Bites: Aburaya Go opens; Noodle Theory Provisions closes; ‘Save Yuzu Ramen’

A fried chicken sandwich from Aburaya Go.
A fried chicken sandwich from Aburaya Go. Photo: Aburaya

GO, ABURAYA GO! On Monday, Japanese fried chicken restaurant Aburaya opened its new take-out spot in Downtown Oakland, about two blocks away from its 17th Street location. Called Aburaya Go, the new outpost is on 15th Street in the newly renovated building shared with Garden House — the very place founder Adachi Hiroyuki started Aburaya as a pop-up, back in 2014. These days, Aburaya is run by Hiroyuki and partners Terry and Julia Sok-Wolfson, who own the Garden House (and are also co-owners of Cafe Encina in North Oakland). Aburaya Go is open for lunch only, for pick-up or delivery via Caviar. Along with its signature shio koji-marinated fried chicken (and vegan faux-chicken alternative) served as a plate or as a sandwich, Aburaya Go serves poke-don, oyakodon, a fried tofu plate and various vegetable sides. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Aburaya Go, 380 15th St. (at Franklin), Oakland

[Updated Oct. 16, 3:39 p.m.] NO MORE PROVISIONS After three and a half years in North Oakland, Noodle Theory Provisions at 5849 San Pablo Ave. has closed. Although the restaurant had planned to shutter Tuesday, Oct. 15, its last day of service was Sunday. On Monday, the restaurant posted an explanation for the early goodbye on Facebook: “Unfortunately because we don’t have enough staff left, Sunday was our last day of service! We are CLOSED for good starting Monday, 10/14. Thank you Golden Gate District for letting us serve your neighborhood!”

Noodle Theory Provisions opened in 2016 as a second location for Louis Kao’s popular pan-Asian noodle restaurant on Claremont Avenue in Rockridge (a third location opened in Moraga last year). While it served many of the same noodle soups, stir-fries and dumplings as the original, the follow-up on San Pablo Avenue was about three times larger and had a full liquor license to offer cocktails. It also was a space for Kao to try new things, like offer frozen stock and packaged noodles, and a brunch menu, which it stopped serving at the end of last year.

In an email sent to Nosh, the restaurant’s general manager, Jennifer Avelino, explained the management’s decision to close: “Our main reason for closing is mostly financial. Labor costs are high to keep a restaurant of this size ready for a busy shift. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough foot traffic regularly every day to sustain the size of the restaurant. Of course, we definitely had our share of busy lunches and dinners and a huge carry-out and delivery crowd, but it wasn’t consistent enough to keep our doors open any longer. We got into this neighborhood hoping to be pioneers to spark a little more growth, but unfortunately, we cannot fiscally continue to wait much longer. However, we are very excited to see two new shops popping up on our block very soon, including the tattoo parlor, Sorry Mom. We’ve loved serving the neighborhood for the last three and a half years, and we wish businesses here the best of luck! We will still be maintaining our other two restaurants in Rockridge and Moraga, so Noodle Theory fans still have a place to grab our classic bites!”


Yuzu Ramen in Emeryville.
Yuzu Ramen in Emeryville. Photo: Yuzu Ramen

MORE NOODLE NEWS The E’ville Eye reported that Yuzu Ramen in Emeryville is crowdfunding in an attempt to stay open. On Sept. 18, the restaurant created a GoFundMe campaign with a $100,000 goal to “save Yuzu Ramen.” The restaurant told the E’ville Eye it’s struggling because the cost of running the business has increased, mentioning Emeryville’s recent minimum wage hike (now at $16.30 an hour), the restaurant’s annual rent increases and the high cost of ingredients for it to make broths and ramen noodles from scratch. In 2018, Yuzu Ramen opened a second location in San Rafael. The restaurant says donations to the crowdfunding campaign will go to keeping both locations going. So far, Yuzu Ramen’s GoFundMe has raised 1% of its goal. Yuzu Ramen & Broffee, 1298 65th St. (at Hollis), Emeryville

