Diablo Dish: January
Food news in the East Bay.
Blackhawk Plaza’s foodie makeover continues. Sasa owner Philip Yang’s European-influenced rotisserie chicken restaurant, Roti8, opened in place of the shuttered Laurus. Former Havana chef Cyrus Irudistan oversees the kitchen. Yang’s second Blue Gingko Japanese restaurant likely will not open until the spring (and his other planned sushi spot in Old Town Pittsburg soon after that). After a long delay, Berkeley confectioner Chris Blue opened his latest Chocolatier Blue store in Blackhawk. Look for bold, fun flavors such as grapefruit and rosemary, as well as a new line of bars and barks. Finally, Blackhawk Grille will close for a couple weeks in January for renovation. Expect a warm and inviting “modern tavern” look: communal tables, see-through fireplaces, an indoor-outdoor bar, and a new deck and fire pit overlooking the lagoon.
Lots more Tri-Valley news: El Sacromonte Mexican restaurant was set to open in downtown Livermore in December, while Southern barbecue–focused Sauced BBQ and Spirits restaurant is replacing the shuttered Sapphire lounge. Yiping restaurant, which bills itself as an “eco-friendly, authentic” Sichuan cuisine restaurant using organic ingredients, replaced Ha’s Chinese in San Ramon. Mediterranean-influenced Santorini restaurant is planned for Danville’s Town and Country Shopping Center; BJ’s Brewhouse is still set for an early spring opening in Dublin; and the new 58,000-square-foot, 24-hour Safeway supermarket finally debuted in Pleasanton.
In Oakland, Ike’s Place, the popular San Francisco–based sandwich shop, should be opening in Uptown Oakland by January. Ike’s original location in the Castro was so popular that it ran afoul of some neighbors because of its long lines, leading to an eventual move down the street. Owner Ike Shehadeh’s newest store should fit right in on Broadway, located just a few doors down from Bakesale Betty and Plum. Ike’s is known for eclectic sandwiches, such as the appropriately named doomsday (roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, salami, turkey, bacon, ham, habanero salsa, mozzarella sticks, stuffed jalapeño poppers, and extra Jack). For the slightly more health conscious, there are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options as well.
Husband-and-wife duo Chris and Veronica Laramie are closing down their avant-garde restaurant, Eve, in Berkeley and opening up something a little more egalitarian in its place: a rotisserie chicken joint. Peruvian rotisserie (using Mary’s chickens) to be exact, as Veronica will draw on her experience growing up in Peru, where pollo a la brasa is as much a part of the dining culture as pizza is here. Eve’s last day is December 31, and the Laramies hope to open their take-out focused Brasa restaurant by February 2. Look for a delivery scooter with a fiberglass chicken-shaped container on back. That’s not the end of the fine-dining line for these chefs though: Brasa’s less labor-intensive concept will allow them to focus on a new full-service restaurant that they hope to open on the Peninsula or in the North Bay later this year.
Rumors, rumors. Word is a couple of heavy hitters in the Tri-Valley dining scene are angling to open new restaurants in downtown Pleasanton, while a very well known East Bay chef is seeking space in Oakland. Check for updates at diablomag.com/dish!
Feeling generous? Check out the Yes in My Backyard campaign by Schubros Brewery. Partners hope to raise $90,000 directly from the community to help get their Tri-Valley operation up and running. Go to schubrosbrewery.com for more info.