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Diablo Dish: August

Food news in San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Oakland and more!


Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar

Photo by Jee C. // Yelp.com

Plenty of food news in sleepy San Ramon. Firehouse No. 37, the eatery from Basil Leaf Café owner Dan Hawkins, was set to debut this month in the old El Balazo space. Hawkins has ambitious plans for the 8,000-square-foot restaurant. A separated bar will pour more than 40 craft beers, one of the largest selections in the East Bay. The menu will offer “upscale gastropub” fare—plenty of burgers, pizzas, and pasta—using local ingredients when possible, while the vibe will be, above all, family friendly. The restaurant will sport a retro firehouse decor, have an entertainment/arcade kids’ area, and provide video players loaded with cartoons for bored tots. There are even plans to retrofit an antique horse-drawn fire cart with a barbecue for special events (should be a hit with the kids). And that’s not all for the busy Hawkins, who also recently became full owner of Basil Leaf Café, where he spruced up the building and installed a new pizza oven.  

Meanwhile, across the street, Izzy’s Steaks and Chops closed after five years in business. The upscale steak house reportedly will be replaced by Buffalo Wild Wings, which will be the second East Bay location for this dude-friendly chain (dozens of flat-screen TVs, hot wing eating competitions) after opening in Dublin three years ago.

Don’t look for a replacement for Mudd’s anytime too soon. Picán owner Michael LeBlanc’s planned Southern-themed Heritage restaurant is proceeding slowly and likely won’t open before early 2014. But in the meantime, you can check out Divan Indo-Pak, which is dishing out Indian, Pakistani, and other Central Asian fare to rave reviews in Crow Canyon Plaza.

The Walnut Creek library doesn’t just offer brain food: Concord’s Cafe Pica Deli was set to open its second location there this month, with a similar menu of sandwiches, salads, breakfast items, and Peet’s coffee and tea. Opa! will unveil its authentic Greek fare in the former Caffe Delle Stelle downtown in July while Citra Grill will open near the movie theater. More July debuts: Ferrari’s, Rod Worth’s Italian concept, and Blackhawk Grille, with its renovated “new American tavern,” both in Blackhawk Plaza; and Stag’s Lunchette, the foodie lunch counter in Uptown Oakland.

Ex–art teacher Silvia McCollow hopes to open Nido at Oak and Fourth streets in Jack London Square by September. McCollow, who has been cooking at Cosecha Cafe and Chez Panisse, plans to serve local, sustainable, organic Mexican food. It will feature plenty of seafood, including whole grilled fish and ceviche crudo, as well as her signature tamales de pavo, made with slow-braised Mary’s Organic turkey. Nido will also share space with Jaynelle St. Jean’s PieTisserie, offering unique pies such as Okinawan sweet potato, kumquat custard, and banana chai cream.

New details are trickling in for the replacement for the shuttered B Restaurant in Old Oakland. Paul Ferrari of AG Ferrari is one of the owners behind what will be an Italian bar-café called Borgo Italia, which could be open as soon as late summer.  

Plenty of events for the discerning foodie this month. Look out for Livermore’s Taste of Downtown on August 4 and 5, Gourmet Gallop in downtown Walnut Creek on August 9, the Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival on August 18, Danville’s Art & Wine Stroll on August 23, and Benicia’s Taste of First Street on August 28.


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