Friday, July 27, 2012

Oakland Food News

All the news that's fit to nom.
Or imbibe. Or otherwise ingest.

The sudden closure of Remedy Coffee was a surprise to many. I first heard about it on Twitter from @EatDrinkOakland who happened to be there on the last day. The East Bay Express covered it a few days later, but still no word as to why beyond speculation about the usual challenges of a small business.

The space that most recently housed Homespun Bicycle may become home to a new food venture, Humblebee Grocery. Their website is empty, but it sounds promising: "a neighborhood bike-up grocery store offering seasonal fruits and vegetables, organic dairy products, artisanal bread, and vegan snacks." Anyone know anything more?

Speaking of new food, I talked with Sal of Actual Cafe a little while ago about Victory Burger. There was a small problem in the build-out that took a week or so to fix, but overall progress is going well, with an opening later this year still on track. Definitely looking forward to it, as the taste of the vegi option I had at the Oakland Indie Awards was great. And speaking of Actual Cafe, progress is also moving along on plans, permits, etc. for the permanent parklet on Alcatraz. Finally, congratulations to Sal and the crew for being voted best cafe in the East Bay Express.

From the jaw-dropping-amounts-of-money category comes the news from the East Bay Express that Peet's was bought for $974 million dollars. Yes, that's just short of a billion. Peet's went public in 2001, but this will re-privatize them.

East Bay Express food writer Luke Tsai reviewed The Terrace Room which overlooks Lake Merritt. I've been curious about it, but the review can be summed up with the "food isn't amazing, but the view is." Hmph. Sounds kind of like Lake Chalet (which is better than my first visit, but still not great.)

I thought I'd mentioned this before, but didn't see it listed in earlier posts. Oakland's Numi Tea is still going strong at retail, but they closed their Jingletown tea garden for drop-in business. It's still available for special events and retail purchases by appointment. The good news is that they plan to open a new tea garden at another location in Oakland next summer.

Bagel fans are excited about the imminent opening of the Authentic Bagel Company. They're scheduled to open their shop on 2nd at Broadway this Sunday. Their bagels are available in a variety of coffee shops and restaurants, but this will be the first retail space for them.

Speaking of bagels, I went past Cafe Zoë on my way to the Red Cross blood bank, and noticed they were repainting the window signs as Old Brooklyn Bagels and Deli. Can't find a website, but I wonder if they're connected with the Authentic Bagel Company, too? (And wouldn't that be a great name for a bagel shop east of Lake Merritt, which used to be the town of Brooklyn before Oakland annexed it?)

There's still more news on the bagel front, with an article in the East Bay Express about Baron Baking and the science of bagels. I've got some serious bagel tasting to do.

From the in-case-you-missed-it category, K and I checked out Bar César on Piedmont last month. There were a few things we didn't like, but overall, it was "better than pub grub, good beer selection, good service."

There appears to be a replacement for B Restaurant in the works, according to the Old Oakland website. Word is that Borgo Italia, an Italian bistro, will open in late summer.

Last I saw Commonwealth Cafe is still closed after a fire. The other night riding past I saw this sign that photographer Dave Bryan recorded.

The other week I took a picture of the sign at Vitus, the bar, music and pinball joint on Broadway. Apparently that was good timing, because the East Bay Express reports that the owner has taken the cabaret license, the sign and most of the staff. No word on the pinball machines.

I heard both from East Bay Dish and Oakland historian Dennis Evanosky that Everett and Jones BBQ has opened a new location near MacArthur and High Street in the Laurel. Smaller than the JLS location, but same great BBQ.

Also from East Bay Dish is news of a new breakfast and lunch spot uptown, Stag's Lunchette. It will include bagels from Baron Baking mentioned earlier.

It was a bit of a surprise when I went past Mullen's Liquor Store on 40th and Broadway and noted that it's now an organic produce store. Quite a switch. I haven't been in to see what their selection and quality is like, but seems like a good change for the area.

Finally, check out Oakland Magazine's 2012 Best of Oakland list for more Oakland and East Bay dining options.


Colburn said...

Cafe 504, just up the street from the future Humblebee Grocery at 504 Wesley, has also been closed for a couple weeks due to money troubles. They are hoping to figure out a way to make the finances work and reopen, but unclear when or if that'll happen. :(

Unknown said...

It seems a difficult neighborhood for a small business, in part because there are so few businesses there. There's not a big enough core to draw people from the larger areas outside. That said, I liked Homestead Bicycle and still like Leaning Tower of Pizza.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the heads up about Old Brooklyn Bagels! I just tried ABC today and OBB will be my next bagel trip.