Open at Coffee Fest in Indianapolis. Chung competed against 64 contestants from across the world, who were judged on speed, balance/symmetry, color distribution, line clarity, creativity/difficulty, execution and presentation.
WARRIORS, COME OUT AND EAT We recently received a newsletter that got us thinking… Bob Klein at Oliveto sent subscribers an email titled, “What to do about the Warriors.” He goes on to write, “We’re all in on the Warriors, but they’re kind of rough on the restaurant business.” Klein explains he understands the NBA finals are a big deal but asks basketball fans to consider supporting their local restaurants while rooting for their local team. That might mean, as Klein proposes, ordering food to-go from your favorite neighborhood restaurant, to pick-up and enjoy at home while watching the game. Alternately, there are many spots — like Augie’s Montreal Deli in Berkeley, Lake Chalet in Oakland, Public Market and Hometown Heroes in Emeryville (serving Filipino food from Likha) and Hang Ten Boiler in Alameda, just to name a few — that will be airing the games if you want to chow down while watching the games with other fans.