New restaurants that opened in Berkeley and Oakland in May 2022
Despite the spring weather, May was a dark month. At the national level, the new has been unreasonable and hard to bear. Even the pace of the local restaurant, usually such a safe space, has taken a joyless turn, and not just because of the overwhelming Bay Area COVID numbers. Among other East Bay stories, May saw brittle tensions between customers and overworked employees; wanton vandalism, theft and attacks; and the fool murder of Lucky Three Seven co-owner Jun Anabo May 18.
The owners and employees of the industry are notoriously hard-working and optimistic people. Despite the inevitable business risks and setbacks, the resilience of the food and beverage community is still inspiring testify, and never more than at this moment. Nosh wishes healing to anyone suffering, whether from illness, fear, anger or grief. It’s the perfect time to Support local companies out for the greater goodand here is the hope of a milder and safer summer.
PUBLIC HOUSE 4 BELLS A year after a DUI accident at popular local bar Doc’s Refresher, a new sports bar has opened in its place. 4Bells Public House is a joint venture between Doc’s and Acme Bar & Company Owner Jennifer Seidman and Local Chef Sergio Emilio Monleon The Walk, with a fast-casual menu (think gochujang honey buffalo wings and hot lobster pockets) and a vintage arcade. Although his the owners told the SF Chronicle it would open on June 2 (making it fodder for June openings) it was open Memorial Day weekend with a standing crowd only for the Liverpool v Real Madrid game so we’re counting that one- Ci like a May baby. 4Bells Public House984 University Ave. (near Ninth Street), Berkeley —Eve Batey
AFGHAN BURRITO Nosh is thrilled to announce the opening of Afghan Burrito’s new brick and mortar in what is now the Cal Food Garden, a cozy, enclosed outdoor patio on San Pablo Avenue in the Poets Corner neighborhood of Berkeley. The food is as the name suggests – an intriguing mix of Afghani spices, sauces and flavors mixed with fresh Mexican-style dishes. including bowls and burritos, made with halal ingredients. Go check it out. Afghan Burrito inside Cal Food Garden, 2309 San Pablo Ave. (between Chaucer and Bancroft Way), Berkeley
BABETTE As announced late last year, BAMPFA Babette cafe left its museum digs for the former home of the original Lanesplitter pizza, which ended its 23rd year at the end of 2021. Owners Joan Ellis and Patrick Hooker quietly opened in its new location in mid-May. (as Eater SF was the first to report), with limited hours and service as they equip. Right now, expect coffee and pastries Wednesday through Friday, and dinner service Saturday and Sunday. Hooker tells Nosh that brunch is on the horizon, launch date TBD. Babette2033 San Pablo Avenue (near University Avenue), Berkeley —Eve Batey
STAR COFFEE Well, that was fast! Last month, we told you about the sale of Cafe Nostos to people planning a new spot called Cafe Etoile; and this month the new restaurant is already in operation. Co-owner Tae Kim tells Nosh that it opened on Memorial Day weekend, and a tipster who visited once raved about Nosh’s South Korean/French cafe food menu, sandwiches and croffles (a croissant and waffle hybrid, as the portmanteau suggests, usually stuffed with sweet or savory ingredients). It looks like one to watch. Cafe Star, 1930 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. (near Berkeley Way), Berkeley —Eve Batey
GOLD BEAN COFFEE Look for hot and cold coffee drinks, pastries, bagels, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and fresh juices at this new cafe located in the former Windmill Coffee House. Golden bean coffee2131 Durant Avenue (at Fulton Street), Berkeley
LOVE AT FIRST MOUTH (VINE STREET) This longtime Berkeley cupcake shop, which opened in 2005, has expanded to a new storefront on Vine Street near Walnut, giving passers-by even more access to their case of sweet, made-from-scratch temptations. The original upper-level Walnut Square location is still used as the company’s bakery and kitchen. Thanks to Berkeleyside contributor Joanne Furio for the tip. Love at the First Bite Bakery2122 Vine St. (between Shattuck and Walnut), Berkeley
