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Weekly Dish: Moving and Shaking in Oakland

Commonwealth and Encuentro expanding, Aunt Mary's plans a move, and more in this week's Dish!


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All kinds of movin’ and shakin’ happening in the Oak-town dining scene …

First up is Commonwealth Café & Public House. The popular British style pub, located in a non-nicknamed neighborhood between Temescal and Uptown on Telegraph, will be opening a second location down the road in Emeryville. Taking over the former Café Biere space at 3986 Adeline Street near the Pixar campus, the new location will have a similar concept with an emphasis on local and British craft beers and pub-style fare. However, this one has a full kitchen, according to owner Ahna Adair, allowing for expanding food offerings such as fish and chips and mussels and fries. It’s also similar as far as type of neighborhood, according to Adair, saying both were in underserved areas where lots of people lived and worked. Look for an opening in about four months.


Second up is Aunt Mary’s in Temescal. The packed breakfast/lunch/brunch spot has re-started dinner service, and according to the East Bay Express, has plans to move across the street to the former Clausen House thrift shop spot at 4834 Telegraph Avenue. The reason, per owner Jack Stewart via EBX, is that the new space has more kitchen room, making dinner service easier. And not least of all, it’s a bit closer to the more heavily trafficked end of the neighborhood and the likes of Pizzaiolo, Burma Superstar, and Bakesale Betty. Expect that move to happen sometime this summer. CLICK HERE to check out the dinner menu, by the way, which has similarly southern-focused comfort food theme with entrees such as meatloaf, chicken with cornbread coating, and pork chops (plus a burger and fried chicken sandwich).


And third is an update on the expansion plans for Encuentro in Jack London Square. The vegetarian wine bar announced last year that it would be expanding to a second location nearby with a larger kitchen and dining room. Well, sounds like it’s getting close. According to Encuentro staff, they’re planning to debut the new space in mid April at 550 Second Street near Yoshi’s. It’ll be a similarly vegetarian menu and function as more of a full service restaurant, while the original location at 200 Second Street will be more of a wine bar.


And one bonus piece of Oakland news for you: Abeni Massey’s long delayed Township project in downtown Oakland is nearing the home stretch. The founder of City Girl Farms said she’s tentatively eying April 15 for the opening date, and is already lining up a couple of very Oakland-y events, including the debut of a mural painted by a local street artist in May, and a joint grand opening party with Flight Deck--the collaborative art and performance space housed next door--in June. Another cool detail: Massey is planning, and has even been approved for, a rooftop garden that she hopes will supply some of the produce for the restaurant. There will also be an urban farming supply store open during the day, which will function as a café serving locally brewed Red Bay coffee and grab-and-go soups and sandwiches. The restaurant, meanwhile, will be open only for dinner, serving market-driven contemporary American fare with a full bar. It's located at 1545 Broadway. 


It’s official: The Cooperage has set an opening date. The much anticipated American grill in Lafayette’s Fiesta Lane will debut this Sunday, March 2. According to the website, owner Andrew McCormick’s eatery will be open for dinner only to start, eventually phasing in brunch and lunch over the next month. Check out executive chef Erik Hopfinger’s menus here: Looks like some good stuff.


One restaurant opens and another closes. According to Beyond the Creek, longtime local favorite French Bakery, Café, and Teahouse is shutting its doors March 2, to be replaced by an as-of-yet unnamed restaurant. We’ll keep you posted on that.


Back to openings, Kanishka’s in Walnut Creek is celebrating its grand opening this Friday, February 28 from 5 to 6:30 pm with tastes of wines, microbrews, and appetizers. The neo-Indian gastropub also has something special up its sleeve for the entire week following; check their Facebook page for updated details.


A big congratulations to Va de Vi, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. For the next two weeks starting today (Wednesday), February 26, the groundbreaking Walnut Creek small plates bistro and wine bar is offering an all-time favorites menu. That means bringing back such popular dishes as duck confit with hoisin plum sauce, Dungeness crab cakes, and huckleberry bread pudding. Make sure to wash it down with one of the wine flights, of which the restaurant sells an average of 20,000 per year.


Quick update on Concord Italian eatery 54 Mint’s planned new bakery, 54 Forno, headed to the former Walnut Creek Baking Company space on Locust Street. According to owner Claudio Ricciolini, they’re tentatively shooting to open the last week of March.


We Olive in Walnut Creek has supplemented its olive oil business by hosting a regular series of fun cooking classes. It’s now introducing another cool element to its downtown retail space: a wine bar where it will be serving small-lot artisanal California wines. They’ll also be hosting food and wine pairing workshops with local wineries, the first of which will be happening March 12 at 6 p.m. with Walnut Creek’s own Shadowbrook winery. CLICK HERE to sign up for that.


Last week, I reported on the apparent demise in the plans of Kandyland opening at Walnut Creek’s Mercer Center. Well, not only has that been confirmed, but it was brought to my attention that the space was recently filled by a new Starbucks. Which marks, roughly, the 837th Starbucks to open in Walnut Creek in the last five years ... 


Over in downtown Pleasanton, the Corner Creperie is at last up and running. French native and owner Claude Denys offers up authentic, made-from-scratch sweet and savory Brittany-style crepes at his little eatery at 349 Main Street.


Lauded Berkeley Japanese caterer Peko Peko is opening its very own izakaya in San Francisco this summer and has been hosting a series of pop-ups to test out its menu. The next Peko Peko pop-up (say that five times fast) is this Thursday at the Starlight Social Club in West Oakland. Check Facebook for details.


Oakland’s vegan soul food restaurant (appropriately named) Souley Vegan is starting a crowd-funding campaign in order to expand their line of packaged goods to more markets around the Bay Area. CLICK HERE for more information and to chip in.


Duende in Uptown Oakland is starting lunch service in its bodega, according to Tablehopper, highlighted by a seasonally changing selection of empanadas, flatbreads, and tostas. Yum …


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