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Diablo Dish: July

July food news with pizza, burgers, mexican food and more!


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Vanessa’s Bistro 2 // Yelp.com

Pizza, burgers, Mexican, and more are all set to open around Lamorinda in the coming months. In Orinda, longtime local resident Peter Eberle took over the shuttered Bonfire Pizzeria space in Theatre Square and is planning to open an Italian restaurant with his wife, Maria, and their four teenage children. Piccolo Napoli will emphasize family-friendly fare with a focus on thin-crust pizza. And not just any pizza, according to Eberle. “There’s a lot of pizza around that tastes more like cheesy bread,” he says. “The magic is in using a few simple ingredients, but those ingredients have to be fresh and of the highest quality.” Piccolo Napoli will offer eight to ten pizzas with and without tomato sauce, a few entrées, a half-dozen or so antipasti, and gelato for dessert. Eberle was planning a June 29 opening.


In Lafayette, Roam Artisan Burger is taking over the former AG Ferrari space. Not your run-of-the-mill burger joint, Artisan, which has two locations in San Francisco, uses sustainable meats, and offers an eclectic burger menu that includes turkey, bison, and veggie options. (There are even elk specials.) It will also serve shakes featuring Straus Family dairy products, house-made sodas, and fresh fries with add-ons like truffle parmesan and fresh herbs. An October opening is in the works.


Across the way, Cooperage, the ambitious new bar and grill concept of McCormick & Schmick’s scion Andrew McCormick, is taking over the former Petar’s and Storyteller’s spaces. McCormick is hoping for a November 6 debut.


It’s all systems go for Rancho Cantina, the Mexican spot planned for 3616 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, also in Lafayette. Owner Julie Mitchell will serve Spanish-influenced Mexican food cooked in a wood-fired grill. She’s hoping for a fall opening.


Downtown Walnut Creek’s longtime Japanese restaurant Fujian closed, but the space won’t be vacant for long. Paramita Roy is planning to open Kanishka’s, which she describes as a contemporary restaurant that offers Neo-Indian fusion with global influences served as shareable small plates. Roy is shooting for September.


Not-as-good news down the street, as Residual Sugar owner Jim Telford scrapped his plans to expand into the next-door bakery space. The popular Locust Street wine bar was set to open a craft beer and thin-crust pizza restaurant, but Telford cited the city’s myriad codes and regulations as making the plan financially unfeasible. He is looking for another space in Walnut Creek.


Vanessa’s Bistro 2 was set to reopen at 1512 Locust Street after relocating from its previous spot on North Main. And Pho Saigon is now Saigon Vietnamese Bistro. Its new owner also runs Richmond’s popular Huong Tra.


In Oakland, San Francisco’s lauded A16 opened its Rockridge outpost, while Bourbon and Beef, a new meat-centric, Latin family-style restaurant is taking over the former Water Lounge space across from Market Hall.


In Pleasanton, Cellar Door will replace Grape Times across from the Firehouse Arts Center. Co-owners Terri Terry and Cheri Sprenger plan to offer wines only from smaller boutique California wineries, along with tapas-style California cuisine.


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