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Diablo Dish—July 2010

California cuisine takes flight; thin crust pizza battles deep dish; and Walnut Creek jams in more places to get your grub on; all in the Dish!


Good news, Zachary’s lovers: Patxi’s Chicago Pizza, started by two pizzaioli who cut their deep-dish chops at the überpopular East Bay chain, is opening a new restaurant in Lafayette.

With two locations already in San Francisco and one in Palo Alto, Francisco “Patxi” Azpiroz and Bill Freeman will bring their critically acclaimed (Zagat- and Michelin-recommended) deep-dish and thin-crust creations to the Lafayette at the end of the year. Meanwhile, serving up thin-crust pies only, but already generating rave reviews, is the recently opened Jules Thin Crust in Danville, which offers gluten-free options. For a like-minded dessert, check out the new Miglet’s Gluten-Free Bakery, set to open last month at Hartz and Front streets. 

In Pleasanton, Nonni’s Bistro—replacing Mahalo Grille on Main Street—plans for a menu of European cuisine with Cali influences. Icelandic-born chef-owner Jon Magnusson, who brings 15 years of experience running Bistro 211 in Carmel, said he hoped to open the bistro-style eatery by his native country’s Independence Day (June 17) but the good ol’ Fourth of July looked more realistic. Magnusson can shop for locally sourced ingredients at the new Main Street Meat & Fish Market, which co-owner Matt D. Shockley says will sell all-natural, no-hormone, pasture-raised, and eco-friendly meat and fish. The market was set to open last month.

Oenophiles should take note of a handful of new East Bay wine bar options: Residual Sugar opened its collection of more than 500 wines available by the taste, glass, and flight in Walnut Creek; you can get some Pinot with your oil painting at the new wine bar at Kevin Milligan Gallery in Danville; and the new waterfront wine bar Urban Legend Cellars is the latest example of the blossoming urban winery scene in Oakland. See for yourself at the East Bay Vintner’s Alliance’s Urban Wine Experience on July 31 in Jack London Square.

Joining the increasingly crowded Walnut Creek dining scene, Tender Greens is moving into the old Forward Motion Sports storefront next to Lark Creek on Locust Street. This is the first NorCal location for this mini chain, which has been generating buzz at its four Southern California restaurants, with its order-at-the-counter menu of locally sourced ingredients, in which all entrées, large salads, and meats are $10.50. Orinda resident Charles Hechinger, former executive chef at the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, will take the reins as executive chef, says Tender Greens co-owner Erik Oberholtzer (himself a veteran of Bay Area kitchens from Aqua to Chez Panisse). They’re shooting for an early fall opening.

It’s déjà vu in Berkeley as another casual eatery with gourmet roots appears. Kyle Anderson was planning an early July opening for Slow, going into 1966 University Avenue, next to Chocolatier Blue. Anderson, who spent time at Chicago foodie fave Charlie Trotter’s and New York’s Daniel, says Slow will serve California cuisine with European influences. Atmosphere will be—you guessed it—casual, including at-the-counter ordering and picnic-style tables.

Want more Dish? Check out our Weekly Dish online on Tuesdays at diablomag.com.

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