Restaurants coming out my ears (or: the spring restaurant report)

May 11, 2010

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted any restaurant news….which means there’s a whole lot happening to report! Here’s a quick pass at what’s coming up. (I’m quite sure I’m missing a bunch of stuff, since I haven’t been paying much attention to much of anything but work and wedding planning this spring….but I promise to catch up this summer!)

Temescal/Pill Hill

  • Little Mac, a macaroni-and-cheese restaurant (?!? sign me up!) that will also have craft beer and tasty sounding salads and desserts, is slated to open at 40th and Shafter this fall.
  • Commonwealth is due to open later this month at 29th and Telegraph, and will be a British-style pub. If they have good fish and chips, we will be regulars!

Piedmont Avenue

  • Sparky’s is indeed open. And it is indeed an extension of the burger place up in the hills.

Grand Lake
Grand Lake is kickin’ this spring!

  • Mimosa reopened as Mimosa Ethiopian Restaurant at Santa Clara and Grand.
  • YaYu Ethiopian is also now open on Lakeshore where Vine used to be.
  • La Taza de Cafe plans to reopen (yay!) where the Grand Lake Neighborhood Center used to be on Lake Park. There will apparently be a small Cuban takeout place next to a larger cabaret, says the Splash Pad newsletter.
  • Good Chemistry Baking, a gluten-free bakery, will open where Daily Delectables used to be.
  • Yogofina, another of the trendy tart yogurt shops, is coming soon on Lakeshore (and also to Montclair Village).

Uptown/Upper Broadway
…but not as much as Uptown!

  • Pakxe is going in at Broadway and 30th where Union Auto used to be on Auto Row. This is super exciting because it’s the first reuse of an auto space on the main Auto Row drag. (Mua also reused an auto space for their Webster Street place.) No clue what kind of food it will be, but the name suggests Laotian.
  • Plum, Daniel Patterson’s new restaurant,  is coming soon where Louisiana Fried Chicken used to be—and will be expanded in the coming months to include a bar where Franklin Square Wine Bar used to be. This is exactly what I was hoping for in this space. (Well, okay, I didn’t necessarily have a chef in mind, but broadly, it was the perfect timing to combine the two spaces and really make use of Franklin Square’s plaza, as FSWB was doing.) Go Uptown! Also, it is named after a William Carlos Williams poem that was one of my favorites in high school, which bodes well…
  • Xolo, the new taqueria from the Dona Tomas/Flora crew, is still under construction.
  • Uptown Café & Crêpes is now open at 21st and Franklin.
  • Bakesale Betty is open at Broadway and Grand! (Woohoo! Now if only they had weekend hours…)
  • More pizza! Hurray! (Because, in case you haven’t figured this out, D. and I really, REALLY like pizza.) Mua is expanding into the space where the short-lived Cafe Noir used to be on Webster, and will be making pizza for me (okay, and everyone else in town…) (Cafe Noir had a wood oven, so I presume it stayed with the space.) No details yet. (Incidentally, is this Uptown? Or Upper Broadway? Or still Auto Row? Curiouser and curiouser….one of our neighbors predicted we’d live in Uptown in ten years’ time, and I do have to say that it seems to be creeping this direction!)

And falling off the radar…

  • The third Pizzaiolo location in Uptown now has a “for lease” sign back in its window, which I presume means that project is toast. Boo. (But at least we’ll always have Boot and Shoe…)
  • Kotobuki Sushi on Piedmont has moved to Montclair.


  1. I notice that the for lease signs are up and the awnings have been painted (again) where we thought Cafe Katrina was going in on 14th and Webster. Any news on that?

  2. Good question—I’m not sure! Cafe Katrina was briefly open over the winter and their liquor license is still active, so it’s a little puzzling (but not unlike what happened with Cafe Noir, I guess). Hopefully someone will snag it…

  3. I love these posts of yours. Being a resident of the Richmond Blvd area, I also love to see Uptown spreading further north on Broadway.

    Any idea what’s going in across from Mua/Nex at the tip of the island where Webster meets Broadway? I think it was a cell phone store previously.

  4. Ooh, thanks for the reminder—I’d noticed the paper in the windows and then forgotten about it! There’s apparently a pending liquor license there for a place called Randevu. I’m guessing it will be Ethiopian/Eritrean—although it looks like they’ve been jumping through hoops with ABC for over a year, so who knows what the current status is.

  5. I was at Bakesale Betty’s last week and asked the woman behind the counter if they planned on having weekend hours. She said no. I don’t understand why, considering Farley’s East two doors down seems to be doing extremely well on the weekends.

  6. Yeah, I’ve had the same frustration. A whole bunch of our neighbors have been waiting and waiting to try it—the lunchtime weekday hours don’t work for anyone who works outside the neighborhood, sadly. Hopefully as they get going with the second store, they’ll eventually add the weekend hours. There’s a huge shortage of coffee/bakery/etc. spots in that part of town, and soooo many people go walking out on the lake on the weekends!

  7. Good news! I think Bakesale Bettys on Broadway/Grand is now open on Saturdays. (It was open this past Saturday when I walked by.) Whoo!

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