Three Hot New Danville Restaurants
The renovated Danville Hotel Town Center welcomes a bakery and breakfast spot, a pizzeria, and a brewhouse.
Of the three new restaurants that opened recently at the snazzy new Danville Hotel Town Center, Danville Brewing Company was the wild card.
Pizza Antica had already proven itself with three other successful locations—including a dozen years at its beloved spot in Lafayette. And Basque Boulangerie Café has been turning out fresh-baked pastries and rustic loaves at its Sonoma Plaza location since 1994.
But the question about Danville Brewing remained: Would sophisticated Danville support another burger-and-beer joint?
The answer is a resounding yes. This is a true gathering place where grass-fed burgers with innovative toppings arrive on house-baked buns, and where an array of artisanal brews captures today’s hottest drink trend.
Nicknamed DBC, it is no more a “joint” than Pizza Antica is just a pizza parlor, with its craft cocktails and perfectly blistered pies, or Basque Boulangerie just a corner café, with its B&B–style hospitality and nationally acclaimed pastries.
These three restaurants—the showcase of a modern mixed-use retail and residential complex erected on the bones of a 158-year-old site known as the Danville Hotel Territory—cap downtown Danville’s reputation for casually sophisticated destination-worthy dining.
1. Pizza Antica
With a wine wall at the entrance and a glittering bar serving craft cocktails (and killer sodas—try the elderflower or sour cherry) inspired by its sister restaurant, Spruce, in San Francisco, this latest Pizza Antica in Danville feels more refined than its booming exhibition-kitchen location in Lafayette.
Yet the menu exhibits a rustic character with even its most upscale-sounding dishes. An appetizer of roasted chanterelles and lush, warm ricotta came with thick slices of garlicky bread that had been grilled to a golden brown on our visit. Truffle oil makes a splash on an heirloom potato pizza, while another blistered pizza brings rich roasted peppers and spicy Calabrese sausage. Even the gluten-free crust here rocks—making for a chewy fennel sausage pizza with an earthy note of portobello mushrooms.
The brussels sprout salad, loaded with egg and bacon, will never go out of style. And speaking of style, the pastas here are a cut above; check out the rigatoni with duck ragu—it’s as rich as they come. 111 West Prospect Ave., Danville, (925) 718-8991, pizzaantica.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
2. Danville Brewing Company
On our most recent visit, one month after Danville Brewing Company’s crowded opening day (90-minute waits), the restaurant had found its groove. An unflappable barmaid filled our pints, while a runner brought us the DBC burger: topped with American cheese, loaded with a sweet-tart bacon and red onion jam, and served on a warm brioche bun with a side of fries. It’s the favorite of eight burgers (and a wealth of other dishes) that can be mixed and matched with the 20 brews on tap (get a flight!), including a growing list of house beers made in 10-barrel batches.
Opened by local residents Marcus and Sara Maita, whose family has been in the beer business for nearly a century, Danville Brewing defines this era’s casual and fun dining scene as deftly as Danville’s Bridges Restaurant and Bar defined fine dining in the ’90s. Much credit goes to Danville Brewing’s partner, Randy Negi, who took over Bridges in 2004 and opened The Vine at Bridges, a wine bar, four years later.
Certified master brewer Matt Sager has distilled two decades of experience into favorite selections, such as a creamy coconut stout and a complex, well-balanced double IPA. The restaurant itself is beautifully designed: Four giant stainless steel tanks are visible through a glass wall that separates the brewery from the back dining area. The exterior walls are almost entirely glass, with a front patio paralleling the lounge.
Negi is a constant presence: If he’s not orchestrating the kitchen, then he’s greeting guests. Both guests and employees are treated like kin here, making Danville Brewing the town’s proudest addition to a growing family of great restaurants. 200 Railroad Ave., Ste. A, Danville, (925) 217-4172, danvillebrewing.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
3. Basque Boulangerie Café
With its renovated barn-red facade, wraparound patio, and milky white dining room, Basque Boulangerie Café, located next door to the original McCauley House built in 1893, displays an impressive selection of baked goods refined over two generations.
The caramelized apple cake (ask for it warmed) and beehive cake (featured on Food Network’s former show $40 a Day hosted by Rachael Ray) are big enough to share, making a case for a pit stop even if you’ve had your fill at Danville Brewing or Pizza Antica. At lunch, our tuna melt on rye and our grilled chicken and Gruyère on focaccia had a homey charm (especially with a side of shoestring fries).
The café shines particularly bright at breakfast, when rich, baked-from-scratch French toast and bread pudding demand an extra shot of espresso in your latte, or a second cup of coffee from the array of self-serve choices. A modest beer and wine list and kombucha on tap add intrigue at night. 411 Hartz Ave., Ste. A, Danville, (925) 208-1631, basqueboulangerie.com. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.