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Diablo Dish: January

Check out the latest food news!


Sideboard Café / Photo by Audrey L. Yelp.com

There’s a double-hopped helping of craft beer headed for Concord. First up is Hop Grenade, which is replacing Panama Red Coffee Co. in Todos Santos Plaza. From the folks behind the Brewing Network, a popular craft- and home brew–focused Internet radio station, Hop Grenade will serve as both a bar and as the network’s new headquarters, complete with recording studio. Co-owner Scott Moskowitz promises all craft brews, including sours and barrel-aged beers. High-end snacks will include Bavarian pretzels, charcuterie, and panini. Look for an opening in late April or early May.

Second, Ale Industries is up-sizing to a new facility in Oakland but maintaining a presence in the city where it was founded. Co-owner Morgan Cox says the brewery is opening up a taproom in downtown Concord at 1960 Concord Avenue, right across from Brenden Theatres. It’ll be called The Pig & the Pickle, serving (as the name suggests) charcuterie sourced from Martinez’s Compass Star Café and giardiniera, Italian-style pickled vegetables. There will be eight taps of Ale Industries beers, plus some 40 bottled craft beers available there or to go. Cox says they’re hoping to open both the taproom and the new Oakland brewery Fruitvale Fermentation Factory just in time for San Francisco Beer Week in early February.

If you’re looking for something higher proof, Rick Dobbs’ artisanal cocktail bar The Last Word is set for a grand opening in downtown Livermore on January 3.

Changes are afoot for Danville’s Sideboard café. The popular breakfast, lunch, and brunch spot is moving out of its current home at 411 Hartz Avenue, due to the impending redevelopment of the Danville Hotel complex in which it’s located. Luckily, owners Erin and Ford Andrews found a nearby spot to move, inside a recently renovated historic home at 90 Railroad Avenue (built more than 100 years ago by a direct descendant of famous frontiersman Daniel Boone). The new space includes outdoor dining and is more than twice the size of Sideboard’s notoriously cramped original. Sideboard is moving in early January, with plans to open a month later.  

The Cooperage, the American gastropub replacing Petar’s on Fiesta Lane in Lafayette is planning to debut mid-January. It’s a pretty major restaurant, with about 300 seats spread between a large front patio overlooking La Fiesta Square, a more formal sit-down dining area, a casual bar section, and a second “hidden” bar in the back.

Also in La Fiesta Square, Smitten has made it official: The San Francisco–based ice creamery will replace Cold Stone Creamery in early 2014, the same time frame for its other East Bay location in Oakland’s Rockridge district. Expect seasonal flavors made-to-order in Smitten’s liquid nitrogen “Brrr” machine. Look for sundaes, floats, vegan pops, and Brrgers (brioche ice cream sandwiches).

More sweet news: C.R.E.A.M. (Cookies Rule Everything Around Me) is expanding further beyond its original Berkeley borders. In February, following new franchises in Palo Alto and Walnut Creek, the specialty ice-cream sandwich shop is debuting in downtown Livermore, next to the Bankhead Theater. And finally, Lafayette’s popular “cupcakery” Republic of Cake launched its second shop in downtown Oakley, and Oakland’s Doughnut Dolly will open a second store in Berkeley next year.

Got Dish? E-mail us at dish@maildiablo.com. Follow us online at diablomag.com/dish.

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