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East Bay restaurants that temporarily closed earlier this year due to coronavirus concerns have started to reopen for outdoor dining, takeout and delivery. Nosh continues to refresh these lists, as well as provide additional industry news and alerts in the time of COVID-19.
The following spotlights the East Bay food and drink venues that are brand new, and those businesses that have shuttered permanently. If you know of others, please let us know in the comments or by emailing email@example.com.
COMAL NEXT DOOR OAKLAND Comal Next Door has come to Oakland! The fast-casual taqueria, twin to Comal Next Door in downtown Berkeley (itself born from the more upscale, sit-down Berkeley restaurant Comal), opened in the Adams Point neighborhood June 22. Both Comal Next Doors offer daily, contactless takeout and third party delivery of tacos, tortas, bowls, burritos, beverages and more for lunch and dinner. (Nosh recommends the corn, poblano and potato burrito.) Comal Next Door Oakland, 550 Grand Ave. (between Euclid Avenue and El Embarcadero), Oakland
FUSION MEDITERRANEAN Taking over the former 475 Café in downtown Oakland is Fusion Mediterranean, a new casual eatery that opened June 9 for takeout. Like its predecessor, Fusion serves café fare (hot drinks, smoothies, sandwiches, soups, salads) for breakfast and lunch, but with a heavier focus on its Mediterranean offerings, like falafel and shawarma sandwiches and plates. Fusion Mediterranean, 475 14th St. (between Clay Street and Broadway), Oakland
HABIBI’S KITCHEN East Oakland has a new, family-owned Afghan eatery in Habibi’s Kitchen, opened in late May and tucked inside La Estrella Market at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and 38th Avenue. The counter-service spot features halal kebab plates, wraps, sandwiches and the occasional foray into burger territory and beyond. Habibi’s Kitchen is open daily for takeout from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Habibi’s Kitchen, 3800 Foothill Blvd. (at 38th Avenue), Oakland
KRISPY RICE If you order a lot of food from delivery apps, you may have noticed a new option called Krispy Rice, a delivery-only restaurant from popular L.A.-based sushi chain Katsuya. Krispy Rice’s name and concept are based on Katsuya’s popular signature dish — spicy tuna on crispy rice cakes. Operating out of a ghost kitchen, Krispy Rice makes handrolls, maki and nigiri made with responsibly sourced fish, along with Japanese-style sides. Food can be ordered a la carte or as combinations in specially made boxes. According to a press release from the company, Krispy Rice plans to open 75 locations in the next two years.
THE LEDE AT CAFÉ ENCINA For those who missed the update to our closure notice last month: Though The Lede’s physical restaurant inside Studiotobe has shut, the operation was reborn in early June as a pop-up inside Café Encina. The Lede runs Thursdays and Fridays under chef Carlo Espinas, with seasonal cuisine for takeout or outdoor porch dining. Menu choices include an option to help buy a meal for someone in need during this time of crisis; The Lede’s free meal program donates more than 100 prepared meals a week to underserved Oakland communities. The Lede at Café Encina, 308 41st St. (near Broadway), Oakland
LIBA As first reported in Nosh, 11-year-old falafel business Liba has unfortunately succumbed to the economic effects of the pandemic. Liba began as a Bay Area food truck in 2009, and was a very visible, mobile falafel-based salad bar, sating vegetarians and those seeking nutritious food in a fast-casual arena usually known for meat and grease. Owner Gail Lillian then opened the equally popular Oakland brick-and-mortar in 2014, retiring the truck in 2016. We still miss the truck, and already sorely miss the eatery. Liba was at 380 17th St.
MILIKI Nigerian restaurant Miliki has closed after 20 years, as first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. Along with its distinctive stews, entrees and sauces, Miliki was known for hosting popular live music and West African community events for two decades. The closure leaves just one Nigerian restaurant in Oakland: Ruth’s Buka. (Puff-puffs, a Nigerian specialty, are also available for delivery from Gourmet Puff). Miliki was at 3725 MacArthur Blvd.
ONE PLUS Not just more tea for Berkeley, One Plus offers some appealing pluses, including a sleek, sophisticated vibe, Ritual Coffee drinks and jian bing (Chinese crepes) to go with its menu of fruit, milk, iced and pink salt milk cap teas. Some outdoor seating is available. One Plus, 2161 Allston Way (between Oxford Street and Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley
ITALY ON GILMAN A new, barbecue-free era has begun at the large, bi-level bar and restaurant with high windows and patio dining at 1300 Tenth St., former home of T-Rex Barbecue and, most recently, La Calle 10 (see Closed). Opened June 26, the Italian restaurant is from La Calle 10 owner Juan Romo, whose small empire of local restaurants also includes La Capilla, Casa Latina, La Mission, Taqueria Talavera and Taqueria Monte Cristo, among others. Italy on Gilman’s menu, from executive chef Fabio Bucio, includes panini; antipasti; pizza and calzones; pastas, heartier entrees such as chicken or veal marsala, piccata or Parmigiana; desserts; cocktails and plenty of wine. The restaurant is open on two levels for outdoor dining, and serves lunch and dinner daily. Italy on Gilman, 1300 Tenth St. (at Gilman Street), Berkeley
CAFÉ OHLONE California’s first and only Ohlone restaurant temporarily shuttered to protect its community members during the pandemic, but in June, it lost its home base with the closure of University Press Books, where chef-founders Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino have operated Café Ohlone pop-up events on the bookstore’s back patio since 2018. While the 2430 Bancroft Way location is gone for good, this isn’t the end for Café Ohlone — Medina and Trevino are adamant they’ll reopen in a new space when the pandemic is over. In the meantime, they plan to roll out takeout offerings in late August or early September. Stay tuned tomorrow, when Nosh Editor Sarah Han will report on the details.
