Bites: Zachary’s now serving deep dish on Grand; Milkbomb Ice Cream opens in downtown Berkeley

Zachary's Spinach and Mushroom stuffed pizza and Caesar salad.
Zachary’s Spinach and Mushroom stuffed pizza and Caesar salad. Photo: Zachary’s Chicago Pizza

ZACHARY’S GRAND OPENING Where chef Russell Moore and his kitchen crew once danced nightly before the flaming open hearth at Camino, pizza chefs are now baking signature pies at the newest location of Zachary’s Chicago Pizza. Leandra Schuler, vice president of the East Bay employee-owned pizza company best known for its stuffed deep-dish pies, emailed Nosh late Monday night with word that its fifth location, on Grand Avenue in Oakland, had softly opened that evening for dinner service.

According to Schuler, Zachary’s on Grand is taking its time to roll out its full-service hours. For now, it will be open from 5-10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 5 to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday for dine-in and take-out, with expanded lunch hours coming in the next few weeks. The restaurant asks diners to be patient, as waits for tables, getting through for phone orders and pizza cooking times may take longer than usual as the staff settles into the new space. But, if you are dining on-site, you can always sidle up to the full bar and enjoy a cocktail while you wait for your pie. Sounds perfectly grand. Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, 3917 Grand Ave. (between Sunny Slope and Jean), Oakland 

AFTER THE FLOOD Last Thursday, a plumbing disaster occurred at the California Jazz Conservatory and its underground eatery, Jazzcaffè. A sign posted on the door at the 2087 Addison explained leaking pipes in the bathroom were to blame, but Jazzcaffè owner Kristine Seinsch said via email that a backed-up sewer line was the cause and that the “damage is pretty severe.” We followed up with California Jazz Conservatory president Susan Muscarella, who had further details. According to Muscarella, the city’s main sewer line was clogged, causing flooding in the building. Fortunately, the conservatory was able to relocate upstairs with the blessing of the building’s owner, John Gordon. “I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of John Gordon, who stepped up to the plate in this emergency,” Muscarella said. But, Jazzcaffè isn’t so lucky. It will remain closed until the damage can be fixed, probably by January, Muscarella estimates, in time for the conservatory’s next term.

Milkbomb opened its downtown Berkeley ice cream shop on Oct. 19.
Milkbomb opened its downtown Berkeley ice cream shop with a ribbon cutting on Oct. 19. Photo: Joanna Della Penna

FROZEN DECADENCE Summer might be over, but ice cream season never ends. At least that seems to be the sentiment of those who stood in line for the new Milkbomb Ice Cream in downtown Berkeley. The San Francisco-based ice cream shop takes over space last occupied by Ici Ice Cream, which shuttered both of its Berkeley locations in November 2018.


On Saturday, Milkbomb celebrated the grand opening of its second location with a ribbon-cutting, opening its doors to a queue of excited dessert lovers who wanted to get a first taste of its most popular offering, the decadent Milkbomb Sandwich, two scoops of ice cream nestled within a warm glazed donut. Milkbomb also offers simple scoops — on a sugar or waffle cone — and ice cream floats. Whatever vehicle you choose to enjoy your frozen treat, a variety of sauces, sprinkles and other toppings can be added for extra decadence. Over the weekend, Milkbomb tried out a mix of its traditional and non-traditional flavors, including Holy Fudgies (chocolate, fudge swirls, walnuts, brownie bits), Mint Cookie, Red Bean, Creamy Horchata, and Strawberry Haze (non-dairy). Milkbomb Ice Cream, 2079 University Ave. (near Shattuck), Berkeley

G’BYE TO UPTOWN’S NATURAL BEAUTIES After 13 years, Uptown Oakland restaurant Flora is calling it quits. Eater broke the news last week, reporting that the Art Deco eatery, along with adjoining bar Fauna, have been sold by owner Thomas Schnetz. Both businesses, located at 1900 Telegraph Avenue, will close after one final service on Nov. 9. Although Uptown is regarded these days as a destination, it was a much different landscape in 2006 — for context, the Fox Theater hadn’t yet reopened. Flora was one of the pioneering businesses that helped spearhead and define the area’s revival.

Schnetz told Eater “personal reasons” are why he’s selling, but the good news is the new owner is someone who appreciates the space. Former Flora bar manager and Kon-Tiki co-owner Christ Aivaliotos will take the reins, with plans to open a steak house restaurant and adjoining tiki-themed bar in spring.

North Light's new menu offerings, clockwise from the top corner, French toast, Avocado Toast, The Basic, Farm Sandwich, Simple Green Salad, and Tomato Toast.
North Light’s new menu offerings from new chef Leo Batoyon, formerly executive sous chef at AL’s Place in San Francisco. Photo: North Light

NORTH LIGHT NEWS Dan Stone, co-owner of North Light in Temescal, got in touch to let us know about some updates at the cozy café-bar-bookstore on Telegraph Avenue. New to the staff is chef Leo Batoyon, formerly an executive sous chef at San Francisco’s renowned AL’s Place. Batoyon has been leading the kitchen for about two months now, rolling out updates dish-by-dish on both the all-day menu and North Light’s weekend brunch menu. Diners will find Batoyon’s stamp on the restaurant’s breakfast dishes, savory brioche toasts, sandwiches, salads, and larger plates, like a roasted pork collar dish, served with kimchi sweet and sour and miso garlic bean sprouts. The chef changes the menu regularly with the season and plans to add a hearty vegetarian plate in the coming days. (Not new to staff, but worth noting is North Light bar manager, Jenna Jones, who recently won first prize at Oakland Cocktail Week’s Town Throwdown event. So if you imbibe, be sure to try one of Jones’ concoctions).

