If you’ve covered the East Bay dining scene for any length of time, you’ll know it’s a lot of hurry up and wait: First, the announcement that an exciting new restaurant is coming, and then the long wait—inevitably dotted with permitting issues, supply chain problems, and other unexpected delays—until that restaurant actually opens. Well, it sounds as if a trio of anticipated eateries are just about set to launch as soon as the end of the month. See below for updates and remember: These are always subject to change by last-minute delays …
Montesacro: It’s been more than seven months since 54 Mint Forno announced they’d acquired a new full liquor license and would be closing briefly to revamp their kitchen and dining room. What turned into a light remodel morphed into an entirely different name and concept, which sounds like it will debut at last by the end of the month. Owner Daniele Carsano said that, subject to final permitting, Montesacro could open its doors on Locust Street in downtown Walnut Creek within the next couple of weeks. The menu is centered around traditional Roman dishes and, in particular, pinsa, described as a “modern cloud-like pizza, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside” from dough with a blend of rice, soy, and wheat flour. See here for a sample menu on the website.
SanDai: Oakland chef Nora Haron’s modern California-Indonesian concept has long been promised as the exciting replacement to Peter Chastain’s shuttered Italian mainstay Prima Ristorante in downtown Walnut Creek. It’s been more than a year now, but SanDai’s debut appears imminent with “late November” being the latest target. (For what it’s worth, Haron’s latest Instagram post highlights chef training inside the restaurant.) Expect a modern, California take on southeast Asian fare highlighted by Haron’s roots in Singapore and Indonesia—examples mentioned in past interviews include beef rendang over coconut grits and laksa ravioli filled with spicy shrimp sambal. There will also be an adjacent “Kofibar” serving coffee sweetened with condensed milk and Southeast Asia–influenced pastries.
Acre: Oakland landmark Italian eatery Oliveto has sat vacant since earlier this year. However, seasoned restaurateurs Dirk Tolsma and Pete Sittnick seem to have been moving quickly to replace it. Both previously associated with Waterbar and Epic in San Francisco, the partners’ Acre concept is on pace to launch as soon as this month in the two-story Rockridge space across the street from the BART station. The concept is straightforward but surprising, Mediterranean and California cuisine highlighted by rotisserie meats cooked in the wood-fired oven upstairs, and a café highlighting veggie-forward flatbreads downstairs. The bar program is being designed by Oakland resident Brian Sheehy, owner of the Future Bars Group.
For the fifth year in a row, Gott’s Roadside will donate 20 percent of all sales—not just profit—to local education. Last year, the seven locations of the burger-centric chain donated more than $21,000 to various foundations.
The Walnut Creek Gott’s—on North Main Street across from the Broadway Plaza parking structure—will forward 20 percent of its November 16 revenue to the Walnut Creek Education Foundation.
Burdell and its burgeoning reputation for California comfort food that is both organic and celebratory of Black impact on American food has found a permanent home where Aunt Mary’s Cafe used to be. When Burdell might open at 47th Street and Telegraph Avenue is unclear, but it will be a big step forward for chef Geoff Davis and his vision whenever it happens.
Though there are plenty of good options for Mexican food in Danville, simple taquerias—burritos, tacos, and nachos served fast and hot—are hard to find. So Diablo Taqueria, on Hartz Avenue near San Ramon Valley High School, definitely fills a need. And given the location, plenty of hungry high school students will feed their adolescent growth spurts with Diablo Taqueria’s offerings.
The Market Halls—in Oakland’s Rockridge District and on Berkeley’s 4th Street—are a reliable go-to for holiday meals to cook at home. Preorders are definitely advised, and pickup is available Monday through Wednesday at both sites and in the Rockridge parking lot on Thursday.
There are plenty of classic options that can be mixed and matched, but note that orders need to be called in by noon two days prior to pickup. (And pickup is much less of a hassle on Monday and Tuesday.)
Oakland’s Hopscotch Restaurant and Bar offers a complete Thanksgiving meal for four to six for $225, which includes half a turkey, a rotisserie drumstick, gravy, and three sides. Extra sides and wines are available as well, but, as the ads always say, supplies are limited. Pickup is Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The Oaklandside covers all the news, like old-fashioned newspapers used to do. But it’s no secret that journalism is endangered, so on Saturday night, Mela Bistro, Xingones, Lion Dance Cafe, Temescal Brewing, and Head High Wines will be part of The Oaklandside Live, which will combine food, drink, and an evening of in-person conversation with the Oaklandside staff.
The event—which costs $50—begins at 6 p.m., with the discussions about everything from local elections to food justice starting at 7 p.m. The gathering will take place at the Oakstop co-working site in the Hive near 23rd Street and Broadway.
514 Lounge on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito (just down the street from Potrero Avenue) finally reopened after the usual pandemic struggles, Nosh reports, and the old-school bar is welcoming regulars and newcomers to enjoy its classic cocktails and small bites.
Meanwhile, look for the Town Bar and Lounge (at 21st Street and Broadway, a block west of Agave Uptown) to open its doors by the end of the year. The LGBTQ+ spot will be in the Art Deco-era I. Magnin Building, once one of downtown Oakland’s main attractions.
The Missouri Lounge will likely arrive a little later, after a long closure during the pandemic, but the West Berkeley stalwart (since the 1950s) is finally getting all its permits lined up. The Parker Street and San Pablo Avenue bar is a classic hole-in-the-wall.
Just when you thought you’d tried pretty much all available cuisines, Parche will remind you that you somehow missed Colombian food. The restaurant—near Broadway and West Grand Avenue where Brown Sugar Kitchen used to be—is still early in the permitting process, but its vibe will likely reflect its name, which in Colombia is slang for a place where friends get together to hang out.


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