Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Kingston 11 Comes Uptown, Top Dog Serves ‘Pizzahhh,’ and T-Rex Plans a Memphis-Style BBQ Buffet

By Luke Tsai
Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) The Jamaican eatery Kingston 11, which was last seen popping up semi-regularly at Berkeley's Guerilla Cafe, has found a permanent home in Oakland at 2270 Telegraph Avenue, the former location of Off the Hook. During Kingston 11’s pop-up days, the jerk chicken and other homestyle Jamaican specialties got a rave from Express critic Jesse Hirsch. The full-service brick-and-mortar restaurant will feature a full rum bar and seating for about ninety diners. The proprietors (Adrian Henderson, Nigel Jones, and Andre King) told What the Fork that they expect to be ready for a soft opening by mid to late April. Stay tuned — I’ll post a more detailed preview in a few days.

A computer rendering of Kingston 11s interior (via Facebook).
  • A computer rendering of Kingston 11's interior (via Facebook).
2) In an unexpected turn of events, the “Northside” Berkeley location of Top Dog (2503 Hearst Ave.) has been reborn as Pizzahhh! — yes, a pizzeria. Berkeleyside notes that four different sausages (Top Dog sausages?) are available as toppings, and based on the lone photo on Yelp, it looks like personal pies are the name of the game. The remaining Top Dog locations in Oakland and Berkeley are unaffected by the change.

3) Berkeleyside notes that BEC’s Bar & Bistro (2271 Shattuck Ave.) has closed after the owners lost their lease. Meanwhile, less than two months after Berkeley’s Sea Salt rebranded itself as Eat + Lounge, the restaurant is closed for business — a Chowhound poster first spotted the succinct closure notice on the Eat + Lounge website.

4) Tablehopper has the scoop on a new restaurant opening in the former Addie’s Pizza Pie location in South Berkeley. Next Door Restaurant (3290 Adeline Ave.) is the first restaurant venture for owners Henry Alvarez and Dionne Roberts. The chef will be Sharon Lorraine (of the long-shuttered Purple Plum), and it sounds like the menu is going to be focused on comfort foods of all stripes: fried chicken and eggplant Parmesan, but also things like ropa vieja and Persian chicken wings. May 1 is the expected opening date.

Mac and cheese without leaving your car.
  • Mac and cheese without leaving your car.
5) Mac and cheese fans and fans of not waiting in line: Oakland’s Homeroom (400 40th St.) has good news. Last night, the restaurant launched a “drive-thru” service whereby you can order and pay via smart device app, park your car in a designated area in front of the restaurant (marked by orange cones), and sit back — like a conquering king — while a Homeroom employee brings out your food. (Hat tip to Inside Scoop.)

6) T-Rex BBQ (1300 10th St., Berkeley), under new ownership since the fall, is hosting a Memphis-inspired barbecue buffet on Wednesday, March 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. — all you can eat for $20. The buffet spread will include ribs, smoked chicken, pulled pork, red beans and rice, fried corn on the cob, chopped salad, and cornbread.

7) Yesterday, District (827 Washington St.), the trendy Old Oakland wine bar, launched the Carriage House, a lunch-hour takeout window located on the back side of the restaurant (on 9th St.). The Carriage House is open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on weekdays, and will serve mostly soups, salads, and sandwiches — a Cuban, a fried chicken sandwich, a sandwich with spiced lamb meatballs, etc. For those with lighter appetites, there will also be a variety of slider-like bocaditos. Check out the whole menu. Eventually, the Carriage House will offer online ordering and delivery service throughout downtown Oakland; in the meantime, you can call in orders to 510-452-0031.

8) Berkeleyside has a feature on East Bay food trucks that are planning to expand into brick-and-mortar restaurants: Fivetenburger and Jon’s Street Eats (both of whose upcoming restaurant ventures we’ve noted in past editions of the Mid-Week Menu), plus LIBA Falafel, whose owner, Gail Lillian, is still searching for a suitable location, it seems.

9) Finally, ICYMI, check out my most recent blog posts: a look at The Bodega at Duende and a sad goodbye to Scream Sorbet. May she rise again.

Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I'll read ‘em all.

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