North Light is a small space, but it has a spacious and inviting back patio. Stone said it recently made some upgrades to the outdoor area, including new redwood built-ins, a retractable roof and overhead heat, just in time for the changing season and cooler temps. North Light, 4915 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th), Oakland 

TEANCE RETURNS This summer, Berkeley’s Teance closed its Fourth Street tearoom with plans to open a new retail shop, indoor tasting room and outdoor tea garden at its West Berkeley warehouse. Although the space is still under construction, Teance has decided to launch its new tea bar, open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Along with these open hours, Teance just announced two special tasting events of teas from Tung Ting Village in Taiwan: Royal Courtesan Summer 2019 (1-2 p.m., Oct.23) and Charcoal Spring 2019 Tung Ting (5-6 p.m., Oct. 24). Both events are $20 to attend; advance reservations are required. Call (510) 524-1696 to make a reservation. Teance, 1036 Grayson St., Berkeley  

Duo Grill House will open on Solano Avenue in Albany.
Duo Grill House will open on Solano Avenue in Albany. Photo: Tracey Taylor

MEANWHILE IN ALBANY We heard from many readers who were saddened by last month’s departure of Ramen Kitchen (formerly Bo’s California Cuisine) on the Albany end of Solano Avenue. Several readers asked for further details about the restaurant’s seemingly sudden end. Owner Bo Tam didn’t want to go into specifics, but said: “different factors led to [the] decision to move on after 12 years at the location.” Tam said he has not finalized future plans, but assured Nosh he’d be in touch if he decided to open a new location in the area. What is a sure thing at 1491 Solano Avenue is a new restaurant. Brown paper covers the windows at the storefront, but a sign hangs out front for Duo Grill House American Kitchen, coming soon. We’ll have more details as we get them.

Alameda Harvest Festival takes place Oct. 26-27 in Alameda.
Alameda Harvest Festival, a fundraiser for the Alameda Point Collaborative, takes place Oct. 26-27.

HARVEST DAYS IN ALAMEDA This weekend, Alameda will celebrate its bounty of craft drinks and food at the Alameda Harvest Celebration, a two-day, all day, family-friendly festival hosted by Admiral Maltings and Almanac Beer Company. From noon to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Admiral Maltings and Almanac will be joined by 13 other purveyors that call the East Bay island home, including Alameda Island Brewing, Alameda Point Craft Soda Company, Building 43 Winery, Burnt Ends BBQ, Devout Coffee, Faction Brewing, Hangar 1 Vodka, Next Door Baker, Rock Wall Wine Company, Scolari’s Good Eats, Squabisch Pretzels, St. George Spirits and Urban Legend Cellars. Admission is free, with food and drink offered pay-as-you-go. Proceeds benefit Alameda Point Collaborative, a nonprofit working to end homelessness in the Bay Area. Alameda Harvest Celebration, 651 West Tower Ave. (at Pan Am Way), Alameda

CONSIDER THIS BENEFIT Another fundraiser helping support local unhoused people comes from Consider the Homeless, a nonprofit that supports those experiencing homelessness in Berkeley. Consider the Homeless serves up homemade soup and offers supplies to those in need every Thursday and Sunday. The group is made up of volunteers and mostly depends on support from the community. One of those opportunities to help is coming up, Nov. 5, when Consider the Homeless hosts its next fundraiser. “Films, Food and Discussion” will take place at Neyborly, and feature a buffet-style dinner with donated fare from Everett & Jones, Pizzaiolo, Thai Table, the Local Butcher Shop, Bette’s Oceanview Diner, Juan’s Place and the Lede and screenings of two short documentaries by Yesica Prado and Liberated Lens about Berkeley’s unhoused citizens, followed by a discussion. The program starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and reservations can be made through Oct. 31 by emailing eleanor@considerthehomeless.org with your name, the number of desired tickets and your phone number. A number of tickets will be available at the door. Neyborly, 2043 San Pablo Ave. (near University), Berkeley 

Iyasare on Fourth Street in Berkeley is currently closed due to a kitchen fire. Photo: Kate Williams

IYASARE TEMPORARILY CLOSED Well-loved Japanese restaurant Iyasare has been closed since mid-October, but the good news is, it’s just temporary. On Oct. 12, during lunch service, a small fire broke out in the kitchen, causing the restaurant to be evacuated until the flames could be extinguished. No one was hurt, including staff, and in fact, several customers were confused about why they were being ushered out in the middle of their lunch (with some diners wondering if they’d be able to return to finish their ramen). Unfortunately, the business had to close because there was some damage to kitchen equipment. The restaurant is currently in the process of assessing the extent of repairs needed, and will use this opportunity to make some improvements. Monica Kamio, wife of chef-owner Sho Kamio, told Nosh they hope to refresh the space during this downtime, but added it won’t be a drastic remodel. “People like it the way it is,” she explained. An reopening date is still to be determined, but the Kamios aim for early next year.

STARBUCKS TO LEAVE PIEDMONT AVE. The Starbucks café on Piedmont Avenue is scheduled to close after a final day of service on Nov. 1. In an email to Nosh, a Starbucks Media Relations representative wrote that the company’s decision was based on its performance in comparison to other locations: “As part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually evaluate our business to ensure a healthy store portfolio. After careful consideration, we’ve determined it is best to close the store at 4098 Piedmont Ave in Oakland, CA.” Starbucks said it will give all employees at the Piedmont café opportunities to transfer to nearby Starbucks locations.