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Weekly Dish: Pizza Champ

A pizza star coming to Walnut Creek; an oyster bar opens in Oakland; and outdoor festivals galore.


Walnut Creek’s planned 1500 Mt. Diablo Boulevard development.

Courtesy of BH Development/Rendering by Robert Becker with IDF Global

Slice House Coming to the Creek

Big news this week for 1500 Mt. Diablo, the building going up across from Tiffany, Neiman Marcus, and Pottery Barn in Walnut Creek. The third and final restaurant announced for the project will be a Slice House by Tony Gemignani.

Gemignani, who owns 13 pizzerias around the country, is a local body done great. Originally from Castro Valley, he has won numerous accolades for his pizza-making and -throwing skills, including the 2007 World Champion Pizza Maker award at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy. He was the first American and first non-Neapolitan victor.

“There are a lot of pizza places opening up in the area, but Tony is the best there is,” says developer Brian Hirahara. “It doesn’t get much better than that, so he’s the icing on the cake for our building.”

Gemignani has also been named the U.S. ambassador of Neapolitan pizza by the city of Naples.

Sara Remington for The Pizza Bible by Tenspeed press

“Slice House is Tony’s quick-serve concept with pizza-by-the-slice and--much more,” says Hirahara. “We feel it will fill a niche of high quality, quick-serve, non-chain food that is not being filled currently. And, to boot, he’ll be open breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late at night, which is a huge plus.”

In addition to artisan pizza, the Slice House will serve housemade pastas and Italian sausages, salads, soups, subs, and fresh-pressed juices and gourmet coffees. The pizza comes in four styles: New York, Sicilian, Grandma, and California, and will be cooked in an Italian brick oven. Multi-ancient grain and gluten free options will be available.

And for dessert? Gelato and Tiramisu, of course.

If Gemignani looks familiar, you may recognize him from stories in Diablo magazine, as well as his appearances on Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, and The Food Network. 

The Walnut Creek Slice House is set to open in January.

Hirahara also announced the opening schedule for the other restaurants in his building: Spanish-style Teleferic Barcelona is expected to open by early December, and Rooftop, the lively bar and restaurant that will cater to the nightlife crowd, will open early next year.

Also set to open in the building will be a clothing store called Vineyard Vines (as in Martha’s Vineyard). It is slated to open November 13.


Epicurean Market Opens in Oakland

Grand Fare Market made its debut this week on Grand Avenue. With a 4,500-square-foot indoor space, it has endless food options.

The market carries produce, bread, milk, and other grocery items, and houses Brother and Sisters, a flower shop.

Ben Coe (of Box and Bells) is filling the cafe with prepared foods such as salads, sandwiches, and chicken.

An oyster bar with a view of Grand Avenue is serving draft beers and wines.

A 1948 Airstream-style trailer is serving up fresh pastries, Humphry Slocombe ice cream, and more. Treats can be enjoyed in the outdoor, Parisian-style patio garden, which is lined with trees.

The operation is open 'til 10 p.m.


New Bakery to Open in Dublin

Great Harvest Bread Company, a well-known chain coffee shop, sandwich shop, and bakery, opens this week in Dublin.

Specialty breads will be available on rotation, including farmhouse white, cheddar garlic, cinnamon chip, and a breakfast blast packed with dates, oats, and honey galore. The bakery is best known for its honey whole-wheat bread.

Trail mix and snack bars will also available. There will even be dog treats for Fido.


Oktoberfest at the Yacht Club

Head over to Walnut Creek Yacht Club tonight for house-made soft pretzels, sausages, and fun. Tickets cost $65, and the keg will be tapped at 6 p.m. sharp. Attendees will get a free Oktoberfest beer stein. Save room for the apfelstrudel and Schnapps!


Savor Fall in Dublin

If you dream of fall foods the way I do, head to the Dublin Harvest Fair at Dublin Heritage Park on October 17 for pie, popcorn, and caramel apples. Wash it all down with hot apple cider.

After you’ve munched through that caramel apple, visit the farm animals and the scarecrow exhibit and listen to The Dublin Bluegrass Jam Band as they rock the Hay Barn. Face painting, arts and crafts vendors, and tractor-pulled wagon rides will also be available. The 1910 Kolb House and 1850s Murray Schoolhouse will be open for tours. 

If you want to teach your children about the “good ole days,” you can buy a $5 activity pass so they can pan for gold, do laundry with an old-fashioned washboard, and churn their own butter.


Inspired by Persimmons

The Persimmon Pairing Festival is October 18 in Dublin. Buy a $10 tasting ticket in advance for bites from Persimmon Place eateries, and sips from wineries including Concannon Vineyard, Crooked Vine and Stony Ridge Winery, The Steven Kent Winery, and Nottingham Cellars.

Bringing kids? Enjoy games, prizes, contests, and a kids zone while you boogy down to music from Pride and Joy. Proceeds benefit the Alameda County Community Food Bank, so you can stroll, taste, and sip while contributing to a good cause.


Courtesy of Downtown Pleasanton

Brews and Boos in Pleasanton

Go trick or treating—without the kids—in downtown Pleasanton. Tickets to the fifth annual Halloween Brew Crawl on October 24 are now on sale for $35. This event is arguably better than the endless Kit Kat bars you’ll nibble on Halloween. Participants will sample bites and craft beer at more than 25 locations.

Look for your favorite suds such as Altamont Beer Works, Sauced BBQ and Spirits, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Main Street Brewery, Speakeasy Ales and Lagers, Mendocino Brewing Company, and many more. Costumes are encouraged.

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