The Meat Up took the place of Grato Burgers on San Pablo Avenue in Emeryville.
The Meat Up took the place of Grato Burgers on San Pablo Avenue in Emeryville. Photo: Sarah Han

GRATO DOWN, THE MEAT UP After seven years on San Pablo Avenue, Grato Burgers has called it quits and a new spot called The Meat Up has taken its spot. Nosh spoke with an employee who said The Meat Up is still run by the same family, but the parents who operated the business have stepped aside to make way for the kids’ new venture. The menu is pretty similar — sandwiches and burgers are still the focus here — but tightened up a bit. Breakfast has been cut, but there are still salads, smoothies and juices. All sandwiches and burgers are served on Acme bread and come with a side of fries (or onion rings, curly or garlic fries for $1 extra). The Meat Up also offers beer on tap or by the bottle and wine by the glass or the flight. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday; noon to 6 p.m., Sunday. The Meat Up, 4125 San Pablo Ave. (between Park and 45th), Emeryville

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME While some in North Berkeley are reconsidering the Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood nickname, a group of small business owners have come up with a new micro-hood moniker for their subsection of the area: the Rose Zone. Making up blocks bounded by MLK, Jr. Way, Rose Street, Cedar Steet and Sacramento, the Rose Zoners include several food businesses and organizations like The Edible Schoolyard Project, Fat Apple’s Restaurant & Bakery, Neighbors Market, North Berkeley Imports, along with mom-and-pop retail shops including Spokes Bike Lounge, Mr. Mopps’ Toy Shop, Subway Guitars and Organicare.

[Updated Oct. 17, 9:14 a.m.] GROUNDS TO A HALT Update: After this story was published, we were able to confirm that Uncommon Grounds is not closed and continues to do business. We apologize to the roastery and the readers who may have been affected by this erroneous reporting. Original story: Nosh reader Ben Stiegler contacted us with the news that Uncommon Grounds at 2813 Seventh St. in West Berkeley has been closed. The roastery from Berkeley Coffee & Tea has been in business since 1984, where it has been serving its own freshly roasted fair trade coffee and espresso, along with Numi tea. A frequent customer, and a fan of Uncommon’s water process decaf coffee, Stiegler said there was no prior warning for the closure. Nosh’s attempt to contact the business has been unanswered as of publication.

UNKNOWN PLEASURES A new food business will take over space last occupied by French bakery and deli, La Bedaine, which closed in May. Nosh contributor Moriah Van Vleet spotted a sign in the window on Solano Avenue that says that Voluptas, an artisanal bakery, is coming soon. We have been unable to dig up any more details about what to expect beyond that, but if the name (meaning “pleasure” in Latin, and the name of the Roman goddess of sensual pleasure) is any hint, perhaps those in North Berkeley and Albany who have mourned the loss of Alain Delangle’s pastries will have something new to look forward to. We’ll have updates as we get them. Voluptas will be at 1585 Solano Ave. (between Peralta and Tacoma), Berkeley

FAREWELL, LA CREMA Meanwhile, on lower Solano Avenue, tipster Raymond Yee emailed with the news that Albany Mexican restaurant La Crema has closed. In July, Nosh had noticed that although it was still open, La Crema had cordoned off the western part of the restaurant, which it was attempting to lease. When we called to ask about the change and what’s to come, the manager was not interested in sharing details, but in about a month’s time, La Crema transitioned to a casual counter-service format. The business has not been open since late September. We have no further details about why it has closed or if it plans to reopen.

BROKEN CHAINS Two franchise chain locations have recently shut their doors. In Berkeley, Extreme Pizza at 2352 Shattuck Ave., has closed in preparation for a major renovation of the building, a development called Logan Park, an eight-story, 209-unit housing complex. In a sign posted at the Shattuck Avenue restaurant, Extreme Pizza said it will be back in two years when the development is completed, but in the meantime, directed Berkeley diners to its location at 3204 College Ave. And in Emeryville, Denver-based burger chain, Smashburger is kaput after four years at 1111 40th St.

