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Diablo Dish: Salvatore Ristorante Reopening as Benvenuti in March

Lamorinda Pizza arrives in Alamo soon; Bay Wolf returns as The Wolf; a new pub in Jack London Square; more eateries come to Emeryville’s Public Market; and special dinners at Prima and Comal.



The Wait is Almost Over

The much-loved Salvatore Ristorante in Walnut Creek closed last July to undergo an extensive renovation, and while the improvements took longer than expected, eager diners won’t have to wait much longer to see the new incarnation.

The owners announced earlier this week that they are finishing the final touches and will be reopening the Italian eatery in March under a new name: Benvenuti.

The opening has been pushed back multiple times, but we’re hoping this one sticks! We’re looking forward to seeing the updated dining room and the new menu. We’ll let you know once an exact opening date has been announced.

 

Lamorinda Pizza in Alamo

Maybe the “a” at the end of Lamorinda stands for Alamo, as the offshoot of the Moraga-based pizzeria is set to open in early March across from Ace Hardware.

Owner John McGrath feels confident that Alamo is a good fit for Lamorinda Pizza. “I live in Alamo, and Alamo is very similar to Moraga,” he says. But diners should expect some changes: “We are revamping the whole menu,” says McGrath, “and adding focaccia pizzas.”

McGrath can’t wait to get the new location up and running, and it seems like all the pieces are in place for the first pizza to slide out of the oven in just a few weeks.

 

KoJa Kitchen

KoJa Kitchen to Replace Citra Grill

Walnut Creek’s Citra Grill closed last month after the owners lost their lease, but a new restaurant is already slated to move into the space: KoJa Kitchen.

The Korean-Japanese eatery specializes in gourmet sandwiches made with garlic-flavored rice buns and meats (think: short rib, beef, braised pork). The menu also features an array of Asian-fusion bowls, tacos, and salads.  

KoJa started as a food truck and became so popular that the owners decided to open a brick-and-mortar location in 2014. Now, there are six restaurants throughout the Bay Area, including outlets in Berkeley and Emeryville.

We’ll let you know when an opening date has been announced for its latest location!

 

The Return of the (Bay) Wolf

After 18 months and extensive remodeling, the legendary Bay Wolf in Oakland has reopened—sort of.

The reincarnation of the iconic eatery is actually called The Wolf, and though new owners Rich and Rebekah Wood are friends of former Bay Wolf co-owner Michael Wild, there will be some differences. The upgrades include an open kitchen as well as a revamped menu by Yang Peng, who has worked with the Woods at Wood Tavern and Southie.

But Wild’s original 1975 vision will remain the same, as the French-American restaurant will focus on locally sourced, seasonal cuisine. The menu features California takes on French classics, such as steak tartare with hollandaise and chives, veal ossobuco alongside green garlic potato puree, and seared maple leaf duck breast with grits.

And out of left field: Also involved in the project is Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin, who won’t have to travel far from the Coliseum to drop in for a post-game meal.

 

The Arrival of Seawolf

It seems as though the East Bay is turning into wolf country, with the Tuesday opening of Seawolf Public House in Jack London Square.

Housed in a refurbished 1882 Victorian building, Seawolf offers American pub fare, such as beef and Guinness chili, a Korean fried-chicken sandwich, beef shank with tater tots, and cheddar cheese curds. The eatery also features a rotating selection of local brews on tap.

Seawolf is hosting its first event tomorrow to commemorate SF Beer Week. Attendees will be able to sample Sierra Nevada’s newest offerings and some delicious pub grub. A portion of the proceeds will go to Oakland Heritage Alliance.

When you stop by, be sure to check out the photos and artifacts that recall the days of Jack London and old Oakland …

 

Calavera Brings in New Talent

Uptown Oakland’s Calavera is welcoming a new executive chef to the team: Gustavo Romero, who is originally from Mexico. He will continue the restaurant’s modern take on traditional regional Mexican cooking while adding his own twists. 

Most recently the chef de cuisine at Marin Restaurant in Minneapolis, Romero previously worked as the executive chef at San Francisco’s Credo restaurant. In 2013, he appeared on Food Network’s “Chef Wanted” show with celebrity chef Anne Burrell and won his competition.

