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After six months, the restaurant industry continues to work hard to adapt to pandemic norms. Curbside pickup, contact-free takeout and socially distanced outdoor dining remain the orders of the day. For many venues, makeshift parklets and parking lot “dining rooms” have added revenue and a bit of cheer — when diners are not smoked out by record-breaking California fires that began in August and continue to burn (and, on Sept. 9, led to a history-making, Mars-orange, Bay Area sky).
The following highlights spots that are brand new, permanently closed or are taking an indefinite break from 2020. Let us know if we missed one at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TACO & CO. Bravely opening near a mostly quiet campus this month, and doing it with heart, this new counter spot in the Durant food court features tacos, quesadillas, burritos and mulitas made with carne asada, al pastor, lengua, cabeza or grilled chicken, and veg options such as nopal. Almost everything on the menu is housemade, including the green and red salsas and bottled horchata, strawberry horchata and jamaica aguas frescas. Bestsellers include the super taco and the quesabirria (Nosh editor Sarah Han recommends the mulita al pastor). Taco & Company is an Antioch-based family team that started as a catering business, with most operations run by Daniel Castro; this is the group’s first brick and mortar. Taco & Co., 2521 Durant Ave., Suite B (between Telegraph Avenue and Bowditch Street), Berkeley
KAZE RAMEN A reader tweet-alerted us to the recent closure of downtown Berkeley’s Kaze Ramen. The small ramen shop has been a standby on the busy stretch of Shattuck near University since 2014, and no doubt succumbed to this year’s drop in student business. Kaze Ramen was at 1956 Shattuck Ave.
SUSHI 29 The dining room furnishings remain, but we hear there has been no takeout or delivery activity from Sushi 29 on Solano Avenue in many weeks, and a for lease sign now sits in the window. Sushi 29 was at 1647 Solano Ave., Berkeley
TRATTORIA LA SICILIANA On Sept. 1, Nosh broke the story that this cozy Italian restaurant in the Elmwood would soon close in order to merge with sister Berkeley property, Agrodolce Osteria. As Sarah Han reported, Trattoria La Siciliana came by its name honestly — the restaurant was opened by Sicilian immigrants Giuseppe and Rosa D’Alo in 1996, who would tempt early College Avenue passers-by with free samples of their southern Italian cooking. Two successful decades later, their children Jerry and Angelo D’Alo now run the trattoria, as well as the family’s second restaurant, Agrodolce on Shattuck Avenue, that opened in 2016. The brothers chose to close the Elmwood spot for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was La Siciliana’s small, atmospheric and totally indoor dining room. (Agrodolce has a patio and a new parklet.) The Elmwood will surely miss the D’Alos and their cooking, but at least with the move it’s less arrivederci, more ci vediamo (“we’ll see each other soon”). Trattoria La Siciliana was at 2993 College Ave., and closes today, Sept. 30, after final service.
BISSAP BAOBAB OAKLAND COLLECTIVE KITCHEN The Oaklandside writer Ricky Rodas covered Marco Senghor’s Senegalese restaurant’s transformation this month, from a lively dining room, dance and event space that closed in December 2019, to the headquarters for a new collective of businesses owned by women. Inside, food and drink purveyors and other artisans share space and, when necessary, the community kitchen. It’s a great story, especially now, and one to file under “silver linings.” Bissap Baobab Oakland Collective Kitchen, 381 15th St. (between Franklin and Webster streets), Oakland
CAMCHILAO Opened Sept. 12, Camchilao is a new food truck with an outdoor dining set up in a lot across from Fruitvale BART. Its menu of Cambodian and Lao snacks, salads, entrees and drinks looks legit, with dishes like kao piak (Lao chicken noodle soup), nam kao (crispy rice ball salad), beef larb tacos and garlic noodles. Camchilao also makes beef jerky. Hours are noon-8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Camchilao, 3216 E. 12th St., (near Fruitvale Avenue), Oakland
