Bites: Camino owners to open Kebabery in Berkeley; Foodieland Night Market

A lamb kebab sandwich from The Kebabery in Longfellow. Photo: Sarah Han

KEBABERY BERKELEY If you’ve been wondering what’s going on at the former Simply Greek location on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, we have some news for you. Eater reports that a second location of the Kebabery, the excellent fast-casual sister restaurant to Camino, is taking over the spot. Opened in 2017 by Russell Moore, Allison Hopelain and Brian Crookes, the Kebabery in Oakland’s Longfellow neighborhood serves up grilled meats, vegetables and now tofu, as sandwiches in folded grilled flatbreads or as plates, with pickles and salads. According to Eater, the new location in Berkeley will offer a similar menu, but will be open for lunch, and its larger size will allow the Kebabery to offer more catering.

Chef-owner Russell Moore grills flatbreads at the Kebabery in Oakland.
Chef-owner Russell Moore at the Kebabery in Oakland. Photo: The Kebabery/Instagram

When Nosh spoke with Hopelain last October, when the news that Camino was closing first emerged, she said they were looking to open another Kebabery in the East Bay. Moore and Hopelain closed Camino after 10 years, citing the physical and logistical difficulties of running a full-service restaurant in the Bay Area. Opening a second location of their smaller counter-service restaurant, which requires less staff, a smaller, more straightforward menu and less day-to-day management by the owners, was the obvious way to go. Hopelain told Eater they would like to open “as soon as possible,” which could be as soon as the end of the year. The Kebabery will be at 2929 Shattuck Ave. (near Ashby), Berkeley

A serving of sticky rice with mango from San Jose-based food truck vendor Rice Rice Baby.
San Jose-based food truck vendor Rice Rice Baby will bring its sticky rice desserts to FoodieLand Night Market in Berkeley in July. Photo: Rice Rice Baby/Instagram

BERKELEY ASIAN NIGHT MARKET Last year, the East Bay crowds flocked to an Asian night market-inspired event that took place in Pleasanton. This year, a new night market is coming closer to home — to Golden Gate Fields, which straddles both Albany and Berkeley. FoodieLand Night Market will be held in three installments taking place this summer and fall, from July 5-7, Aug. 2-4 and Oct. 4-6. FoodieLand will feature “Asian-inspired” street food from about 100 vendors, with the addition of arts and crafts, games and live entertainment. Expect savory and sweet eats like Taiwanese fried chicken, dumplings, shave ice, bao, egg puffs, boba, Hawaiian BBQ, Thai rolled ice cream and lots more (Check the FoodieLand site for confirmed vendors). A few things to note: FoodieLand hours will be from 3 p.m. to midnight, Friday through Saturday; 3-11 p.m., Sunday. The event will be crowded and you’ll likely wait in lines for the most popular offerings. Tickets are $5 (cash only in person; children 5 and under are free), but you can skip the line to get in if you buy tickets online and arrive before 5 p.m. Parking is $10 (cash only) and will be limited (ADA designated parking is available through the Buchanan Street – North Lot entrance); consider biking, carpooling or ridesharing options. Some vendors will take cash only; there will be ATMs on site, but might as well hit up an ATM before entry to save time and avoid standing in another line. FoodieLand, Golden Gate Fields, North Lot, 1100 Eastshore Hwy, Berkeley

OAKLAND GETS MELOMELO The Bay Area’s first kava bar, MeloMelo in Berkeley, is expanding. According to Hoodline, a third location (its second is in Santa Cruz) is coming to Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood, in the former Grand Bakery space. Kava, a Polynesian mood-altering beverage made from the roots of the Piper methysticum plant, is purported to ease anxiety and help with insomnia — perhaps a nice alternative for teetotalers or the under 21 crowd (MeloMelow serves to those 18+) looking to socialize over drinks. Along with kava drinks, the new MeloMelo café will offer other refreshments, like sipping chocolates, tea and kombucha. MeloMelo Oakland aims to open in July. MeloMelo will be at 3264 Grand Ave. (between Mandana and Lake Park), Oakland


A large Canadian flag hangs on the counter at Augie's Montreal Deli in Berkeley.
Augie’s Montreal Deli celebrates Canada Day with a discount for Canadians. Photo: Augie’s Montreal Deli/Facebook

CLEARLY CANADIAN Calling all Canucks with cravings for smoked meat sandwiches and poutine, Augie’s Montreal Deli is offering a special deal in honor of Canada Day. This Sunday (Canada Day is July 1, but Augie’s is closed on Mondays!), any diner who can provide proof of Canadian citizenship, will get a special discount. We checked in with owner Lex Gopnik-Lewinski who explained the deal, “We are offering to give our customers who show proof of Canadian citizenship the exchange rate between the loonie and the US dollar in their favor. So if on Sunday the loonie is worth 18% less then the US dollar our Canadian customers get that discount on their order.” A little complicated, eh, but a deal’s a deal! Augie’s will also be hosting Canadian trivia, starting at 1 p.m., with Augie’s merch and other Canadian-themed items as prizes. Augie’s Montreal Deli, 875 Potter St. (near Seventh), Berkeley