His new role at Calavera will allow him to shift back to his roots and the rich culinary heritage of Mexico, and East Bay diners will be the lucky beneficiaries.

 

Tender Greens

Tender Greens Goes Through the Tunnel

The fifth Bay Area Tender Greens is having its grand opening today, offering high-quality, fast-casual food at its newest location on University Avenue in Berkeley.

Chef Sean Eastwood is moving from Walnut Creek’s Tender Greens to run the Berkeley kitchen, so expect more of the same soups, sandwiches, salads, and plates. No word yet on who will replace Eastwood in the Creek.

 

Public Market Emeryville

More Ethnic Eats at Emeryville’s Public Market

Popular for its variety of ethnic food at reasonable prices, the renovated Public Market Emeryville is getting a couple of new additions.

Nyum Bai, a Cambodian street-food concept is joining the likes of Shiba Ramen, KoJa Kitchen, We Sushi, and Wazwan Indian Cuizine at the market. Nyum Bai will offer a rotating menu of noodle, rice, and curry dishes with aromatic broths and crunchy toppings. Chef-owner Nite Yun was born in a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand after her parents fled the Khmer Rouge. She immigrated to Stockton with her family when she was a little girl. Now, she’s recreating her favorite foods.

The Public Market will also get a taste of Peru with the April opening of chef Carlos Altamirano’s latest venture: Paradita Eatery. The new fast-casual restaurant will serve Peruvian street food, including classic sandwiches, grilled anticuchos (meat skewers), pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken), and a selection of organic salads. It will also offer “grab-and-go” options and curbside service for those who want a quick meal on the go. Paradita, which means “little market” in Peruvian Spanish slang, is a nod to the eatery’s sister restaurant Parada in Walnut Creek. Altamirano is also behind Mochica and Piqueo’s in San Francisco, La Costanera in Montara, and the Sanguchon food trucks.

It looks like we’re going to have to take two trips to the Public Market…

 

The Casbah is Closing

The Casbah Café in Livermore is shutting its doors within the next month, subtracting a Mediterranean menu from the quiet end of First Street. Rumor has it that the Beach Hut Deli, a West Coast sandwich chain with a location in Brentwood, will be moving in across from the Vine Cinema and Alehouse.

We’ll keep you posted!

 

Face-Off at Farm Creek Brewing

Starting at 4 p.m. today, Farm Creek Brewing in Walnut Creek will open its casks of ESB (Extra Special Bitter, an old-style English beer) for the Farm Creek Firkin Face-Off.

Some of the casks, also known as firkins, feature extra ingredients added by the Farm Creek staff—such as raisins, nuts, raspberries, blood oranges, and whiskey-soaked chips. Visitors will have a chance to vote on their favorite cask after having a chance to taste them all, which should make for a fun evening.

 

Fieldwork Brewing and Comal Sell Out

No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Comal isn’t going to start using canned sauces, and Fieldwork Brewing Company isn’t selling out to a multinational company—the “sell out” refers to the unfortunate fact that there are no more tickets available for the February 20 dinner by Comal chef Matt Gandin and Fieldwork brewmaster Alex Tweet.

Luckily, a second dinner has been added for Sunday, February 21.

The two events are part of the Abajo Dinner Series lineup, which features offerings from Comal’s kitchen and featured vintners, brewers, and distillers. Tickets cost $75 and include food and drink.

The second dinner is likely to sell out fast, so act quickly!

 

All Hands on Deck at Prima

Quattro mani (which translates to “four hands” in Italian) is the theme for the special dinner at Walnut Creek’s Prima Ristorante on Tuesday, February 21. An Evening in Sardegna will feature food by Prima chef Peter Chastain and chef Alessandro Taras from the island of Sardinia (“Sardegna” to Italians). Taras is the chef at Argiolas Estate, which is renowned for its wines—and winemaker Antonio Argiolas will also be on hand to guide diners through the wine and food experience.

The event takes place from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. and costs $138. Seating will be limited, so swift action is a must for those who are interested in attending.


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