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Diablo Dish: December

Check out the latest food news this month!


Denica's Real Food Kitchen // yelp.com

The craft beer boom continues with plans for an upscale gastropub in Walnut Creek. Tri-Valley residents Chris George and Mark Flaherty, both financial service veterans, are planning to open their pub in the former Cypress location. It will be called Sunol Ridge (named after a brewery the pair plan to open in Sunol), and will carry 30 craft beers on tap and high-end wines by the glass. The restaurant might be open as early as January or February.

Also in Walnut Creek, Kanishka’s, a “neo-Indian gastropub” from first-time restaurateur Paramita Roy, is set to open soon at 1518 Bonanza. Already doing business down the street at 1633 Bonanza is Cafecitos Café, offering a South American–themed menu with items ranging from Peruvian seafood to Ecuadoran ceviche to Brazilian churrasco grilled beef.

If the holiday season is weighing you down, here’s some good news: Veggie Grill is coming. Veggie Grill has more than 20 locations throughout the West and is looking to take over the old post office space on Locust Street in Walnut Creek. The decor is sleek and modern, and the vibe is not the typical hippy-tofu image, though many of the menu items are made from tempeh (or “wheat meat”).

“Fast casual” appears to be the name of the game these days, with three such restaurants opening around the East Bay. Lazy Dog Café, a BBQ dog-friendly chain, was set to debut its first NorCal location in Concord’s Willows Shopping Center in November. Ditto that time frame for Black Bear Diner at 5100 Hopyard Road in Pleasanton. Finally, a sister restaurant to popular Denica’s Café in Dublin has opened at Oak Grove and Ygnacio Valley roads in Walnut Creek. And a Livermore location is on the way.

A prime piece of real estate in downtown Orinda has finally been filled. More than two years after Trattoria Lupetti shut its doors, the space at 65 Moraga Way will be filled with a Mexican fusion restaurant. Fuscion, from the same owner as the recently debuted MexCal in Danville, will add Italian and Peruvian elements to the Mexican mix. Look for an opening sometime this month.

Paradise Biryani Pointe, the largest Indian chain restaurant in the country, is eyeing a location in Dublin’s Tralee Village where Little Home Thai was. Also in Dublin, Rahma Mediterranean Market is replacing Hunan House at 7111 Village Parkway, where it will expand to include a restaurant in addition to the market and halal deli.

Oakland’s restaurant scene is always buzzing. Now open in Rockridge: Commis chef James Syhabout’s new gastropub, Box & Bells, and Osmanthus, a modern Asian fusion eatery that replaced Nan Yang. In Uptown: Mockingbird, serving classic Northern California–style fare emphasizing fresh local ingredients, took over the former Hibiscus space, and alaMar (“to the sea”), specializing in crustacean boils, is eyeing an early 2014 debut in the old Noble Café spot. In Jack London Square, former Borgo Italia co-owner Fabio Dalle Vacche is opening a new restaurant called Centouno at 101 Broadway. And there is a proposal to replace the 40,000-square-foot former Barnes & Noble space with a restaurant that includes bowling alleys, arcade games, and outdoor bocce courts.

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