Boba Guys will open a new location at the former Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Parlor and Cafe in Rockridge. Photo: Boba Guys
Boba Guys will open a new East Bay location at the former Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Parlor and Cafe in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood. Photo: Boba Guys

Boba Guys heads to Rockridge

The Rockridge District Association shared news last week that San Francisco boutique bubble tea purveyors Boba Guys will be coming soon to College Avenue. The new cafe will be at the former Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Parlor and Cafe, which has been vacant since the ice cream shop closed in July 2019. We’ve reached out to Boba Guys for more information about the upcoming location but have not heard back at time of publication. However, Boba Guys posted signs in the windows at the empty property advertising that they are hiring, and those who apply for East Bay jobs on the company’s hiring page can choose to be considered for positions at its existing San Ramon location or the Rockridge cafe “coming in early 2021.” Boba Guys opened its first cafe in the Mission District in 2011, and quickly became synonymous for high-quality, high-touch tea drinks made with fresh, organic ingredients, along with its minimal, modern aesthetic. The company currently has 11 Bay Area locations, four stores in LA, and three in New York. Boba Guys will be at 5929 College Ave. (at Chabot Road), Oakland

Slice House coming soon to San Leandro

Slice House by Tony Gemignani offers whole pies and a rotating slice of the day menu. Photo: Slice House
Slice House by Tony Gemignani offers whole pies and two rotating “slice of the day” menus, one that is devoted to its Detroit-style pies. Photo: Slice House

Another San Francisco-founded establishment is expanding its East Bay presence. Slice House from pizza guru Tony Gemignani will open a new location in San Leandro as soon as March 7. According to the Bay Area News Group, the San Leandro Slice House — what will be the quick-service brand’s second location in the East Bay after an outpost in Walnut Creek — takes the place of The Vine Wine & Tapas, owned by Tom and Teresa Lawrie. The Lawries are switching things up, licensing the new Slice House from Gemignani, who they’ve known for years.

Slice House’s claim to fame, besides being founded by the award-winning pizzaiolo and restaurateur, is the variety of pizza styles, by the slice or whole pie, it offers under one roof — from classic American to Neapolitan, Sicilian and Detroit. And along with pizza, there are salads and other Italian specialties, such as calzones and meatballs, as well as wine and craft beer. The San Leandro location will be open for takeout and outdoor dining on its spacious patio. Slice House will be at 135 Parrott St. (near Washington Avenue), San Leandro

Pizza Guys now in Berkeley

Pizza Guys has opened its first Berkeley location. Photo: Pizza Guys
Pizza Guys has opened its first Berkeley location. Photo: Pizza Guys

Speaking of pizza, Sacramento-based chain Pizza Guys opened its 19th Bay Area location this week in Berkeley, taking over the space formerly occupied by Little Caesars. The Berkeley franchise is operated by Ali Vahdat, who already has plans on opening another Pizza Guys restaurant in the area. Founded in 1986, the brand began franchising eight years later, and currently has 70 locations throughout California and in Nevada and Oregon. Its menu offers pizzas, flatbreads, pasta, salads and wings, akin to affordable chains like Mountain Mike’s and Round Table. Pizza Guys, 1109 University Ave. (at San Pablo Avenue), Berkeley

Stand-Up Burgers to debut in downtown Berkeley

Stand-Up Burgers' namesake burger features two Impossible patties, two slices of Miyoko's Creamery cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and special sauce.
Stand-Up Burgers’ namesake menu item features two Impossible patties, two slices of Miyoko’s Creamery cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and special sauce. A portion of proceeds from sales will go to Berkeley Humane. Photo: Stand-Up Burgers

Downtown Berkeley’s newest vegan restaurant, Stand-Up Burgers, will debut on March 10 in the former Veggie Grill space on Shattuck Square. As Joanna Della Penna first reported for Nosh in November, Stand-Up Burgers is a new concept from the Veggie Grill brand, offering a 100% plant-based take on “classic burger stand” fare. Expect a variety of burgers made with Impossible patties and Gardein Chickin’, along with shakes, salads and sides, including the “Save the Animals-style Fries,” a wink and a nod to In-N-Out’s famous Animal Style fries. The brand plans to donate a portion of proceeds from every purchase of its namesake Stand-Up Burger ($13.95, featuring two patties, Miyoko’s Creamery cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickles and special sauce on a brioche bun) to Berkeley Humane and of its Stand-Up Shakes ($5.50-$8.50, depending on size) to Support+Feed.

Starting at 11 a.m., March 10, Stand-Up Burgers will celebrate its grand opening by giving out a free burger, shake and fries to the first 300 people in line. Stand-Up Burgers, 48 Shattuck Sq., (at University Avenue), Berkeley

Kosher Cal-Med pop-up in Berkeley

Eli Gilad was once a molecular biology research scientist, who when not at the lab, loved cooking for friends and family. After a while, he realized he enjoyed feeding people more than he loved his scientific work, so in 2010, he started his own catering business. Eli’s Gourmet Cooking offers affordable, seasonal California-Mediterranean fare for large gatherings, focusing on mostly vegetarian and gluten-free cuisine that’s also kosher. (As Gilad puts it, Eli’s Gourmet Cooking is “Bubbe approved.”)

