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Diablo Dish: Fat Maddie’s Now Open in Pleasant Hill

Starbucks Reserve gets ready to open on Hartz Avenue; Lafayette's Rustic Tavern is closing; EMC Seafood and Raw Bar soft opening in Concord; Easter dining options around the East Bay; and more Dish.


Fat Maddie’s Opened Its Doors in Pleasant Hill

A sister restaurant of the San Ramon favorite, Fat Maddie’s Barrelhouse and Bistro opened Monday, March 19, in downtown Pleasant Hill (in the former Pasta Pomodoro spot), and diners can expect the same farm-to-table sensibility in the new location.

If you doubt the “farm” part of the concept, consider that (a) the Stephanos family that owns Fat Maddie’s has its own farm in San Ramon, and (b) that Fat Maddie’s is named for the family’s favorite goat.

The menu leans toward sandwiches, burgers, and salads, but there’s also fried chicken, pork chops, and salmon on the menu.


Starbucks Reserve, La Brea CA

Special Starbucks Reserve Opens Monday in Danville

It may seem like there’s a Starbucks on every other corner in California (it seems that way because that’s how it really is), but the new Hartz Avenue Starbucks is just one of 35 in the entire country.

What makes it special? An “immersive bar” that takes Starbucks Reserve coffee (hence the name) and combines it with barista craft and premium brewing. For example, look for siphon, Clover, chemex, or Black Eagle brewing techniques;nitro cold brew taps; and extra menu items such as ice cream; and even more elaborate coffee creations.

Get there Monday, March 26, and be the first to enjoy an Americano con crema: espresso and orange-piloncillo syrup finished with coffee-spiced foam and demerara syrup. Half-caf, of course …


Lafayette's Rustic Tavern Closing Saturday

After nearly five years on Mt. Diablo Boulevard, Rustic Tavern will close after Saturday (March 24) evening. Gary and Tressa Rust posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page that issues over a lease extension forced them to shut down the popular restaurant, but they also promised that a new venture is in the works.

Whatever that venture is, here’s hoping the fettucine carbonara returns to the menu—just one of several standouts on the Rustic Tavern roster. Of course, there are still a few days left to return to Rustic Tavern before the doors close, but it would be a very good idea to have a reservation. A lot of folks are going to want to say goodbye.


EMC Seafood and Raw Bar

EMC Seafood Sneaks Quietly into The Veranda in Concord

The seventh EMC Seafood and Raw Bar is now in its soft opening phase at The Veranda, which means the East Bay will have its first opportunity to sample a seafood-oriented, upscale menu that has a definite Asian tinge (which makes sense as the chain began in L.A.’s Koreatown in 2013).

Though there’s plenty on the menu already, expect a significant expansion with the official opening on March 23.


4505 Burgers and BBQ Jumps into Oakland

The popular San Francisco barbecue restaurant will land in the Laurel District in Oakland this summer, bringing with it the usual barbecue suspects: beef brisket, pulled pork, and sausage.

4505 began as a meat company, with butcher/owner/now chef Ryan Farr focusing on whole beast butchery and sausage making, but has now expanded into chicharrones (fried pork rinds) and restaurants.



Easter Options Include More than Just Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are fun to dye and hunt for, but they don’t necessarily make for a delicious Easter meal, so here are a few ways to expand the menu beyond salted yolks.

Lucia’s: The Berkeley restaurant will take full advantage of its wood oven, with roast lamb in honor of Nonna and grandmothers everywhere. Also on the menu are lasagna, eggplant Parmigiana, and Neapolitan pizza.

Lake Chalet: Visits from the Easter Bunny and an Easter egg hunt are set for noon and 3 p.m., and there will be a special brunch/lunch menu until 3 p.m. The regular menu will be available all day, as will the views of Lake Merritt.

Donato and Co.: The Elmwood District spot will offer a $39 prix fixe with torta, pasta, and dessert.

District Oakland: An all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and bottomless mimosas highlight the downtown restaurant’s 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Easter celebration—and it’s just $35 ($22 for buffet only).

The Terrace Room: A $65 brunch buffet is on offer at The Terrace Room in Oakland, which includes the usual brunch items, plus a chop salad bar, petrale sole, and other specialties. Children under 12 dine for $30, and those younger than 5 eat for free.


Michel Bistro to Transform into Bardo Lounge and Supper Club

Though the transition won’t be immediate, Michelin Bib Gourmand winner Michel Bistro is set to become a neighborhood lounge and supper club for the Lakeshore District in Oakland.

The Bardo Lounge and Supper Club will echo the ambiance of a 1960s-era dinner party with a living room–inspired cocktail lounge and a smaller upstairs dining room. Happy hours, late-night bites, and weekend brunches will attract those who loved Michel Bistro, but note that the popular French restaurant will stay open until April 13, when remodeling begins.


If You Like Free Food, Head to Agave Uptown Saturday

Yes, that’s right. In these days of $20 hamburgers, there’s still a chance for a free lunch—or at least something close to it.

Oakland’s Agave Uptown will host a free tasting from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24, featuring Agave Uptown appetizers that showcase its special mole (conveniently on sale in 16-ounce jars). Then at 4 p.m., the parents of chef-owner Octavio Diaz will do a presentation on the secret family recipe, followed by live music on the patio.

To take advantage of all this—and some special mezcal flights—guests need to RSVP.

Got Dish? Send an email to dish@maildiablo.com. Or follow me on Twitter @DiabloDish.

Happy Hour Bar & Bites at
The Cooperage

Monday through Friday
3pm – 5:30pm


This isn’t your typical happy hour. This quintessential neighborhood spot offers high-quality craft cocktails on tap and tasty bites. Menu features: $10 cocktails on tap, $5 select beer & wine, $1 oysters, $7 bacon cheeseburger sliders, $7 crispy beer battered shrimp sliders, $9 sashimi-grade ahi tuna tartare. 

32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette
​Reservations: www.thecooperagelafayette.com or 925.298.5915

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