LA CALLE 10 When the former T-Rex Barbecue space became La Calle 10 in 2018, some fans were pleased with the hybrid mix of barbecue, Mexican and other Latin flavors, but others saw a lack of clarity. This month, owner Juan Romo stepped away from the smoke pits altogether and took things in a new direction, refreshing and reopening the large, notable space as Italy on Gilman (see Openings). La Calle 10 was at 1300 Tenth St.
LA COCINA’S CANTINA This treasure trove of woman-owned food businesses from famed San Francisco kitchen incubator La Cocina has departed the lower level of the Martin Luther King Jr. building of UC Berkeley’s ASUC Student Union, as first reported by the Daily Californian. The group’s lease terminated at the end of May and will not be renewed, meaning students and locals must say goodbye to A Girl Named Pinky, Noodle Girl, Old Damascus Fare and El Mesón de Violeta. The good news is that Pinky and Red’s will remain, and hopes to reopen as soon as it can for curbside service. La Cocina’s Cantina collection of restaurants were on the first floor of the student union at 2495 Bancroft Way.
PACIFIC STANDARD TAPROOM Described by some as Berkeley’s “Cheers,” this cozy, relaxed taproom — an extension of Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, with a wide selection of rotating brews from many local brewers — had a real community feel, tasty bar snacks and a nice location tucked away near BART. Today is the taproom’s last day. Pacific Standard Taproom was at 2055 Center St.
PEDRO’S BRAZIL CAFÉ “SHACK” Pedro’s Brazil Café, known for its flavorful tri-tip sandwiches and Brazilian specialties, has undergone some changes in its properties since the pandemic. The good news is, the Westbrae Biergarten location of Pedro’s has reopened for outdoor dining as of June 19. However, the sit-down restaurant at 1960 University Ave., known for its rose-strewn outdoor back patio, is temporarily closed for now. Lastly, the original Brazil Café “shack,” the colorful, beach-like hut at the tip of University near campus, has shuttered permanently after 20 years. [Editor’s note: According to UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof, the shack’s closure was planned. Brazil Café owners were notified in late 2018 that they would need to vacate the property to make way for a new, 850-bed student housing project called the Gateway.] Pedro’s Brazil Café “Shack” was at 2161 University Ave.
TASTE OF PAKISTAN Taste of Pakistan has vacated the space at 2160 University Ave. The restaurant from kindly first-time restaurateur Waheed Murad was well received for its near year in business. Signs in the window hint at an upcoming restaurant called “The Chef Kitchen: Authentic Indian Cuisine.” Taste of Pakistan was at 2160 University Ave.
5 TACOS & BEERS Launched on a Tuesday (for taco Tuesday!), 5 Tacos & Beers, opened June 23, is the long-awaited, newest spot from chef Lito Saldana and his family-owned Los Moles restaurant group. The festive restaurant and bar on Solano Avenue features an outdoor sidewalk patio with around 15 tables and some casual Adirondack chair seating, and there is often live music playing. The concept — upscale tacos (rib-eye, beef short ribs, al pastor, mushroom, shrimp), sides, desserts and beers — also lends itself well to takeout. For now, hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends to accommodate brunch. 5 Tacos & Beers, 1175 Solano Ave. (at Stannage Avenue), Albany
CANASTA KITCHEN CK Restaurant (see Closed) has morphed into a second brick-and-mortar location for Canasta Kitchen, a six-year-old southern Mexican restaurant business based in Concord that also runs a food truck. Along with burritos, tacos and salads, Canasta Kitchen’s specialties include empanadas, huaraches, plantains and black beans, in a menu owner Ivan Tellez calls “simple and traditional.” There is limited sidewalk seating outside the restaurant, with hopefully more to come, but in the meantime, Canasta Kitchen offers curbside and contactless takeout for lunch and dinner on weekdays, and breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends by calling 510-217-8458. Canasta Kitchen, 1544 Webster St. (at Lincoln Avenue), Alameda
KYOTO RAMEN Kyoto Ramen has opened in El Cerrito Plaza. The cozy shop features poke, Japanese curry, and a variety of ramen and toppings, and is open daily for takeout. Kyoto Ramen, 3050 El Cerrito Plaza (at Liberty Street), El Cerrito
PAULA LEDUC AT HOME Paula LeDuc Fine Catering & Events has been in business for 40 years, but the realities of the pandemic have inspired a new takeout concept from the high-end catering group: Paula LeDuc At Home. The new menu of seasonal, creative American cuisine, including provisions such as wines and cocktails, is available for curbside pickup from its headquarters in Emeryville, near Pixar. Paula LeDuc At Home, 1350 Park Ave. (at Hollis Avenue), Emeryville
CK RESTAURANT In a move that reflects the times, owner Ivan Tellez has closed his upscale new American dining room CK Restaurant to instead populate the space with the simple, traditional, takeout friendly food of his southern Mexican restaurant Canasta Kitchen (see Open, above). CK Restaurant opened in 2018, and was at 1544 Webster St. in Alameda.
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