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Diablo Dish: December

East Bay restaurants ditch tipping, Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar comes to Dublin, and Amphora Lafayette olive oil shop opens.


Chez Panisse / Photo by Phi N. Yelp.com

Several Bay Area restaurants, including the East Bay’s Camino and Comal, announced they are adopting the practice of adding a mandatory 20 percent service charge to the bill and doing away with tips. Bay Area restaurants are struggling to compensate hard-working kitchen staffs, and the charge will be used to pay higher wages to all restaurant employees. It is a practice that has been under way at Chez Panisse since 1989.

In other news, Berkeley’s Amphora Nueva has opened a Lafayette shop next to The Cooperage American Grille. Owner Nate Bradley and his family source olive oil and vinegar from all over the world, supplying more than 600 shops across the country from their flagship location. Also, Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar is now ready for business at Hacienda Crossings in Dublin, one of 15 locations across California that is slated to allow dogs on the patio, when a law passes in January 2015. The menu features a huge selection of family-style dishes, from potpies to pastas. And San Ramon welcomed healthy foods café Baagan, which touts a “food as medicine” concept and serves raw organic foods, as well as gluten-free offerings, and more.

Daphne’s California Greek is becoming Yalla Mediterranean, a fast-casual concept featuring cooked-to-order chicken, steak, and salmon skewers, as well as “shalafel” (a combo of shawarma and falafel), and healthy salads. The first Yalla is slated to open in the Daphne’s location in Pleasant Hill’s Crescent Plaza by mid-December, with the Walnut Creek Daphne’s switching over in the beginning of 2015. Eventually, all 49 Daphne’s locations will transform into Yallas, which loosely translates to “let’s go” in Arabic.

A long list of new openings in Berkeley and Oakland: Descanso, a Latin-inspired spot serving empanadas and Latin rice bowls, on Piedmont Avenue; Longbranch Berkeley, a saloon on San Pablo Avenue with an eclectic lineup of food, ranging from pig trotters to duck terrine; and The Growlers’ Arms, a beer-centric British restaurant and gastropub run by Chez Panisse and Gary Danko alums in the Glenview neighborhood of Oakland.

Looking ahead, the team behind Chow (the marketplace, restaurant, and food-to-go concept already popular in Danville and Lafayette) has announced plans for a fifth location on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, which they hope to open in 2016. In Walnut Creek, Paul Martin’s American Grill is interested in opening a 5,700-square-foot location in The Village development on the corner of South Main and Newell. The concept is American cuisine, from fresh oysters to entrées like blackened rib eye. The wine list would consist of no less than 100 labels. And over in Pleasant Hill, Jack’s Restaurant and Bar plans to open a beer-focused bar behind its present restaurant location, with an interior door joining the two. Expect more than 20 draft beers, with the potential for on-tap wine as well.

Finally, the renovation of the Public Market in Emeryville is well under way. Among the new tenants is Michelin-starred chef Carlos Altamirano, formerly of the Peruvian La Costanera in Half Moon Bay, who will run an 800-square-foot restaurant called Chicaron.

Got Dish? E-mail us at dish@maildiablo.com. Follow us online at diablomag.com/dish, or on Twitter @diablodish.

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