SOURDOUGH & CO. That franchise opening eluded us in late April — growing California chain Sourdough & Co. serves quick and casual soups, salads and deli sandwiches on fresh sourdough and launched its first location in Berkeley near campus. Hats off to The California daily for their opening story. Levain & Co.2509 Haste St. (near Telegraph Avenue), Berkeley
DAMAOXIA DaMaoXie opened earlier in the spring but we are never afraid to spotlight late. The Chinatown spot serves Cantonese-style Dungeness crab and other dishes; boba shop tea every day also shares a counter within the restaurant. DaMaoXie251 Ninth St. (at Alice Street), Oakland
MATSUYAMA JAPANESE RESTAURANT There’s even more takeout to try at Longfellow Food Hall’s ghost kitchen, which now serves innovative sushi and fusion dishes from Sacramento-based sushi chef Song Kim. Matsuyama Japanese Restaurant at Longfellow Food Hall5333 Adeline St. (at 54th St.), Oakland
ODIN Nosh likes it irreverent the energy coming from this hot new opening from the team behind Nido’s gardenreported for the first time by the SF Chronicle. The mezcaleria celebrates the agave drink (and supports its farmers) in flights and cocktails, accompanied by food of Tacos El Precioso. Odin444 Oak St. (at 4th St.), Oakland
SEOUL BIRD & SOJU Oakland’s former Blessed Garden is now home to Seoul Bird & Soju, offering Korean fried chicken and soju cocktails (alongside Blessed Garden’s former budget Chinese cuisine menu, according to the website). Seoul Bird and Soju419 15th St. (between Franklin St. and Broadway), Oakland
SFIZIO TO PLATO DEGREES PSA (Pasta Service Announcement): Chef Matt Solimano’s wildly popular pasta pop-up, Sfizio, wrapped up its Ramen Shop run in April and is now hosted at Degrees Plato Tap Room. Sfizio at Degrees Plato, 4251, boul. MacArthur. (between High Street and Maybelle Avenue), Oakland
PIZZERIA CITY SQUARE Bierhaus owner Mike Finley has reopened his former Walnut Creek biergarten as the new City Square Italian pizzeria, whipping up thick, square pies such as salsiccia, pepperoni, vodka, spicy pepe and Potato. Also on the menu are hearty Italian grinders, chopped salads, and other specialties like polenta fries and garlic knots that frankly look good at East Coast level. Don’t miss the co-owner Ollie the dogand thanks to Bay Area News Group for the story. Town Square Pizzeria1360 Locust St., Walnut Creek
EASTERN OCEAN SEAFOOD WALNUT CREEK Long loved at Alameda, East Ocean Seafood’s bountiful menu of dim sum and Hong Kong-style dishes is now available at Walnut Creek in the former Dynasty Bistro. Eastern Ocean Seafood Restaurant1841 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek
GOOD TO EAT QUENELLES Nosh is excited for this long-awaited newcomer to Emeryville, now softly opened by The Chronicle and already garnering excellent reviews. Launched as a pop-up in 2017, Good To Eat’s dumplings, bao, noodles and large Taiwanese specialties are among the most popular in the region. sought, and are best known as a longtime fixture at Original Pattern Brewing Co. in Oakland. It is a delight to follow the the graceful positivity of the team as they speed up their first brick and mortar. Yippee joy. Good to eat dumplings1298 65th St. (between Hollis and Vallejo streets), Emeryville
YOJIMBO AND GALLERY In a quick turnaround, Japanese restaurant Yojimbo has quietly launched its second Alameda location inside the recently closed American Oak, filling the spacious space with the restaurant’s trademark freshness, energetic masterpieces. Yojimbo’s menu of sushi, ramen, bento boxes and Japanese curry is similar to their original location on Park Street, which remains open. Both locations also offer take-out. Thanks to our Alameda tipster in the field for the update. Yojimbo and Gallery2319 Santa Clara Ave. (between Oak and Park streets), Alameda
Joanna Della Penna has lived in the Bay Area since 2001 and moved to the East Bay in 2009. She’s been writing about restaurants in the area for 20 years and really needs to exercise more.