A Dosa Pizza Gossip 

Two new joints jump into the thriving East Bay food scene.

Two new restaurants are joining the East Bay dining fray. The plywood sheets around one of them, Beauregard's, are finally coming down, easing the curiosity of all those who have been e-mailing me about it for the past four months. According to co-owner Gary Beauregard, the construction is almost complete and the city inspectors are coming this week. If all goes smoothly -- which it never does, as anyone who's ever opened a restaurant can attest -- the new Solano Avenue restaurant will open its doors on November 19.

Beauregard's will be a casual, full-service restaurant specializing in California-style pizzas and pastas. Beauregard describes his place as "family-friendly," but is quick to add: "It's not Denny's." The pizzas ($7.50 to $10) will come with adult-friendly toppings such as vine-ripened tomato with basil and fresh mozzarella, or Hobb's applewood-smoked chicken with caramelized red onions and grilled sweet peppers. There'll also be a number of pastas, salads, and grilled and roasted meats, along with a kids' menu. Cocktails will be on hand.

The restaurant has been under development since Gary left his position as VP of food and beverages at California Pizza Kitchen several years ago. Both he and his partner in the new restaurant, Barry Gilmartin, worked at CPK for more than a decade. Debra Beauregard, Gary's wife, is the third partner in the new venture.


The second newsworthy opening is Berkeley's Udupi Palace. Ever done a double-take while driving past the intersection of University and MLK? You're not alone. Drago's Bistro, which weathered bad reviews to stay afloat for almost a year, has suddenly become a vegetarian Indian restaurant.

Two weeks ago, Udupi Palace, a nationwide chain of South Indian restaurants, took over Drago's -- shutting its doors for barely the time it takes to say "special rava dosa" -- in order to join the battle for control of Berkeley's curry row. The Express reviewed the chain's Newark restaurant this past summer ("Hotter, Wetter, Nuttier," August 21), and went ape-shit over its giant dosas, vegetable-studded utthappams, and coconut-based curries. Mr. Murti, the chef, has come from New York to run the Berkeley branch, and has moved some of the cooks north from Newark to help him open up. All of the vegetarian dishes hail from Udupi, a city in the state of Karnataka that's famous for its cooks, and these items can be made vegan upon request.

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