OKINAWA ONIGIRI Recently, we spotted a sign at the old Cupcakin’ Bake Shop on Durant Avenue in Southside, Berkeley. An anime-style girl face that looks a bit like Peko-chan announces the coming of Riceful. Nosh contacted the restaurant, which said, “We will be serving Japanese rice sandwich,” or onigiri. But unlike the onigiri you’ll find at local spots like Oori, Tamon Tea or Berkeley Bowl, Riceful will specialize in Okinawan-style onigiri, which have heartier fillings, like Spam, hamburger patties and fried egg (culinary influence from American military presence on the Japanese prefecture), and come as a flat square or rectangle, with the crisp nori folded in half around the rice and fillings. When it opens, Riceful will be a counter-service to-go operation, but it’s likely not opening this month. “We are still working with the city for approval,” said the restaurant’s representative. Riceful will be at 2435 Durant Ave. (near Telegraph), Berkeley 

FYI, BERKELEY MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE As per an ordinance passed in 2016, Berkeley’s minimum wage will increase to $15.59/hour on July 1. Going forth, every year on July 1, the city’s minimum wage will “increase by an amount corresponding to the prior calendar year’s increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers for the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA metropolitan statistical area.”

EAST BAY CHEFS CELEBRATE GREENS Celebrated San Francisco farm-to-table vegetarian restaurant Greens is turning 40 this year. Greens was founded in 1979 by the San Francisco Zen Center, using organic produce from the center’s beautiful and bountiful Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin. Over the years, Greens (headed by chef Annie Somerville since 1985) has become a dining destination by vegetarians and omnivores alike. To celebrate its four-decade milestone, the landmark restaurant will be getting a little help from some friends, including a few of the East Bay’s biggest names in the food world — Alice Waters, Reem Assil and Tanya Holland (along with SF chefs Suzette Gresham, Kim Alter and Pam Mazzola).

For Greens 40th Anniversary Acclaimed Chef Dinner Series, each guest chef will create a meatless four-course prix fixe meal inspired by past menus at the iconic restaurant. The first meal starts on July 9 with Reem Assil, who’s designed a tempting menu featuring seasonal man’oushe (flatbread) topped with akkawi cheese, za’atar, zucchini blossoms and caramelized onions; mezze plates with fresh baked bread, beet kibbeh, baba ghanouj, smoked labneh and marinated olives; shish barak (spinach and pine nut dumplings in garlic yogurt, mint oil, cured sumac); and summer mahalabiyah (milk custard with strawberries, rhubarb, rose and pistachio). Tickets for each dinner are $85 per person with optional wine or beverage pairings. Find the schedule and make reservations on the Greens’ website.

The interior of Dyafa in Jack London Square.
Dyafa in Jack London Square. Photo: Sarah Han

DYAFA UPDATE Speaking of Reem Assil, on Monday, Nosh received a prepared joint statement from the chef and Alta Group as a response to our request for more information about what’s to come of Dyafa, the Jack London Square restaurant that Assil and Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group opened last April. In May, news broke that Assil will be leaving her role as a consultant at Dyafa this August. Both Assil and Alta Group refrained from answering media queries for comment, leading many to wonder if Dyafa would close after the James Beard Award-nominated chef left the table.

The statement gives us an answer: “On August 9th, 2019, Chef Reem Assil’s consulting agreement with Dyafa will come to an end, and Assil will no longer be affiliated with Alta Restaurant Group. Chef Assil is proud of the menu and experience that the team created together and wishes Dyafa and the hardworking staff continued success. Assil and Alta Group will work together over the next two months to ensure a smooth transition for Dyafa and the team. Assil, who was nominated for a James Beard Award for her Fruitvale restaurant, Reem’s California, has recently expanded into wholesale baking operations across the Bay Area and will continue to focus efforts on that expansion and Reem’s. Alta Restaurant Group will continue leading operations at Dyafa, along with Alta Adams in Los Angeles, and Coi and Plum Bar in the Bay Area.” Dyafa, 44 Webster St., Jack London Square, Oakland

Several bottles of mezcal sit on a table at Agave Uptown in Oakland, where they'll host a mezcal tasting on July 3, 2019.
Agave Uptown in Oakland will host its second annual Mezcal tasting on July 3. Photo: Agave Uptown/Instagram

MEZCAL TASTING On July 3, from 6-10 p.m., Agave Uptown owner-chef Octavio Diaz and bar director Leo Lopez will host the Oakland Oaxacan restaurant’s second annual mezcal tasting, where guests will not only try 10 different mezcal brands but will get a lesson on how the agave-based distilled spirit is made and best ways to imbibe it. Tickets are $45 and include the tastings, Oaxacan small bites and live music. Agave Uptown, 2135 Franklin St. (at Broadway), Oakland

FYI, HOMESTEAD SUMMER BREAK The good people at Homestead in Oakland are just about ready for their annual summer break. The Piedmont Avenue restaurant will be closed from July 1-8, so be sure to plan your next visit before or after. Homestead, 4029 Piedmont Ave. (at 40th), Oakland