DOWNTOWN DELI & DONUTS Hoodline was the first to report that this little mart has taken over the old Analog space. The clean, new snack and coffee shop features a range of classic sandwiches (all with a free can of soda!) as well as hot dogs, donuts (yes) and other bites. Downtown Deli & Donuts, 414 14th St. (between Broadway and Franklin Street), Oakland
FORT POINT ROCKRIDGE More than a year ago, Nosh was first to report that Fort Point was opening an East Bay outpost in the former Trappist Provisions. Although the San Francisco-based brewery had planned to open the taproom by the end of 2019, things took a bit longer than expected. Eagle-eyed reader Sean Rouse let us know this week that Fort Point has finally opened, with to-go cans and sealed bottles for now. It’s open noon-8 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Fort Point Rockridge, 6309 College Ave. (at 63rd Street), Oakland
HIGHWIRE COFFEE MONTCLAIR Highwire has opened a new coffee counter in Montclair Village, in a former and beautifully tiled-over Starbucks. It makes the fourth storefront — plus a coffee truck — for the celebrated local coffee company. Highwire Coffee Montclair, 2059 Mountain Blvd. (at LaSalle Avenue), Oakland
HOFKÜCHE Nosh contributor Lauren Bonney had the schnitzel on this new German biergarten operating out of Forage Kitchen, serving sausages, spätzle, pretzels and all manner of other rib-sticking Bavarian-style fare from the folks behind San Francisco’s popular Suppenküche. Seating is outside with safety measures well in place; be sure to get a boot of German bier. Hofküche, 478 25th St. (between Broadway and Telegraph Avenue), Oakland
LION DANCE CAFE Six-year-old pop-up S&M Vegan’s first brick-and-mortar Lion Dance Cafe was one of September’s most anticipated openings, made possible by a very successful Kickstarter campaign, and open now within Liba Falafel’s old space. Heralded by fans and food critics alike for its signature flavors, textures and spice, its dishes are Singaporean and Chinese by way of California. The vegan cafe has softly opened with abbreviated menus and hours, and is encouraging diners to order takeout early, days before intended pickup, as items sell out quickly. Lion Dance Cafe, 380 17th St. (between Franklin and Webster streets), Oakland
MOE’S PIZZA & MORE There’s a lot of “more” at Moe’s Pizza & More, including fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, wings, cheesesteaks, and, well, more. Open late! Moe’s Pizza & More, 2293 International Blvd. (at 23rd Avenue), Oakland
PORT KITCHENS MARKETPLACE Taking over the long-dormant Overland Country Bar space in Jack London Square, Port Kitchens Marketplace is a new specialty grocery and market, offering produce, coffee drinks, wines, beers and products from local purveyors. Rotating pop-ups are also a feature. Port Kitchens Marketplace, 101 Broadway (at Embarcadero West), Oakland
TASTY BOWL The lakeview building at 205 E 18th St. (remembered as the old-old site of the Merritt Bakery, and once scheduled to become something called Lure Restaurant & Lounge), now plays host to Tasty Bowl, a noodle and rice bowl eatery with a parking lot patio getting serviceable reviews so far. The noodle house opened Sept. 8. Tasty Bowl, 205 E 18th St. (at Second Avenue), Oakland
WISE SONS JEWISH DELICATESSEN San Francisco-based Wise Sons made big news last month around these parts when they announced the purchase of Oakland’s Beauty’s Bagels. The storefront at 3838 Telegraph Ave., open since August, still bears the Beauty’s name, but sells Wise Sons products; a recent drive-by confirms that business for that partnership is booming. Across town, the former downtown location of Beauty’s has been revamped and is now the first official Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in the East Bay, featuring a menu of hot and cold sandwiches, bagels, soups, latkes and sweets, such as babka and rugelach. We’ll take a hot pastrami Reuben, please. Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, 1700 Franklin St. (at 17th Street), Oakland
BEER REVOLUTION This attitude-free craft beer taproom and bottle shop in Jack London Square was a second living room of sorts for many. For 10 years it culled a laid-back, happy crowd who reveled in its 50 taps, and range of offerings and knowledge. Owner Rebecca Boyles appears to have shut the operation down with a simple thanks, despite the protestations of customers who insist “we’ll all need a beer after this is over.” According to Bites, Boyles hopes to reopen in 2022. Beer Revolution was at 464 Third St.
