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Weekly Dish: Get Your Barbecue

Bands and barbecue making sweet music together in Martinez all weekend; Nibbler's changes concepts; Marie Callender's restaurants shut down mid-meal; and more in this week's Dish!


There are plenty of great father's day brunches and dinners happening this weekend (click here for a nice round-up of activities), but one that seems particularly appropriate is the fifth annual King of the County Barbecue Challenge and Music Festival. Nothing says dad like the old man hovered over a fiery grill—and this two-day festival on the Martinez waterfront gives him a chance to hang up the tongs for a day and enjoy himself. Showing off their best this weekend will be local BBQ specialists Back-Forty, Kinder's, and Bulldog. And if dad wants to measure himself against all those other armchair bbq masters, both days will feature an amateurs barbecue contest. Other activities include a line-up of great bands, arts and crafts, a family entertainment zone, and plenty of wine and beer. 
Parking and admission is free. Martinez Waterfront Park, Tarantino Drive, Martinez. For more information, go to CountyBBQ.com.  

Turns out that owners Daniel Clayton and Trace Leighton are closing down Nibbler's Eatery and Wine Bar... but are opening a brand new restaurant in its place! The two are currently working to open another new restaurant, Origen in Berkeley, and it was a possibility that would be closing the Pleasant Hill space, but instead, Nibbler's will be reopening in early July as The Fig Tree. The new restaurant will be a casual American eatery utilizing seasonal farm fresh ingredients. It'll be open for dinner six days a week to start, then brunch and lunch to follow. Says Leighton, The Fig Tree "will be a great spot for a quick lunch, casual dinner, or just a coffee and housemade dessert."

Bizarre scene over the weekend as the national casual eatery chain Marie Callender's filed for bankruptcy and was forced to to shut down its four east Bay locations (along with 11 in northern California and 65 throughout the U.S.), in some cases literally kicking customers out mid-meal. Not sure if this should come as too much of a shock—Marie Callender's always seemed a little dated, like something from a previous era—but it's still a shock to see so many fairly large restaurants suddenly go dark. It'll be interesting to see what takes the place of the East Bay locations in San Ramon, Hayward, Walnut Creek, and Concord—especially the one in Walnut Creek right next door to Genova Deli.

If you're wondering what happened to the Piatti's in Danville, which closed its doors last month, not to worry. The restaurant is just performing a long-overdue interior remodel and is tentatively scheduled to reopen by this weekend with a refreshed dining room, and most noticeably, a redesigned bar area. According to GM John Perkins, the new bar area will also include a new bar menu with separate dishes available specifically in that section, versus just smaller portions from the regular menu. piatti.com

Cool event at Chow in Danville this Thursday as the restaurant is partnering with Sustainable Danville to offer a special $45 three-course prix fixe menu in which every ingredient, including the wine, is grown within a 150-mile radius of Danville. The meal consists of an appetizer, entrée, dessert, and a glass of wine and lasts from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Go to sustainabledanville.com for more information and to check out the menu. Click here to make reservations. Chow Danville, 445 Railroad Ave., Danville, (925) 838-4510, chowfoodbar.com.

Had a chance to drop by the recently opened Cuba Linda this week and was glad I did. This little spot on Salvio Street in Concord near the Brenden Theater is totally adorable and the citrus-marinated chicken sandwich with avocado and tomato that I tried was spot on. Interesting menu filled with traditional Cuban dishes like Ropa Vieja, Arroz con Pollo, croquetas, tostones, Cuban sandwiches, and of course, Cuban coffee. Check it out if you get a chance... 1909 Savlio St., Concord, (925) 798-2822, cubalindacafe.com.


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