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Diablo Dish: March

Find out why Walnut Creek’s 1500 Mt. Diablo Boulevard complex is taking shape as a red-hot dining destination. Plus, Blue Gingko adds a Dublin location, and Wente searches for a new chef.


Courtesy of Vitality Bowls

Still under-construction, the three-story 1500 Mt. Diablo Blvd. building, towering over Main Street and Mt. Diablo Boulevard in downtown Walnut Creek, has filled its second floor. Owner Brian Hirahara of BH Development has tapped Telefèric, a family-owned restaurant group from Barcelona, Spain, to open an authentic tapas and pintxos (tapas anchored with a toothpick), sangria–centered restaurant. The family’s son, Xavier Padrosa, is moving to Walnut Creek to oversee the first U.S. outpost of Telefèric (which means “aerial tram” in Catalan). A Catalonian chef will also be brought over. In 2013, Telefèric won a people’s choice award for the best tapa in Barcelona.

Recent openings: Veggie Grill, the much anticipated SoCal–based vegan restaurant group, finally opened in downtown Walnut Creek. Look for dishes such as the coconut milk–infused Bombay bowl and crunchy quinoa power salad.

Blue Gingko in Dublin’s Fallon Gateway plaza has also opened. Owner Philip Yang and his team have nailed the izakaya-focused menu (Japanese small plates) that also offers innovative sushi and sashimi.

In Oakland, Brendan Eliason of Periscope Cellars has opened Deep Roots in Swan’s Market. His wine, beer, and cocktail bar serves East Bay urban wines and more. Hen House is crafting great nibbles to accompany the drinkables. Haven, the Jack London Square outpost of the Daniel Patterson Group, has reopened with a focus on family-style prix fixe dinners.

Speaking of restaurant groups, the Moana Restaurant Group, a San Rafael–based company, recently announced it has taken over operations of the majority of the Lark Creek Restaurant Group, which includes Yankee Pier, Lark Creek Walnut Creek, and Lark Creek Steak.

Chef departures: After a very impressive run, Matt Greco has left his position as chef at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. He’s keeping his new post secret for now, and no word at press time on Greco’s replacement. Frank Jordan of Walnut Creek’s Sunol Ridge has also left. Evan Perlick, formerly at Michael Mina’s Arcadia in San Jose, is the new chef at the beer-focused restaurant.

Walnut Creek’s Lift Lounge and Grill has closed. In its place, Justin DiMauro, former manager of Pete’s Coffee and Tea in Alamo Plaza, will be opening Coffee Shop, a back-to-basics coffee bar/café that will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner focusing on hearty house-made sandwiches, soups, salads, and such items as mac ‘n’ cheese waffles.

To the shock of food-loving East Bay denizens, James Syhabout’s Box and Bells closed on College Avenue. Syhabout opened a San Francisco outpost of Hawker Fare following the closure.

Announced: A new Vitality Bowls is planned for Merrill Gardens in Lafayette, and a new Ike’s Love and Sandwiches is slated for the Willows Shopping Center in Concord.

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