Diablo Dish: February
New pizza slated for Concord and Livermore, plans for a general store in Lafayette, and more.
Mi Pi Pizza, a new Chicago-style pizza restaurant and bar, will replace Ravioli’s Italian Market Place in Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza this spring. Restaurant veteran Matt Blank, former GM of Walnut Creek’s P.F. Chang’s and California Pizza Kitchen, has acquired the lease. Mi Pi will serve four different types of pizza crusts, and offer specialty cocktails and restaurant sing-alongs.
Another interesting pizza joint: Cravings Stone Fired Pizza and Pasta on First Street in Livermore is slated to open this month, serving “ooey gooey” chicken calzones and other family-friendly fare. Also, the owners of Sanctuary Ultra Lounge, Livermore’s swanky, red-walled club, have purchased The Winemaker’s Pour House and Beer Garden.
In other Livermore news, Steven Kent Mirassou’s La Rochelle Winery brand was sold to Chuck Easley, formerly of Calistoga’s T-Vine Cellars. The sale of La Rochelle allows Mirassou to concentrate on Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals, such as those found in his Lineage line.
Lots of out-of-the-area fast-casual restaurant groups launching NorCal operations in Walnut Creek. Veggie Grill is slated to open in January, Project Pie is still under construction, and True Food Kitchen has plans to open in Broadway Plaza in 2016.
During lunch hours, Élevé Restaurant chef-owner Michele Nguyen has transformed her popular downtown Walnut Creek restaurant into Main Street Luncheonette, a grab-and-go (or grab-and-sit) salad, soup, and sandwich counter. Dinner service will continue per usual, with Élevé’s Vietnamese-inspired small plates and bites.
Also in Walnut Creek, Peony Garden Restaurant, which is run by the owners of Pleasant Hill’s Zen Restaurant and specializes in South China Sea cuisine, replaced The Door on South Main Street. Down the street, Honey Berry, a sort of bubble tea–gelato–smoothie shop, has opened. And Joe Stein, son of founder Cindy Gershen, is now running the popular Sunrise Bistro, which halted dinner service in November. Look for evening pop-ups, which were slated to begin in January.
Lafayette’s Park Plaza development is working on leasing a roughly 2,500-square-foot space to a business called The Store, an old mercantile/general store concept that will serve artisanal prepared foods to go. It will include offerings from San Francisco’s Ferry Building and other specialty food purveyors, and be located next to the future home of Mariposa Baking Co.
On the other end of Lafayette, Susan Foord Café closed its doors after almost 15 years. Foord will concentrate on her catering business.
Clove and Hoof, a whole-animal butchery and restaurant, recently opened in Oakland’s Temescal District. Look for grass-fed and pasture-raised meat and poultry, and a full-scale charcuterie program slated to launch in February.