Wednesday, September 12, 2012

[UPDATED] Mid-Week Menu: Berkeley’s T-Rex Sold (Jimmy Bean's to Follow?), Uptown’s Bakesale Betty Closed

By Luke Tsai
Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

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

1) The observant restaurant watchers at Chowhound were the first to spy changes afoot in Haig and Cindy Krikorians’ K2 restaurant mini-empire, citing a rumored ownership switch both at BBQ joint T-Rex and the casual cafe Jimmy Bean’s. Inside Scoop confirms that Matt Sturm, co-owner of San Francisco’s Fly Bar and Solstice, has purchased T-Rex — he offers the assurance that “Everything will stay the same.”

Meanwhile, a phone call over to Jimmy Bean’s confirmed that a new ownership team will likely be announced there, too, within the next few weeks. Stay tuned for further details.

2) Inside Scoop has an extended interview with Jerry Jaksich, Sam White, and Rayneil De Guzman, the three partners who are bringing their Chez Panisse pedigree to Rockridge’s soon-to-open Ramen Shop. Of particular note: Jaksich talks about his noodle education, which began with an apprenticeship at a famous ramen shop in Hokkaido — literally with him mopping the floors on his hands and knees, Daniel-san style, with a tiny scrap of paper.

3) Also from Inside Scoop: Borgo Italia is gearing up to open in the former B Oakland space very soon — possibly this weekend. The Scoop confirms previous reports that, despite Paul Ferrari’s involvement, the restaurant won’t have anything to do with the A.G. Ferrari chain — Ferrari says he’s mostly just an investor. The day to day will be managed by Ferrari’s partners in the project: two Italians, Franco Camboli (a pastry specialist who will run the kitchen) and Fabio Dalla Vache (who will run the front of the house). The menu will feature Neapolitan-style pizza and house-made pastas.

Edit: A press release sent out this afternoon sets a definite opening date: next Tuesday, September 18. Borgo Italia's hours will be 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

View of the Jack London Square waterfront location of The Forge
  • View of the Jack London Square waterfront location of The Forge
4) Diablo Dish has the scoop on The Forge, the new pizza place that’s coming to Jack London Square. Notable details include the name of the chef (Jeffrey Amber, formerly of W Hotel’s XYZ restaurant) and the revelation that Jeffrey Krupman (aka The Pizza Hacker) will serve as pizza consultant, contributing, among other things, his recipe for a labor-intensive sauce made from dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes. An official press release touts the restaurant’s two other key features: a massive 800-degree Italian Valoriani oven and a pretty waterfront view.

5) In news that should surprise exactly no one who has followed Bakesale Betty’s shrinking hours (and shrinking menu) over the past couple of years, the fried-chicken-sandwich specialist’s on-again, off-again Uptown location has closed. According to Diablo Dish, the bright side is that the original Telegraph Ave. shop should soon experience a (modest) uptick in hours and the return of a few oldies-but-goodies: apple pie and chicken pot pie. But whither my favorite: the long-vanished lemon bar?

Bakesale Bettys bread and butter (via Facebook).
  • Bakesale Betty's bread and butter (via Facebook).
7) East Bay Dish has details about two all-you-can-eat brunch buffets in Old Oakland: on Sundays at Liege ($15), where there are 60” flat-screens for football watching, and both Saturdays and Sundays at District ($17).

8) Continuing its ongoing image rehabilitation project, Skates On the Bay has hired a new executive chef: Adam Brown, formerly of the Livermore-based Beets Hospitality Group. His plans include adding Asian touches to the restaurant’s new raw bar.

9) It’s that time of year: The Pasta Shop has its special takeaway menus up for the Jewish holidays, for those who don’t have the inclination to bake their own challah or noodle kugel. Check out this year’s offerings for Rosh Hashanah (available for pickup 9/14-9/17) and Yom Kippur (9/24-26).

10) Finally, in case you missed our recent stories about a potential food cart rental program and the new multi-tenant commercial kitchen incubator facility coming to West Berkeley, make sure you check them out.

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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