New restaurants opening in Oakland and Berkeley in July 2022


It was a month of fireworks – from the usual eye catching East Bay pyrotechnics on and around the fourth, for many, many local rapid tests that flare “positive purple” thanks to the latest COVID variant BA.5. Meanwhile, piles of colorful produce hit markets and plates (the stone fruit this year…) and a surprising number of new food companies appeared on the scene. And while this metaphor may literally explode, let’s not forget the hot sparks of contention surrounding the closure of Berkeley’s long-beloved Cesar, forced to exit with a bang this July after 24 years. (See tomorrow’s closings.)

In Nosh’s mostly quiet neighborhood, a terrifying kaboom turned out to be a blown-up car with a person inside — who escaped the flames, thank goodness. The culprit? Butane. According to authorities, this type of risky recreation is a growing problem and gives new meaning to the term Berkeley Boom. (Dab nation?) Take it easy out there, folks. Summer has been a blast so far, but maybe let’s all relax (and cook with a little less gas) in August.

As always, please send food and drink opening tips to [email protected]

Berkeley

Fans of Aliberto’s Jr.’s SoCal stylings know their Mexican and steak combinations well. Credit: Aliberto’s Jr.

ALIBERTO’S JR. MEXICAN FOOD The gas station next to Ashby and Telegraph, briefly an ill-fated A&W, is now a branch of Aliberto’s Jr. Mexican franchise, offering burritos, tacos, enchiladas and other fast, student-friendly Mexican food. Expect San Diego touches — paper-wrapped burritos made with grilled tortillas; rolled tacos; wet burritos; carne asada fries. The original Aliberto’s chain has locations across Arizona and up to Washington State; Aliberto’s Jr. counter franchises seem to be specific to California, and the new Berkeley location is their fourth. Aliberto’s Jr. Mexican food2996 Telegraph Ave. (at Ashby Avenue), Berkeley

DARBAND Replacing Flavia inside the Epicurious Garden Food Court is Mediterranean newcomer Darband. The kiosk offers koobideh, kabobs, bolani, grilled fish dishes, stewed meat and vegetable dishes, herb-infused yogurt dips and a range of spicy, sweet and savory Persian and Middle Eastern specialties, all for carry-out only. Darband inside the Epicurious Garden1511 Shattuck Ave. (between Vine and Cedar streets), Berkeley

KŌL JUICE BAR Located inside Cousins ​​Asian Street Food (and co-owned by Cousins ​​chef-owner Kimberly Gamble), this new juice bar offers cold-pressed juices that are naturally sweet, as well as smoothies and homemade crystal boba made with collagen and agar agar. Kōl Juice Bar, 1926 Shattuck Ave. (between Hearst Avenue and Berkeley Way), Berkeley

Oakland

The fried chicken at Holder’s House. Credit: Holder’s House/Instagram

TREATMENT HOUSE Thanks first to Tablehopper and then Nosh contributor Brock Keeling for sharing details about the opening of Sarah Kirnon’s new venture Holder’s House, now operating in Oakland’s Forage Kitchen. When Kirnon’s long-loved sit-down restaurant Miss Ollie’s closed earlier this year, Kirnon mentioned a future fresh start focusing on counter service and drive-thru, and she has. Check out Instagram for weekly schedules and streamlined, rotating menus, including many of her familiar favorites—jerk chicken, saltfish and ackee, oxtails, succotash, chicken and waffles, goat curry, black-eyed peas and salads. Yum. Holder’s House on Feed kitchen478 25th St. (between Telegraph Avenue and Broadway), Oakland

PALMS MEDITERRANEAN The former Lazeeza Pakistani restaurant, tucked away in the old EconoLodge complex near Oakland International Airport, is now Palms Mediterranean. Despite an erratic menu that also includes nachos and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, reports of the actual fresh Mediterranean fare are encouraging. There is also plenty of outdoor seating. Palms Mediterranean10 Hegenberger Rd., Oakland

RAISING THE JUG Hype-wise, this could have been the East Bay’s opening of the month: The Raising Canes fast-food chain was founded in 1996 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by charismatic restaurateur Todd Graves (the restaurant was named after his Labrador). Selling chicken fingers and a signature sauce, fries, coleslaw, fried Texas toast and that’s it, the franchise is currently in serious national expansion mode. The Oakland restaurant marked the company’s first location in the Bay Area, and fans (“Caniacs”) couldn’t, and still can’t, get enough. Raising Cane’s8430 Edgewater Drive, Oakland

RAYANE KITCHEN Mediterranean wraps, kabob and mendi plates and salads are offered at this small counter that now shares space with a Krispy Krunchy Chicken in a North Oakland convenience store. Rayane Kitchen inside M&B Liquors, 6310 Market St. (between 63rd Street and Alcatraz Avenue), Oakland

