Diablo Dish: February
Check out what's new with food this month!
Rosamunde Sausage Grill
Photo by Ariana S. // Yelp.com
Mangia Mi, Danville’s popular Italian bistro, is opening a new restaurant down I-680 in downtown Pleasanton. The second Mangia Mi will be located at 234 Main Street, next door to Fleet Feet. Chef-owner Peter Cedolini says to expect a similar regional Italian menu, with seasonal specials, but in a bigger location, with a dedicated bar area and a slightly more rustic decor. Cedolini is also looking into growing his own herbs, lettuce, and tomatoes (talk about local!). Expect a late spring debut …
The 50-plus-year-old Lafayette institution Petar’s, home to legendary local entertainer Diamond Dave Hosley, shut its doors in early January. No word yet on who will take over the prime location across from Fiesta Square.
A little East Bay chef shuffle: Va de Vi’s Shane McAnelly, who assumed kitchen duties at the popular Walnut Creek small-plates eatery in April 2011, is leaving to take a high-profile head chef gig in Wine Country. Va de Vi, meanwhile, is currently searching for an executive chef to run with its international small-plates theme. Fellow Diablo Food Award winner Prima Ristorante hired as chef de cuisine Maggie Pond, formerly of Berkeley’s Spanish tapas eatery Bar César. And Barbacoa and Table 24 top chef Jason Moniz is out, replaced by Russell Rummer, formerly at San Francisco restaurants Absinthe, Acme Chophouse, and Sellers Markets.
Speaking of Table 24, co-owner Michael Karp’s new pizza- and craft beer–centric spot, The Forge, was set to debut in Jack London Square at the end of January. Located on the waterfront next to Bocanova, Forge will offer 12 craft beers on tap and serve Neapolitan-style pizza, in addition to a menu of casual American fare designed by former Chow and Gigi chef Jeffrey Amber. (A miniature version of The Forge also plans to open in Lunardi’s in Danville this spring.)
Opening in Oakland in the last two months were The Ramen Shop, a Japanese noodle destination in Rockridge, plus Miss Ollie’s and Rosamunde Sausage Grill, both in Old Oakland. Spanish tapas–inspired Duende was scheduled for a January debut, with Northern Italian restaurant Lungomare to follow in early February.
Also set to open in January was artisan creamery Lottie’s in downtown Walnut Creek, while 1515 owner Tony Dudum sold his casual eatery The Pizza Place. Rumor is, the same person bought the next-door sofa shop with designs to open a new sushi restaurant. Near Broadway Plaza, all-you-can-eat salad buffet spot Fresh Choice closed its doors after its parent company failed to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings. According to reports, owner David Boyd is hoping to reopen at least some of the 20-something locations under a re-branded concept, California Fresh.
In Pleasanton, Lokanta now has a full bar and has transformed its elegant back sunroom into a martini lounge. Tri-Valley restaurateur Rodney Worth opened his newest project, The Pear—a Southern Bistro, in downtown Napa.
Finally, Best in Show hot dog truck founder Jesse Gilbert has partnered with the Pastranomy food truck, billed as a New York–style deli on wheels. Look for the joint Pastranomy–Best in Show truck at the Walnut Creek farmers market on Sunday mornings, and other Contra Costa locations, starting this month.