News

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mid-Week Menu: Handlebar Shifts Gears, Cupkates Changes Owners, and Lost and Found Hosts a Sour Beer Fundraiser for Betti Ono Gallery

by Luke Tsai
Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 12:38 PM

The burger and tater tots at Handlebar. - BERT JOHNSON/FILE PHOTO
  • Bert Johnson/File photo
  • The burger and tater tots at Handlebar.
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Some pretty significant changes are on the horizon at Handlebar, the burger- and tater tot-serving West Berkeley bar, Berkeleyside Nosh reports. The main thing is that owner Jennifer Seidman has brought on Farm League — the design and management group behind Tigerlily and a handful of other East Bay bars and restaurants — to tweak the overall concept and approach to service, which will now skew even more casual: Moving forward, customers will order food directly at the kitchen window — a more “fast-casual” approach that seems designed, in part, to keep down the bar’s labor expenses. Handlebar will close temporarily at the end of April, and when it reopens it will have a new name.

See also:
All You Can Handle


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Monday, April 4, 2016

Cholita Linda Won’t Be Coming to Lakeshore Avenue After All

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 10:10 AM

Cholita Linda's signature fried fish taco. - CHRIS DUFFEY/FILE PHOTO
  • Chris Duffey/File photo
  • Cholita Linda's signature fried fish taco.
Earlier this year, I reported that diners in the Lake Merritt area would soon be feasting on Baja-style fish tacos, as Cholita Linda, Temescal’s wildly popular taqueria and pan-Latin restaurant, was set to open a second location at 3256 Lakeshore Avenue — the old Burrito Shop spot.

It turns out I jumped the gun: In an interview, Cholita Linda co-owner Murat Sozeri told me that landlords Barry and Elaine Gilbert backed out of their months-long “handshake agreement” last week, and have instead decided to lease the storefront to a falafel shop — despite the fact that the proprietors of Cholita Linda had already invested a significant amount of money into the restaurant.

See also:
Que Linda!


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Friday, April 1, 2016

El Cerrito Gets a Himalayan Market

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 4:49 PM

A new shopping option in El Cerrito. - HIMALAYAN MARKET
  • Himalayan Market
  • A new shopping option in El Cerrito.
For many true food adventurers, restaurants are a dime a dozen, and it’s the international markets — tucked away in ethnic enclaves and at remote suburban strip malls — that are often the real treasure trove.

Here in the East Bay, the latest addition is Himalayan Grocery (10340 San Pablo Ave.), a Nepalese-owned grocery store in El Cerrito that will have its first day of business on Sunday, April 3, according to Taniya Acharya, whose father, Kiran Acharya, is one of four Nepalese friends who are opening the store together.

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Antoinette Flames Out; Dominique Crenn Unfazed

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 11:17 AM

food-2-13293b436cbe7730.jpg
It isn’t every day that you publish an unflattering review of a restaurant only to find out, before the dust even settles, that the restaurant in question has decided to shut down. But that’s what happened this week with Antoinette, the ambitious — but deeply flawed — French brasserie at the Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel. On Wednesday, the hotel announced that the last day of business for the current incarnation of Antoinette will be next Wednesday, April 6, at which point the restaurant will close for several weeks and undergo a significant reboot.

See also:
Antoinette Serves Hotel Food for the One Percent

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mid-Week Menu: Francesco’s Is Closing, AlaMar Starts Brunch Service, and The Barrel Room Revamps Its Menu

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 5:29 PM

Francesco's (via Facebook).
  • Francesco's (via Facebook).
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Another day passes, and it’s time to say goodbye to another Oakland original: The Italian-American restaurant Francesco’s (8520 Pardee Dr.) will have its last day of business on Thursday, March 31. Inside Scoop reports that the family-run restaurant’s third-generation owners have decided to retire, and there wasn’t anyone in the fourth generation who wanted to take up the mantle. For its last day of business, the lunch special will be roast pork loin.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

An Alameda Couple Wants to Turn Their 122-Year-Old Victorian into a Restaurant

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 2:38 PM

The future site of La Maison. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • The future site of La Maison.
For their newest project, husband-and-wife restaurateurs Bobeck Parandian and Joann Guitarte want to take an old Victorian house on a quiet, tree-lined residential street in Alameda and convert it into a full-service French-Creole restaurant. And not just any old house: The restaurant that Guitarte and Parandian are calling La Maison — literally, “the house” — will be located in the 122-year-old Queen Anne Victorian at 721 Santa Clara Avenue that has been their place of residence for the past ten years.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mid-Week Menu: Itani Ramen Hosts Preview Pop-Ups, Chowhaus Closes, and C + M Bistro Opens

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 3:28 PM

The latest ramen contender (via Instagram).
  • The latest ramen contender (via Instagram).
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Fans of Hopscotch chef Kyle Itani’s ramen — which you may have sampled in its gloriously off-the-cuff pop-up iteration a couple of years ago — will be happy to know that the chef’s new ramen shop, Itani Ramen (1736 Telegraph Ave., Oakland), is almost ready, with a mid-April ETA. In the meantime, the restaurant is hosting a series of weekend pop-up preview dinners with a limited menu — two ramen options, gyoza, a salad, and some pickles the first time around.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dismantling Food Deserts in an Age of Speculation: People's Community Market Purchases Site for West Oakland Grocery Store

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 10:44 AM

The future site of People's Community Market - LIZ PROBST
  • Liz Probst
  • The future site of People's Community Market
Back in the fall of 2012, food activist Brahm Ahmadi stood in front of a packed room in East Oakland’s warehouse district and made a simple pitch: Would the assorted local business owners and community organizer types who had gathered consider investing in People’s Community Market, the ambitious full-service grocery store that Ahmadi wanted to open in West Oakland? Would they do their part to bring healthy food to one of the city’s most notorious food deserts, where the primary shopping option is the corner liquor store?

See also:
A Grocery Store for West Oakland


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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mid-week Menu: CommonWealth Pub Has Been Sold, Grand Fare Will Reopen, and 'Journeymen' Host Staff-Meal Pop-up

by Luke Tsai
Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 2:08 PM

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

1) CommonWealth Cafe & Pub (2882 Telegraph Ave.), the popular Uptown Oakland watering hole, has new owners. In a Facebook post earlier this week, Ahna and Ross Adair announced that they’ve sold the pub to two longtime customers: Lizzie Alford (a CommonWealth employee for the past two years) and Josh Rosenberg.

It’s unclear whether any major changes are forthcoming, but the Adairs say the bar will continue to offer customers “all the things you’ve come to know and love.” Beloved by Anglophiles, soccer fanatics, and Scotch egg eaters, CommonWealth is known, among other things, for its large selection of British beer. The pub’s sister location in Emeryville closed in December.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Belcampo to Bring Burgers, Cocktails to Oakland’s Jack London District

by Luke Tsai
Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 12:53 PM

Burgers by Belcampo (via Facebook).
  • Burgers by Belcampo (via Facebook).
What the Fork recently speculated that Belcampo Meat Co., the sustainability-focused meat company, was gearing up to open a new restaurant in a 5,000 square-foot warehouse in Oakland’s Jack London district, at 369 3rd Street. In an email, Anya Fernald, founder and CEO of the Oakland-based company, confirmed those plans and offered a general outline of what customers can expect.

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