HAPPY HOUR FRIES Happy hour doesn’t necessarily come to mind when thinking Super Duper Burgers, but yes, the Bay Area burger chain does serve alcohol and it’s been offering early evening deals for adult diners who like to imbibe. Currently, customers who order a local Bay Area beer, wine or spiked shake during happy hour get a free order of fries (Times vary depending on location, but at East Bay Super Dupers, happy hour is from 3-6 p.m.). If you’re going for the spiked milkshake option, there’s also something else to note. There’s a new seasonal flavor from a local source: the Mr. Espresso Shake. Organic cold brew coffee from Oakland’s Mr. Espresso is blended with Straus organic vanilla soft serve to create the creamy caffeinated treat. According to Super Duper, the shake tastes like tiramisu. Super Duper Burgers,  2355 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley; 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville; 2001-2003 Diamond Blvd., Concord

WHO WILL BE HOP CHEF? This Saturday, 15 local beer breweries will take part in a fun competition at Drake’s Dealership in Uptown Oakland called Hop Chef. Each participating brewery was given a randomly selected ingredient — from fruity (figs, pink lady apples), spicy and bold (ginger & lemongrass, cardamom & coffee) to funky (oysters) — to incorporate into a brew. They’ll bring that resulting beer to Drake’s for a panel of judges and ticketholders to taste and determine this year’s Hop Chef (get it?). Check the website for the participating breweries and the ingredient they’re working with. Tickets are $30 in advance, $40 at the door, and include a signature tasting glass, unlimited tastes of each beer and voting tokens. So, hop to it! Drake’s Dealership, 2325 Broadway (near 23rd), Oakland

KAMAYAN COLLAB Salo Series, a nomadic Filipino dining event from chef Yana Gilbuena is heading to the Bay Area with L.A.-based Filipino American pastry chef Isa Fabro for three Tres Mares Dinners. Two of the events are in San Francisco, but one, on Oct. 21, will be at Oakland’s FOB Kitchen, where Gilbuena and Fabro will collaborate with chef Janice Dulce to prepare a lavish spread of pulutan (Filipino bar bites). The dinner will be a Kamayan feast, that is served on banana leaves, with food eaten by hand. Tickets are $65. FOB Kitchen, 5179 Telegraph Ave. (at 52nd), Oakland

This fall, Oakland's Pasta Shop will be making products with ReGrained flour upcycled from brewer's grains.
This fall, Oakland’s Pasta Shop will be making products with ReGrained flour upcycled from brewer’s grains. Photo: ReGrained

REGRAINED + PASTA SHOP ReGrained, a San Francisco-based company that transforms leftover grains from beer-making into nutrient-dense snacks, just announced a new partnership with The Pasta Shop in Oakland. Using ReGrained’s upcycled brewer’s grains, The Pasta Shop is making two fresh packaged noodles — fettuccine noodles, made with egg, and spaghetti noodles, which are vegan. For now, both noodles are available at both Market Hall locations, but the Pasta Shop is looking into other retail and wholesale opportunities, including possibly selling online via Good Eggs.

Mai Tais at the Kona Club on Piedmont Avenue, a stop on Local Food Adventure's Halloween tour.
Mai Tais at the Kona Club on Piedmont Avenue, a stop on Local Food Adventure’s Halloween tour. Photo: Local Food Adventures

CEMETERY GATES Local Food Adventures just added a Halloween day edition of its sold-out “Oakland Sweets, Spirits and The Beyond Cemetery Tour.” The two-hour tour starts at Fenton’s Creamery, heads to the final resting places of iconic local food makers at Chapel of the Chimes and Mountain View Cemetery, before ending with a Mai Tai (or non-alcoholic option) at Piedmont Avenue tiki bar, Kona Club. Tour starts at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 ($35 for non-alcoholic option). Advance registration is required.