Weekly Dish: Good Eats on the Way
FarmHouse in Pleasanton, Roam Artisan Burgers in Lafayette; Box & Bells in Oakland: all opening soon; and more!
Roam Artisan Burgers are coming to Lafayette in December.
New restaurants, new restaurants, new restaurants! Nothing provides more hop in my step than a promising new dining spot this close to opening, and we have a few of them coming up. Here’s a rundown …
FarmHouse Eatery & Bar, Pleasanton
Folks attending sample meals are buzzing about this interesting concept coming to 600 Main St. in downtown Pleasanton. A husband-and-wife Livermore team is planning a menu of inventive breakfast and brunch dishes (think Red Velvet pancakes and stuffed French toast) during the day, while staying open late as a cocktail bar with snacks.
Estimated opening date: November 1 (although look out for a soft opening before that)
Box & Bells, Oakland
Michelin-starred Commis chef-owner James Syhabout’s new gastropub concept in Rockridge has been a longtime coming, but it sounds like an opening could finally be imminent. The butcher paper is off the windows, tables and chairs are set up, and everything looks just about ready to go. And how’s this for on-the-ground reporting: I spoke with a staff member inside (he caught me staring in the windows like the foodie equivalent of a peeping tom), who told me that things look promising for a launch as soon as next week. I remain skeptical, but hey: That’s what the man told me. boxandbells.com.
Estimated opening date: Next week?
Roam Artisan Burger, Lafayette
Roam was one of the first to jump aboard the artisan burger craze with two locations in San Francisco, and now it is taking over the former AG Ferrari location in Lafayette’s Fiesta Square. And they’re serious about the gourmet thing, using pasture-raised, grass fed, and all-natural meats in their burgers, and feature seasonal veggies and salads. roamburgers.com.
Estimated opening date: Second week of December
Couple of side notes relating to James Syhabout …
1) I ran into Adam Lamoreaux, the nice owner of Oakland’s Linden Street Brewery, at this Sunday’s Taste the Nation food and wine tasting at the Claremont (great event by the way, and it supports a good cause: childhood hunger). He told me that The Dock at Linden, his joint beer garden-restaurant project with Syhabout, has breezed through most of the permitting process, and at this rate, could debut as soon as January.
2) For the last two years, Syhabout's Commis has been the East Bay restaurant awarded a coveted Michelin star. That remains the case, as the French restaurant guide’s 2014 edition just dropped, and Commis retained its one star. Probably the only other contender would have been Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, which remains star-less after losing it a couple years ago. You can check the website for a complete list.
One place that you won’t have to wait for …
828 Bites & Brews, the Main Street Brewery spinoff located next door on Main Street, is now open. The menu isn’t up online yet, but when I talked to him last, owner Matt Billings promised a completely different wine and beer list, as well as a unique food menu that would be more oriented toward small plates.
Speaking of beer, downtown Pleasanton is holding its third annual Halloween Brew Crawl this Saturday. More than 40 varieties of beer will be poured at 26 participating local merchants, and costumes are encouraged. Should be fun. Click here for all the details.
Looks like Shakewell Bar & Kitchen, the planned Oakland restaurant from ex Top Chef alums Jennifer Biesty and Tim Nugent, is coming into focus. And by that, I mean there’s a sample menu up online. CLICK HERE to check it out, but some highlights (at least from my perspective) include housemade mortadella with smoked current mustard, la Valencia rabbit and snails, lamb chops harissa with preserved lemon, and a whole section on “little fishes.”
The Big G, Guy Fieri, is coming to town. Per Patch, he’ll be visiting his Johnny Garlic’s restaurant in Dublin on November 2 for a book signing of his newest opus, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives-The Funky Finds in Flavortown.
Some changes over at Fusebox, West Oakland’s cool Korean fusion eatery (chef-owner Sunhui Chang won one of Diablo’s best new chef awards last year). Chang says that Fusebox is suspending lunch service for the time being and will be focusing on dinner—the restaurant is now open Wednesday–Saturday, 6:30–9 p.m., plus happy hour on those same days from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. They’re also working on getting some outdoor grilling tables going on the front patio, and are concentrating on special events, including a special $40 prix fixe dinner happening Halloween night (called "Supernatural Seoul: Ghosts of Dogtown"). Call the restaurant for details. (510) 444-3100, fuseboxoakland.com.
The aggressively named Gotta Eat Pitta will very shortly be replacing The Dog at 110 Hartz Ave. As you might expect, it’s a quick-serve Mediterranean concept, and one that should appeal to folks looking for a quick healthy option for lunch. Owner Yaniv Benaroya is an Alamo resident who has been making pita for two decades since college, so it should be good stuff. CLICK HERE to check out the menu.