SWALLOW See Eater SF’s opening report for a detailed overview of Slug, sister wine bar to chef Andres Giraldo Flores’ Temescal hit Snail Bar. Located in downtown Oakland, Slug is snug in the angular corner location of the Lionel J. Wilson Building (formerly Downtown Wine Merchants) and sparkled by a disco ball. According to Eater’s Dianne de Guzman, fans can expect a similar wine list and modern vibe to Snail Bar, but each location tells its own story. Slug features dedicated chef Spencer Horowitz (AL’s Place, Restaurant at Meadowood, Itria) and an added music focus, including a DJ booth. There’s also no escargot on the small plates menu; instead, look for possible geoduck (snail-like?) and other cool seafood down the line, among a series of playful, innovative small plates from Horowitz to pair with natural wines. Slug, 102 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (at 14th Street and Broadway), Oakland

ENDS THE WINE BAR AT HI FELICIA The provocative gourmet restaurant Hi Felicia has launched a new weekly natural wine bar event because, as chef Imana reveals, she really misses being a pop-up. (But also because she’s gearing up to eventually open a brick-and-mortar wine bar in San Francisco.) Check for schedules, but the new pop-up usually runs Thursday nights from 19:00 and is first come, first served. Sluts the Wine Bar pop-up at Hi Felicia326 23rd St. (between Webster and Valdez streets), Oakland

CITY PRICE BY MICHELE MCQUEEN The Oakland Museum of California’s on-site cafe, Town Fare, went temporarily dark back in May, but is now revived and refreshed to the point where we’re listing it among this month’s inaugural openings. Town Fare’s new chef is Michele McQueen (San Francisco’s Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles), and the seasonal menu, inspired by McQueen’s Oakland upbringing, is another reason to head over to the museum with the family. Shared plates include deviled eggs, barbecue ribs, chicken wings and candied bacon skewers. Shrimp and grits, grilled salmon over pea succotash, fried chicken and black jackfruit tacos make up some of the entrees. There are grab-and-go sandwiches such as portobello or turkey with peach jam, lots of salads, vegetarian and vegan options, cocktails and a full outdoor bar for the cafe’s new sun terrace overlooking the museum’s beautiful gardens and even a children’s menu (which goes well with the museum’s new nature exhibition for young explorers). Town Danger by Michele McQueen by Oakland Museum of California1000 Oak St. (at 10th Street), Oakland

Besides

Bua Thai Kitchen’s cuisine is from northeastern Thailand. Credit: Bua Thai

BUA THAI KITCHEN Longtime residents may always associate this rounded shack on San Pablo with the former Potala, but the building’s transformed, blue-tinted, upscale look and feel matches the optimism of its new owners, who opened what was very briefly Moana’s and is now Bua. Thai cuisine. Despite the somewhat confusing name change (did Disney get mixed up?), the menu seems broad, carefully crafted and appealing. Family spokesperson Thatchakon “Woody” Yaiduang told Nosh via email: “My family came from Northeast Thailand, what most Thais call Esaan, and have been in the restaurant business for generations. We hope you really love our food as much, as we love to make it for you.” Local Thai food enthusiasts seem to be getting the nod so far on Yelp. Bua Thai cuisine1045 San Pablo Ave. (between Marin Avenue and Dartmouth Street), Albany

GOBI MONGOLIAN GRILL E’ville Eye had the scoop that Emeryville’s long-awaited Gobi Mongolian, part of a mini-chain in a growing area, had soft-opened in the basement of the Parc on Powell building. For the uninitiated, the concept is fun and simple: Diners choose from a buffet of tossed ingredients, special sauces and condiments (of varying heat levels), then wait while chefs quickly prepare their sizzling specialty noodles on a large, traditional , circular grill. Gobi Mongolian Grill1333 Powell St. (between Hollis and Doyle streets), Emeryville

MARTY’S GRILL Breakfast sandwiches, burgers, crispy chicken sandwiches, cheesesteaks, gyros and a menu of fries (crinkle, wedge, curly, garlic) are on the opening menu at Richmond’s newest homestyle barbecue restaurant, now open across from Kaiser Richmond. Marty’s Grill1000 Nevin Ave. (at Harbor Way), Richmond

PHO LA SEN San Leandro has a new pho shop in Pho La Sen, offering noodle soups, savory rice plates, salads, desserts and other Vietnamese specialties. The restaurant replaced Pho Ma-Ha. Pho La Sen2089 E. 14th St. (between Harlan and Estabrook streets), San Leandro

TAQUERIA AURORITA Taking over from the former Hong Kong-style dessert shop Yummy Tummy, which closed during the pandemic, this new taqueria offers Mexican and Salvadoran food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The first reviews say to try the pupusas. Taqueria Aurora1780 E 14th St. (between Elsie and Maud Avenues), San Leandro

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