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Diablo Dish: June

An English gastropub prepares to open in Oakland, Lafayette favorite Bo’s BBQ will soon close its doors, and more food news.


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54Mint Forno/ Photo by Roberto R. Yelp.com

Two Bay Area fine-dining alums are bringing an authentic English-style gastropub to the East Bay. Montclair residents Séamus and Shelley Mulhall, longtime employees at Restaurant Gary Danko and Chez Panisse respectively, are taking over casual Italian eatery Marzano in Oakland’s Glenview district. The husband-and-wife team is modeling The Growlers’ Arms off the recent trend of Michelin-starred gastropubs opening in England that feature more refined versions of typical British pub food, using quality local ingredients. Among the dishes planned are smoked haddock fritters, house-made rabbit sausage with colcannon and pickled red cabbage, and a bone-in rib eye steak carved table side with Yorkshire pudding, plus plenty of salads and vegetables roasted in a wood-fired oven. They’re hoping for a late summer debut.

Sad news for East Bay barbecue fans, as longtime Lafayette favorite Bo’s BBQ is shutting its doors at the end of July. According to owner Bo McSwine, the landlord declined to renew the restaurant’s lease after 16 years at 3422 Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The ever-optimistic McSwine says he won’t be hanging up his apron, however: He’s scouting new locations near AT&T ballpark in San Francisco. Stay tuned for updates.

One barbecue restaurant leaves and another arrives. Popular family-friendly North Bay barbecue spot Best Lil’ Porkhouse is planning a third location in Alameda’s South Shore Center shopping complex this fall. The new spot will seat around 160, and will include outdoor seating and a full bar, in addition to a wide range of barbecue styles. A few other openings to soothe those Bo’s withdrawals: Danville’s Sideboard Café reopened in a new, larger location down the street on Railroad Avenue; The Refined Palate brings authentic Burmese cuisine to Orinda Village; and Sabores del Sur offers up a taste of South America at 3003 Oak Road in Walnut Creek.

Also in Walnut Creek, the owners of Concord’s casual Italian eatery 54Mint debuted their Italian-style bakery. Taking over the former Walnut Creek Baking Company space downtown, 54Mint Forno offers Italian pastries both sweet (pain au chocolat, Italian donuts, cannoli) and savory (filled puff pastry pizzettas and quiches) in the morning, and a selection of pizza and paninis for lunch.

Daniel Patterson is having a moment. Fresh off the debut of his second San Francisco restaurant, Alta CA, and his first cookbook, Coi: Stories and Recipes, the two-Michelin-starred chef won his first James Beard Award (after six nominations) for best chef in the West. Some cool news for his East Bay restaurants, too: After naming Kim Alter as the new executive chef at Plum, he announced the return of Plum’s opening-day chef, Charlie Parker, who is taking over head kitchen duties at Haven. EDITOR'S NOTE: Daniel Patterson recently switched up concepts at Plum: it is now a Japanese-influenced restaurant called Ume. Kim Alter is no longer the chef there. 

Lots of wine news. Wente Vineyards has launched a new education space at its estate winery on Tesla Road. Set to debut May 23, Wente’s Winemakers Studio provides a tasting bar, plus education sessions on topics such as wine and cheese pairing, and a winemaker lab that allows guests to create custom blends from blocks of Wente’s estate wine. New downtown Walnut Creek wine-tasting room Buon Vino offers up tastes of mostly Napa and Sonoma wines with no bottle more than $20. The all-kosher winery Covenant Wines has announced plans to move its operations from Napa Valley to West Berkeley while Alameda’s Rosenblum Cellars is moving its visitor’s center to Jack London Square.


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