Friday, January 22, 2016

Cholita Linda to Bring Fish Tacos, Peruvian Chicken to Lakeshore Avenue

By Luke Tsai
Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge CHRIS DUFFEY/FILE PHOTO
  • Chris Duffey/File photo
East Bay fans of Baja-style fried fish tacos won’t find a much better version than the one served at Cholita Linda’s farmers’ market stands and its popular Telegraph Avenue restaurant. Now, you can add another brick-and-mortar location to the list: The owners of Cholita Linda plan to open their second branch in the old Burrito Shop location at 3256 Lakeshore Avenue, as first noted on the Splash Pad Park neighborhood group’s Facebook page.

That location was the subject of some controversy last fall when The Burrito Shop’s owners, who occupied the spot for nearly thirty years, were unable to persuade the landlord to renew their lease. At the time, the prevailing rumor was that the Peet’s next door was planning to expand into the space. That never came to fruition, and, as it turns out, Lakeshore will be home to a Mexican restaurant after all — though it will be fish tacos, not burritos, that will be the specialty of the house.

Co-owner Murat Sozeri said the basic setup of the restaurant would be the same, but with at least one notable menu addition. Vanessa Chavez, the chef (and Sozeri’s wife), had been wanting to add Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken — aka pollo a la brasa — to the menu for quite some time, but decided that operating a rotisserie wasn’t feasible with their kitchen setup. Instead, both of the Cholita Linda locations will add a grilled chicken plate and grilled chicken sandwich to the menu, prepared using those same flavors as a traditional pollo a la brasa, but without the rotisserie.

Cholita Linda also serves a variety of other pan-Latin dishes that draw on Chavez’s Cuban, Peruvian, and Mexican ethnic background. (The simple rice and beans is one of the best versions in town.)

Sozeri said he plans to add more seating to the new location, noting that the Burrito Shop's old layout was less than ideal. And if the city approves the plans, he’d also like to add some outdoor seating along the side of the building that faces the adjacent Trader Joe's parking lot. That said, Sozeri expects that the Lakeshore location may be more of a takeout-oriented spot than the original Telegraph Avenue shop.

If all goes according to plan, the new Cholita Linda will open in the late summer or early fall.

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