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Diablo Dish: Say Ciao to Chow

Chow Lafayette changes in name only; Cielito soon to arrive in Danville; Mägo hopes to make magic on Piedmont Avenue; the Night Market returns to Pleasanton; and more Dish.


Chow Is Out and Tutu’s Is In

The last outpost for Chow restaurant group, which began in San Francisco in 1997, was the Lafayette location, but now that too has closed its doors—in a way.

Though the sign in La Fiesta Square now reads “Tutu’s Food and Drink,” much of the menu and staff have remained the same—though note that Tutu’s doesn’t yet have a liquor license.

Cracks began to show in the Chow fleet when its ambitious (and expensive) expansion on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue foundered due to parking issues and lots of competition. In the end, what was once a thriving and popular Bay Area franchise slowly slipped under the waves.

Tutu’s, of course, could dance its way into the hearts of Bay Area diners and be the beginning of another success story. That’s one thing about the restaurant industry: You never know.


Cielito Close to Opening in Former Chow Spot in Danville

Speaking of Chow, Cielito’s plans are to open the first week of June on Railroad Avenue, but plans (and especially restaurant development plans) sometimes don’t keep to schedule. But whether the opening is June 3 or June 13, look for another Mexican food option in Danville sooner or later, this one with an emphasis on “authentic, regional Mexican cuisine from Puebla and Oaxaca.” 


Mägo / Isabel Baer

Mägo and Its Micro-season Menu Debut

Mägo, as those who speak Spanish know, means magician, and chef Mark Liberman earned that nickname while working at restaurants such as AQ, TBD, and Fenix. Now he’s going to work his wizardry on the southern end of Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue in his new venture, Mägo, which opens Tuesday, May 28.

 “There’s a lot of fast-casual [in this area], and then there’s places like [Michelin two-star] Commis,” says Liberman. “We want to be in that midrange.”

Liberman will explore Northern California’s 52 micro-seasons (who knew?) through an evolving weekly menu served in a casual setting. “Our menu is really focused on what’s available at the market,” he says. It will be family-style food, as well as live-fire cooking and a full bar. Early adopters, though, will have to wait to see the yet-to-be-painted mural that will one day highlight an entire wall. 


Night Market Back in Pleasanton

The Alameda County Fairgrounds will come alive Friday through Sunday as the NorCal Night Market, with its collection of food, drink, crafts, and merchandise inspired by the open-air night markets found in Asia, returns for the first of three 2019 visits.

Single-day tickets are just $5 and a three-night pass is $12, giving visitors access not only to the 200-plus vendors but also live music and entertainment. Hours are 3 p.m. to midnight each day. 


Minnie Bell's / Public Market Emeryville

Minnie Bell’s and Mama Lamees Make News at Emeryville Public Market

The omens were good when Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement chef Fernay McPherson took over the pop-up space once occupied by now-famous Nyum Bai chef Nite Yun—and our high hopes were justified, as Minnie Bell’s and its Southern comfort food will move into a permanent stall at the Public Market.

Meanwhile, Mama Lamees and its Middle Eastern food will take over the pop-up space, hoping the magic rubs off.

Not coincidentally, both Minnie Bell’s and Mama Lamees are products of La Cocina, a San Francisco nonprofit that supports entrepreneurship among women, immigrants, and people of color.


Postino Fire Update: Reopening Expected in August

After a kitchen fire April 16, Postino’s reopening is now set for August—longer than had been hoped for, but shorter than it could have been. 

Still on tap, however, is the Postino Golf Tournament at Oakhurst Country Club on Aug. 12, which benefits the American Cancer Society.


Action Is Ongoing at Walnut Creek’s The Orchards

Sourdough and Company, which not surprisingly specializes in sandwiches made with sourdough bread, is now open at The Orchards.

And on the way to join it is Clean Juice, which equally unsurprisingly focuses on fresh juices and healthy granola bowls filled with organic ingredients. 


Knife Fight Gauntlet 2018 winner Lamont Perriman of Montperi Catering / Patanisha Williams

To Win This Knife Fight, You Need a Spatula

The Knife Fight Gauntlet, a three-part cooking competition, will begin Sunday, May 26, at Jack London Square, as seven chefs are challenged to make a meal from ingredients in a mystery basket. Their creations will be judged by a panel of industry professionals, and the champion will be crowned on July 28.

The Gauntlet runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—concurrently with the Jack London Square Farmers Market—and though the competition is free to watch, tasting tickets are available for $25. 




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