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Diablo Dish — December '06


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Some big-city flavor is hitting the burbs: Metro Lafayette, a restaurant backed by Lafayette resident and restaurateur Jack Moore and chef Mark Lusardi, is slated to open this winter.

Moore, who has opened restaurants across the country for chefs such as Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck, has transformed the spot formerly occupied by Aladdini’s. Lusardi, formerly of Pearl Oyster Bar in Oakland and a consulting chef for Taste in Berkeley’s Epicurious Garden, says he’s excited to be working east of the tunnel. "It’s a perfect segue for me. This side of the tunnel is notoriously underserved, and I’m looking forward to the great weather." Metro’s food will be California-French but will incorporate a raw bar and Asian influences.

More changes are afoot in Walnut Creek restaurateur Jeff Dudum’s empire. Bing Crosby’s executive chef Dave Anderson has been promoted to director of kitchen operations for all of the corporation’s concept restaurants. Jared Doob, former chef at LuLu’s in San Francisco, has replaced Anderson as executive chef at Bing’s. Frank Palmer, Bing’s founding chef and former chef at the Duck Club in Lafayette, continues as culinary director for Dudum Sports & Entertainment, and Allen Vitti, a former chef at Bridges in Danville, who joined the Dudum team as executive chef at McCovey’s, is now executive chef for another restaurant in the group: Joe DiMaggio’s Italian Chophouse in San Francisco.

When Lunardi’s took over the Danville Andronico’s in September, all of the cooking classes scheduled to take place at the upscale grocery store were canceled. Lunardi’s is currently renting out the demo kitchen for private events and team-building activites. Lunardi’s staff members can help renters book area chefs to lead programs at the facility.

Just in time for the holidays, Patrick David’s restaurant in Danville has teamed up with Takeout Taxi (a company that delivers restaurant food to people’s homes) to create a service called Savory Feasts. The new venture offers clients multicourse meals delivered to their doorsteps. Deliveries provide enough food for a small dinner party of six to 12 guests, and a meal might include chilled prawns with cocktail sauce; organic leaf salad with pears, Gorgonzola, and candied walnuts; fire roasted, grass-fed filet mignon; and warm chocolate soufflé for dessert.

A beloved chain—The Cheesecake Factory—opened in Pleasanton’s Stoneridge Shopping Center to hoards of diners last month. P. F. Chang’s China Bistro, another popular chain, is slated to open at the mall next month.

The popular Parkway Theater in Oakland opened a second location November 1 in a historic building in El Cerrito. The Cerrito Theater, on San Pablo Avenue, had been closed for more than 40 years. Renovations restored the 1937 building, and the addition of a second story has brought seating capacity to 270. Just like the Parkway, the newly named Cerrito Speakeasy Theater has in-theater dining tables and a bar in the lobby where patrons can order beer, wine, and casual fare, such as pizza, to enjoy while they watch the film. The new location also has a café.

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