Diablo Dish: La Fiesta Square Gets More Festive
Stella to replace Ferrari’s Cucina Italiana; Citra Grill is closing; and a brunch deal.
Keeping Up With The Cooperage
Lafayette’s La Fiesta Square has become a hotbed of good eats, from Roam Artisan Burgers to Chow to La Châtaigne, and Merilee McCormick of The Cooperage American Grille isn’t letting the grass grow under her feet, either.
She brought in a new management team in August, and now she has Miles Kline running the kitchen. Since Kline took over in December, his extensive Bay Area background has made a mark on the menu, with new additions including the ginger garlic rubbed ribs. (Think: Heritage-breed St. Louis spare ribs braised in Westfalia amber ale, rubbed with ginger and garlic, and served with apple cabbage slaw. Your mouth watering yet?)
Even more changes are en route: A smoker is arriving in the near future, giving Kline the opportunity to show off his grilling skills and add some barbecue to the menu.
The bar has also added some craft cocktails to the usual favorites. Try the Falling Star (Nolet’s Gin, Jardesca, Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water, blood orange, juniper, and star anise).
Despite some changes, the restaurant will still feature American comfort food—with a twist. “I like to observe what people want,” says Kline, “and give it to them in a way they wouldn’t expect.”
Rodney Worth Shuttering Blackhawk Restaurant
Ferrari’s Cucina Italiana in Blackhawk, one of Rodney Worth's several Northern California outlets, has been sold to new owners who will reopen it as Stella. The eatery is expected to open soon (no extensive remodeling is planned), with a wine-driven Italian concept and a full bar.
"We can't find enough employees to work," said Worth, who is also shutting down The Pear Southern Bistro in Napa on February 1. He added that the food industry worker shortage is endemic throughout Northern California, and the minimum wage increase is making it more expensive to operate restaurants.
Given the increasing cost of labor, Worth anticipates that restaurants are either going to have to close or raise their prices. "People better get ready for the $30 hamburger," he said.
We hope he was just joking.
Upscale Pizza Coming to Berkeley
It might not happen until 2018, but the popular Boot and Shoe Service (yes, it is a restaurant and not a shoe repair store) is expanding into Berkeley. According to Berkeleyside Nosh, Charlie Hallowell is taking over the Build Pizzeria Roma space at Bancroft and Shattuck, offering his pizzas and pastas to folks outside of Oakland for the first time.
But there’s something to keep in mind: The menu states that absolutely no electronic devices are permitted at the table, so teenage offspring (and more than a few of their parents) will have to figure out a way to survive a meal without constant contact with the outside world.
Citra Grill Closing
Several of our staffers were disappointed to hear that Walnut Creek’s Citra Grill is closing in the coming weeks. The owners lost their lease at their current location, but they plan to reopen at another site as a full-service restaurant with some new menu offerings (according to Beyond the Creek).
Hopefully that means the delicious meat skewers and fresh flatbread will find another home soon, and our hard-working staff will once again have Citra Grill as a lunchtime option. We’ll keep you posted.
Brunch With a View
Here’s another reason to check out Eve’s Waterfront Restaurant: a $35 weekend brunch buffet, which can be enjoyed with bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys for an additional $15.
Located just south of Jack London Square, the new eatery offers a seafood-focused buffet that features shrimp, snow crab, and clam chowder. There’s also a salad station with assorted greens, toppings, and dressings—plus fresh fruit and cheese. A hot station offers even more items, including eggs (scrambled or poached), waffles, breakfast potatoes, carved meats (sirloin, pork loin, ham), Mary's organic fried chicken, a taco bar, and a pasta bar.
If the mimosas and Bloody Marys don’t quite hit the spot, try the bar’s specialty cocktail, which is one of our favorites: Eve’s Sunset, featuring pineapple-infused vodka, lime juice, pineapple juice, and raspberry liqueur.