BERNAL CUTLERY San Francisco-based Bernal Cutlery has closed its Oakland location on 40th Street. However, as reported in Bites, the niche knife purveyors and sharpeners might reopen in larger Oakland digs at a later, and safer, time. Until then, specialty knife and sharpening needs can still be attended to via their San Francisco shop, with free return shipping through the end of 2020. Bernal Cutlery was at 308 40th St.
KANGNAM PHO HOUSE Count this Temescal standby among the quieter closures of the last six months; the 13-year-old, well-respected pho restaurant shuttered with no notice or fanfare in August, and its sudden absence is still taking customers by surprise. KangNam Pho House was at 4419 Telegraph Ave.
PHAT MATT’S BBQ A quick update for barbecue fans: Though the brick-and-mortar at 3415 Telegraph Ave. has shuttered, Phat Matt’s business is NOT closed, but has morphed into an Oakland-based catering service and pop up. Phat Matt’s now serves its tri-tip, brisket, ribs and other barbecued meats, sides and desserts for groups of 10 and more. Thanks to Nosh readers for the tip.
ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL Despite its product’s perfect portability as a takeout food, Rosamunde’s Sausage Grill has closed its Old Oakland location in Swan’s Market. It was the San Francisco-based eatery’s last remaining East Bay shop, and predictably unsustainable without regular business clientele from nearby offices. According to Nosh, only Rosamunde on Mission Street in San Francisco remains, along with a sister business also in the city called Willkommen. Rosamunde Sausage Grill was at 911 Washington St.
SIAM BAY AUTHENTIC THAI CUISINE A kind Nosh tipster and Yelp have reported that Siam Bay has closed after an impressive 23 years. Even in the current crisis, the response to this closure seems to be one of disbelief, as the petite restaurant (located next to Vietnamese enclave Le Cheval) with its old-school atmosphere, comfortable booths and colorful decor was a long-time go-to for traditional Thai food enthusiasts. Siam Bay Authentic Thai Cuisine was at 1009 Clay St.
SUBROSA COFFEE (BOTH LOCATIONS) As reported yesterday in Bites, today is the last day for both locations of Subrosa Coffee. Ever community-minded, Subrosa owner Catherine Macken has put her customers in good hands: Both shops will reopen under the new ownership of Benicia-based States Coffee, possibly as early as October. Subrosa Coffee was at 419 40th and 4008 Martin Luther King, Jr Way.
TRIBUNE TAVERN As September hit, so did the sad news that the second incarnation of Oakland’s Tribune Tavern, at the base of the 1920s-era Tribune Tower, would close again for good. Owner Chris Pastena had resurrected his own former restaurant exactly a year ago, after a failed first attempt in 2013 that involved a fraudulent business partner. As Nosh editor Sarah Han reported, Tribune Tavern redux spent its second inaugural year faced with COVID-related business loss and other troubles, and a landlord dispute that was the final nail in the coffin of what should have been an attractive new destination restaurant for Oakland. Tribune Tavern was at 401 13th St.
THE UPTOWN NIGHTCLUB This one stings: On Sept. 4, Oakland said goodbye to The Uptown, and 13 years of diverse live music offerings, comedy, dance parties, karaoke and countless other performances and events served with good beer and local love. The Telegraph landscape won’t be the same without that big neon guitar neck. The Uptown was at 1928 Telegraph Ave.
COUSINS MAINE LOBSTER Cousins’ national food truck franchise, already known in Sacramento, began operating across the East Bay this month. Look for Maine lobster rolls crafted with either butter or mayo, as well as chowder, bisque and specialties such as lobster grilled cheese. Check Cousins’ website for its truck schedule and daily locations.
