Coming soon to an avenue near you! (Okay, or at least to one near me…)

October 7, 2009

…otherwise known as the fall restaurant update! It’s been a rough year for a lot of small local businesses and restaurants, so I was excited to see a bunch of new spots show up on the horizon this summer and fall to fill the empty spaces. It’s been a while since I last did a restaurant rundown, so here’s the latest and greatest.

On Piedmont Avenue:

  • The widely-anticipated Commis opened at the end of June to much fanfare. We finally checked them out earlier this month, and were duly impressed.
  • A new La Farine branch is coming soon now open! where Piedmont Lighting used to be. (I know, I’ve mentioned this several times already—but I’m so, SO excited to finally have good baguettes within walking distance!) The cases are in and the signs are up, so they should be open any day now.
  • Caffe Trieste is actually open! They’ve been in limbo for so long over the cabaret permit (longer than we’ve been in the house!) that I hadn’t even bothered including them in my “coming soon” list. But they’re here!!
  • Lush Gelato opened earlier this summer where Tango Gelato used to be.
  • Tutti Frutti, a tart frozen yogurt chain, is now open in that stretch of Piedmont, too.

On Grand and Lakeshore Avenues (Adams Point/Grand Lake):

  • The new Pizzaiolo spot where DiBartolo used to be on Grand is still “coming soon.” opening in early December! It will be called Boot and Shoe Service (though the website isn’t live yet).
  • Taste of Joy Southern Bistro has moved over to Upper Grand from Lakeshore, and is now in La Taza de Cafe’s former location.
  • …which, of course, means that La Taza de Cafe has closed, as has their brand-new tapas bar. Go figure.

In Uptown/Lake Merritt (Grand, Broadway, Telegraph, and San Pablo Avenues):

  • The Lake Chalet opened with much fanfare last month. Mmm—local brews on a deck overlooking Lake Merritt, walking distance from our house! We went for the first time last week, and were impressed—while the food isn’t out of this world, it’s solid, and the location is top-notch. (You have to wait long enough for a table as it is, so I almost think it’s a blessing in disguise that the food isn’t A+ quality…)
  • Farley’s East opened earlier this summer on Grand near Broadway, hopping on the Uptown bandwagon. We checked it out a few weeks back; my latte was great, while D.’s gibraltar was a bit on the milky side. Haven’t tried the drip yet, though. They hope to extend their evening hours in the future, so if that happens we’ll be able to hit them a bit more often.
  • Down the street, there’s now an Oakland Specialty’s location at Grand and Harrison for lunchtime sandwiches and cookies.
  • Mimosa Champagne Lounge is now serving dinner, desserts, and cocktails (and, of course, champagne!)
  • Still under construction: the second Bakesale Betty location, which now has an ETA of February March 2010. (I really am going to stop asking, I swear!) I’m almost afraid to ask these days, since every time I do it gets pushed back another few months…
  • In the space of a month, Café Noir on Auto Row got its liquor license, opened for dinner, and then abruptly closed “for renovations.” Umm. I really want to love these guys—they have tasty pizza and beer and great coffee, and they’re just down the street!—but they desperately need to get their act together. Let’s hope they’re really just closed for renovations (but really…what could they possibly be renovating?!?) and not for good, since the place was just oozing with potential….
  • Hibiscus, a nouveau Caribbean spot, is going in where Sweet Jimmie’s used to be on San Pablo between 17th and 18th, and sounds like it’s going to be excellent! (Their website doesn’t have much up yet, but their Facebook page has a running list of information on potential dishes and renovations.)
  • And another Pizzaiolo spin-off is going into Uptown, too. Still all papered up, but the liquor license notice went up in October—promising!

On Telegraph Avenue (Pill Hill/Mosswood/Temescal):

  • Subrosa Coffee is now open on 40th at Webster next to Manifesto Bicycles. Haven’t been yet, but I’m hearing good things—yay! Hours are 6:30 to 7 on weekdays, 7 to 7 on weekends.
  • Remedy Coffee is coming soon on Telegraph at 43rd, but is already selling out of a cart in front of their new storefront. They’ll be brewing Ritual beans.
  • Oasis Food Market, technically a small Middle Eastern grocery store, is getting some buzz for great prepared food as well. They’re across the street from Alta Bates  Summit on Telegraph at 30th. Hours are 6 am to 11 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 11 pm on weekends. We tried them for the first time this week—yum! And they have a small but complete and good-looking section of fresh fruits and vegetables, too, which means they’re a great late-night grocery option since the other local groceries all close by 8 pm. More on the food later….

So that’s the story for now….as usual this list just includes places I can walk to, so it doesn’t take into account the many (many!) new spots coming soon in other parts of the city, including Jack London Square, which is hopping these days. (I’ve spent more time there in the past two months than in the rest of the years I’ve lived here combined….and when Blue Bottle finally opens, it will be hard to tear myself away!)


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