Watch this space every week for the newest restaurants to try in Berkeley, Oakland and the rest of the East Bay. As always, tips and recommendations are welcomed at email@example.com.
Pinole’s cookie destination Butter Pecan, opened in 2021, has already launched a second location, this time in Emeryville. The shop is known for far more flavors than just (browned) butter pecan — there are hefty, chewy, crispy-edged classics such as oatmeal raisin or dark chocolate chip with sea salt, indulgent Southern-inflected combinations such as the banana toffee, and seasonal choices, as with the peach cobbler cookies. The shop took over one of Emeryville’s closed Subway locations; hat tip to the E’ville Eye for alerting us to the buttery new bakeshop’s freshly opened door. Butter Pecan Bakeshop, 6472 Hollis St. (at 65th Street), Emeryville
As promised, Albany landmark Hal’s Office, beloved as a cafe with sweet, simple, indoor and outdoor seating for seven years, has moved into the evening wine bar space with a new concept, Hal’s After Hours. The wine bar runs Thursday-Sunday beginning at 5:30 p.m., featuring a selection of natural wines, tinned fish, charcuterie and other nibbles, and occasional live music — a cozy, welcoming backdrop for grown-up gatherings. Hal’s After Hours, 1207 Solano Ave. (between Cornell and Talbot avenues), Albany
Thanks, as always, to our tipsters for sharing neighborhood news: Despite new signage up at 6200 Claremont, Momo Ramen’s soups have not left the angular space. Newly named Haruki Sushi is simply an expanded restaurant from the same team, featuring an added menu of sushi and other Japanese and Korean bites to go with the Momo Ramen menu that has served the neighborhood since 2019. Haruki Sushi (and Momo Ramen), 6200 Claremont Ave. (at Florio Street), Berkeley
The wait is over, Lorin District and Santa Fe neighborhood coffee fans. Red Bay Coffee celebrated the opening of its first Berkeley location on June 4, inside the former (and duly missed) Alchemy Collective cafe space. (Worth noting that Red Bay founder Keba Konte opened a coffee shop in Berkeley many years ago— Guerilla Cafe — long before he conceived of the idea for Red Bay.) The revamped cafe is bright, stylish and handsome, with attractive lounge seating spaces indoors and out for lingering over rich, Red Bay coffee drinks. Red Bay Coffee, 1741 Alcatraz Ave. (at Ellis Street), Berkeley
Berkeley community PSA: In anticipation of summer, chef Amy Murray’s keystone restaurant and bar Revival in downtown Berkeley is now open for dinner six nights a week, including Tuesdays. Don’t miss the weeknight happy hour. Revival Bar + Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave. (at Addison Street), Berkeley
It has been a minute since its opening, but we’d still like to spotlight the eclectic, new Shapeshifters Cafe, built into a Victorian building adjacent to Oakland’s experimental microcinema-beermaking business Shapeshifters Cinema & Brewery. The cafe (formerly the Autobahn Cafe, and still referred to as that by locals and even staff) features locally roasted coffee drinks, a breakfast menu of sandwiches and omelets, and for lunch, layered grilled and deli sandwiches and seasonal salads crafted with organic, local ingredients. Outdoor seating remains a nice feature here. Shapeshifters Cafe, 571 5th St. (between Clay and Jefferson streets), Oakland
Nosh thanks West Oakland friends for sharing that chef-owner Priscilla Mkenda’s cottage Tanzanian food business Swahili Spot, known for years for its food truck, catering and event booths around the East Bay, is now a welcoming brick-and-mortar on Peralta. “From East Africa to West Oakland,” says the opening announcement, and the menu features sambusas (similar to samosas) stuffed with meat or vegetables, pilau and coconut rice dishes, bagia (vegetable fritters), mandazi (African-style doughnuts), and other East African specialties. Swahili Spot, 1327 Peralta St. (at 14th Street), Oakland