PHO HOA NOODLE SOUP Pinole now has a location of this Vietnamese soup franchise, opened this month among the fast-casual food choices along Pinole Valley Road. Pho Hoa Noodle Soup, 2800 Pinole Valley Rd., Pinole
THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER This new spot (and its friendly outdoor parklet), that softly opened this month in Alameda, made Bay Area food writer the Tablehopper’s cut as an opening to watch. The tempting menu includes savory sandwiches, shared nibbles, coffee drinks, beer and wine — in short, a host of favorites — with an appealing location in Park Street’s historic Fossing Building. Look for a grand opening Oct. 1-3. The Preacher’s Daughter Cafe, Wine Bar & Bistro, 1629 Park St. (at Pacific Avenue), Alameda
THE BROKEN RACK The E’ville Eye broke hearts with the news that The Broken Rack will not reopen, as owners Wayne and Marilyn Boucher of Emeryville’s 22-year-old bar and billiards hall have sold the business in order to retire. Known for good food, cheerful service and upmarket billiards tables, the long-loved pool hall was one of a dwindling few in the Bay Area, all now struggling to survive the pandemic. The large space will likely be divided into two new businesses under the new owners, Ohana, who own the cannabis dispensary across the street. Stay tuned. The Broken Rack was at 5768 Peladeau St. in Emeryville.
KARA’S CUPCAKES BAY STREET Kara’s Cupcakes is down to three Bay Area locations, having closed its Walnut Creek shop last month, and this month Emeryville’s ever-watchful E’ville Eye reports that the Bay Street shop has also closed. The sweet shop anchored the plaza end of the shopping district for four years; its departure is no surprise as the pandemic and recent mob activity have left Bay Street all but ghosted by shoppers and families. Kara’s Cupcakes Bay Street was at 5615 Bay St. in Emeryville.
THE MEAT UP The Meat Up has shuttered for good, the E’ville Eye confirmed. The no-frills deli, previously Grato Burger, was revamped in late 2019, and struggled to find its footing even before the pandemic. The Meat Up was at 4125 San Pablo Ave. in Emeryville.
The pandemic has led to an unsettled state of hibernation for many local venues. Some are calling it quits only for now; some are in a sort of limbo, less clearly reopening or fully closed.
If we hear of a restaurant that has a firm reopening plan, we won’t write about it here. The following are “temporarily closed” spots on hiatus for a lengthy or indefinite time.
QUINCE CAFE & GRILL Spring was supposed to herald a new beginning for this cafe, after a truck accident smashed its wall and kitchen in 2019. Now the cafe’s website is no longer functioning, and attempts to reach the owners were not fruitful. After two tough years, we know we are not alone in hoping for the best for this little cafe that could. Quince Cafe & Grill, 2228 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley
GUM WAH This dependable Oakland Chinatown deli was known for its roast duck, roast pork, soups, clay pots and other budget-friendly comfort dishes. It was one of four restaurants severely damaged by fire on Sept. 16, with no word yet on possible reopening. Gum Wah is at 345 Eighth St.
HUANGCHENG NOODLE HOUSE Like Gum Wah, Huangcheng Noodle House was closed by a fire that erupted on Sept. 16, and in Huangcheng’s case led to collapsed ceilings, among other severe damage. The owners have expressed hopes to rebuild, and fundraisers have been created to help, but the restaurant is closed for the foreseeable future. Huangcheng Noodle House is at 734 Webster St.
LOST AND FOUND It has been shuttered and quiet since March, even with the resurgence of outdoor socializing, so there is some nervousness as to whether this convivial Oakland biergarten will reopen. Email inquiries have gone unanswered and the website appears to be down. Lost and Found is at 2040 Telegraph Ave.
RANG DONG “We will rebuild,” owner Sachiko Muraoka of 14-year-old Vietnamese dining room Rang Dong told Eater’s Luke Tsai, after Rang Dong was destroyed by the Chinatown fire on Sept. 16, one of four Oakland Chinatown restaurants closed by the disaster. Save Our Chinatowns has created a fundraiser for those wanting to assist in the recovery process. Rang Dong is at 724 Webster St.
T&K CAFE The fourth Oakland Chinatown restaurant to be disrupted by the Sept. 16 fire, this long-respected, no-frills eatery has yet to announce reopening intentions, but is indefinitely closed for now. T&K Cafe is at 337 Eighth St.
TRIBU CAFE This neighborhood favorite for breakfast and lunch fare has had its windows taped over since the March lockdown, and despite Google marking it only temporarily closed, is showing no signs of life. Email inquiries were returned undeliverable. Is this the end of Tribu’s extra buttery croissants? Tribu Cafe, 6501 San Pablo Ave.
Nosh Editor Sarah Han contributed reporting.