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Diablo Dish: May

Catch up on this month's food news!


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The Corner Creperie / Photo by Ana S. yelp.com

An upscale gastropub is expected to open in downtown Walnut Creek in early June. Replacing the former Vesu and Cypress space on Locust Street, Sunol Ridge is the brainchild of friends Mark Flaherty and Christopher George. While it’s their first restaurant venture, the two aren’t exactly lightweights: Flaherty has managed projects dealing with satellites and solar arrays, while George is the founder of CMG Financial, which handles some $7 billion in loans annually. Both avid home brewers, their focus will be on beer, with as many as 37 craft brews and 16 wines on tap (and many more by the bottle). Beer expert Chad Moshier, previously at Pleasanton’s Handles, will serve as bar manager. Executive chef Joe Garcia, who hails from New York, Chicago, and Denver, is planning a menu of upscale beer-friendly comfort food. The space is getting a complete renovation, creating a more intimate space, as well as expanding the outdoor patio.


More details on American Kitchen, the breakfast-through-dinner concept replacing French Bakery in downtown Lafayette: Executive chef Alan Rivera, and Victor Ivry, cofounder of Table 24 and Barbacoa, are planning affordable, souped-up comfort food. Look for Continental-style breakfast; a lunch menu centered around soups, salads, and sandwiches; and more entrée-focused dinner fare, with items such as spaghetti and meatballs, meat loaf, and plenty of seafood and vegetarian options. They’re also doing a substantial remodel, opening up the space and adding a decked front patio complete with bar and fire pit. Expect a June launch.


Speaking of remodeling, Brian Hirahara has tweaked the design for his ambitious new project at 1500 N. Main Street in downtown Walnut Creek. The developer behind such restaurant spaces as Sasa and Va de Vi is creating four different sections in the three-story building: ground-floor retail and café spots, a second-story restaurant, and now a third-floor rooftop bar-restaurant space with views of downtown and Mount Diablo.   


Mayflower Seafood Restaurant (previously named Dumpling Factory) debuted in Dublin’s Grafton Station. Part of a small chain of Chinese restaurants with locations in Union City, Millbrae, and Milpitas, Mayflower in Dublin specializes in seafood and dim sum. Also in the Tri-Valley, Corner Creperie is now serving authentic Brittany-style crepes in downtown Pleasanton, while On Fire Artisan Pizza will offer Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas in San Ramon. And in Livermore, the popular Sauced BBQ & Spirits debuted its own line of bourbon, Hawg Wash, and is close to inking a deal to open a second location in downtown Sacramento.  


Oakland’s beer maven Chuck Stilphen is at it again. The man behind The Trappist in Oakland, ØL Beercafe & Bottle Shop in Walnut Creek, and Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco is now planning his first restaurant: Perdition Smokehouse, a BBQ concept in downtown Berkeley. The joint project, by Stilphen and Mikkeller’s executive chef, Michael O’Brien, will serve Texas-style barbecue along with some 40 American craft beers. They’re taking over the former Amadeus space at 2050 University Avenue and turning the back area into a beer garden with picnic-style seating. They’re hoping to open by the beginning of June.


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