With large events still on hold due to COVID-19, Gilad is now looking for new ways to make food for others. Recently, he started selling “Nosh Boxes” through Third Place, delivered meal kits that serve two to four people, on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. And he’s also started a weekly pop-up in Berkeley. From 4:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays, Eli’s Gourmet Cooking offers pickup at Congregation Netivot Shalom or delivery via DoorDash and Caviar. Dishes run the gamut from a vegan cashew-almond nut spread, a changing soup (this week: a dairy and gluten-free spicy mango and wild rice soup) and pasta salad, quiches and galettes and desserts, like gluten-free blondies and a vegan date roll with coconut cream. For pescatarians, Eli’s offers salmon fillet prepared in two different ways and a whole stuffed trout. Prices hover around $4-$12 per item, with the most expensive item being a whole sour cream cheescake, $20, that serves six and requires one-hour advance notice. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, order Eli’s Gourmet Cooking through DoorDash or Caviar for home delivery or pickup at Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave. (between Bonar and Acton streets), Berkeley.

Off the Grid is feeding seniors during the pandemic

Trays of takeout meals from an Off the Grid vendor.
Off the Grid is partnering with the city of Oakland to double the efforts Great Plates Delivered, a program that feeds seniors sheltering at home during the pandemic. Photo: Off the Grid

Since the pandemic started, Bay Area food truck consortium Off the Grid has changed course by organizing its large network of food makers to support the community through various food relief programs. Recently it’s partnered with the city of Oakland to double the efforts of the FEMA and state-sponsored Great Plates Delivered, a program that delivers free restaurant meals to senior citizens and other at-risk individuals who are sheltering at home during the pandemic. Qualified Oakland residents receive 14 meals a week, with recipients able to specify their preferences and dietary restrictions. Now, thanks to the new partnership, Great Plates Delivered participants will have even more choices, as Off the Grid is tapping food truck operators and other small, local vendors to take part in the cause. Oakland residents can find out more information about if they qualify and how to enroll for free meals on the Off the Grid website, or by calling 510-288-7887.

International Women’s Day dinner box

Oakland restaurateurs Romney Steele, May German, Jen Biesty and San Francisco's Heena Patel, are joining forces to create a four-course meal kit and partake in a Zoom conversation for International Women's Day. Photo courtesy of alaMar Kitchen
Oakland restaurateurs Romney Steele, May German, Jen Biesty and San Francisco’s Heena Patel, are joining forces to create a four-course meal kit and partake in a Zoom conversation for International Women’s Day. Photo courtesy of alaMar Kitchen

Four Bay Area restaurateurs — three from Oakland — will participate in the Bay Area edition of “Let’s Talk,” a four-course tasting menu and Zoom conversation celebrating International Women’s Day. For $100, guests will get a meal kit, which serves two, featuring a menu created by Oakland’s May German of alaMar Kitchen/Sobre Mesa; Jen Biesty of Shakewell, Romney Steele of The Cook and Her Farmer, along with Heena Patel of Besharam in San Francisco, and get access to virtual panel discussion, moderated by Bay Area food scene insider Marcia Gagliardi, aka the Tablehopper.

Meal kits will include: alaMar’s shrimp sope or vegetarian curry chickpeas; Shakewell’s ancho chili chocolate and coffee braised short rib or acorn squash and Hen of the Wood mushrooms; Besharam’s chicken or vegetarian biryani; and The Cook and Her Farmer’s Meyer lemon tart. Order kits online via Tock through Thursday, March 4, for pickup from 3-8 p.m., Sunday, March 7 at alaMar Kitchen (100 Grand Ave., Oakland). The Zoom conversation takes place from 7-8 p.m., Monday, March 8.

Sobre Mesa reopens after almost a year of being closed

Sobre Mesa bar manager Sadé Stamps. Photo: Sobre Mesa
Sobre Mesa bar manager Sadé Stamps is ready to serve refreshing tropical sips, including a new cocktail called Nina’s Spell. Photo: Sobre Mesa

Nelson and May German opened their Afro-Latino cocktail lounge Sobre Mesa on March 5, 2020, just nine days before Alameda County issued the shelter-in-place order that closed indoor dining and bars. This Thursday, March 4, after nearly a year being shut down, the Germans will officially reopen Sobre Mesa — for outdoor patio service — and you bet they’re going to do it up to celebrate.

Diners can drink and dine on Sobre Mesa’s tropical-themed parklet for dinner, and on Sundays, for brunch. Chef German has updated the evening menu, with dishes like mussels escabeche, Suya steak and Oaxaca cheese empanadas, and lobster thermidor — a decadent dish that, during the holidays, Sobre Mesa offered for delivery through online meal and grocery service Feastin. Bar manager Sadé Stamps will welcome back thirsty guests with some sophisticated new sips, like Nina’s Spell, featuring cognac, peach liqueur, ginger, lime, yuzu and Angostura bitters. Expect a takeout and delivery menu in mid-March through Caviar, DoorDash and Grubhub.

Aside from food and drinks, guests will also enjoy a few extras throughout March, including weekly performances from Oakland’s Brazilian funk band Namorados Da Lua and performance art group Dragon Theatrical Services, as well as outdoor exhibits and installations from local visual artists. Sobre Mesa’s hours are 5-10 p.m., Thursday; 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday; noon to  7 p.m., Sunday. Reservations can be made online up to 30 days in advance. Sobre Mesa, 1618 Franklin St. (at 17th Street), Oakland

Sarah Han is Senior Editor, Food for Oaklandside and Berkeleyside. She has worked as an editor at The Bold Italic, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Read more stories by Sarah Han on Berkeleyside.