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Diablo Dish: August

The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards welcomes a new head chef; the Danville Hotel plans for beer, pastries, and pizza; and more dining news.


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Vitality Bowls / by Shachar Gilad

Livermore has welcomed a new chef and a new restaurant. At The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, Bay Area local Mike Ward was hired as head chef, replacing former executive chef Matt Greco, who departed earlier this year. Ward most recently worked at Tyler Florence’s El Paseo in Mill Valley. Ward’s new menu launches in September. Also, Petra Middle Eastern Authentic Cuisine opened in Livermore’s Target shopping center.

A brewpub, bakery, and pizzeria are all in the works for the Danville Hotel, which could open as soon as late 2015. Danville Brewing Co., run by Bridges Restaurant managing general partner Randy Negi, will serve gourmet burgers, an extensive salad menu, and—of course—beer. The Danville Hotel will be the first Bay Area location for Sonoma-based Basque Boulangerie Café, which specializes in breads, pastries, and other baked goods. And Lafayette’s Pizza Antica will open a second East Bay location inside the hotel, where it will churn out Italian-style pizzas made with locally grown ingredients from small family farms.

Vitality Bowls had its grand opening in Dublin’s Persimmon Place shopping center in early July. The center will also be the first Northern California location for Urban Plates in early September. The restaurant let’s you choose from more than 23 sides, six proteins, and 10 salads.

The Advocate is slated to open in August in Berkeley. The restaurant’s chef, John Griffiths, is new to the Bay Area, after being at The Kitchen in Sacramento. He will prepare Northern Californian food with Mediterranean and North African influences. The restaurant, named for Berkeley’s activism, will also offer cocktails, and will be preparing some of its dishes wood grilled.

In Oakland, Mexican restaurant Calavera is on track to open in August as part of The Hive, a mixed-use space in Uptown that will also house a beer garden and pizza kitchen from Drake’s Brewing Company, and a coffee bar, Red Bay Coffee. Run by Chris Pastena, who also owns Chop Bar and Lungomare, Calavera will offer dishes such as chicken mole tacos, as well as a large tequila selection.

North Oakland was slated to welcome the California rustic restaurant Salsipuedes in late July. The vibe is seaside BBQ, with a focus on fresh seafood alongside a selection of coastal wines.

Lotus Persian Cuisine in Pleasanton is having a grand reopening in early to mid-August, as a new chef will be serving a completely different Persian menu. Expect roughly 15 kebabs, more vegetarian dishes, and beer and wine.

Off the Grid started bringing its vendors to Walnut Creek in July. Every Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m., various food trucks populate the site of the old McDonald’s in downtown Walnut Creek, with food, drinks, and live music.

After acquiring the company that owned La Boulange in 2012 for $100 million, Starbucks is closing all 23 locations of the French bakery-café, three of which are in the East Bay. All cafés will be closed by the end of September.

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