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Diablo Dish — September '08

Danville residents are in line for a new hangout with the opening of Bridges Restaurant’s long-awaited wine-sipping room and boutique.


The Vine at Bridges, due to open at summer’s end, offers at least 30wines by the glass or the taste, plus small plates from the restaurant, says wine bar manager Victor Sistov.

Plenty of action from Walnut Creek’s ever-simmering dining scene: Crepes a Go Go is a go, go, going, moving a couple blocks away to 1548 North Locust Street. The creperie’s old digs on North Main Street are undergoing a major remake courtesy of Brian Hirahara. The Va de Vi developer is bringing in Philip Yang from Lafayette’s Blue Ginko to open up a high-end sushi and small plates Japanese restaurant—Sasa is set to open early next year. Ephesus restaurant closed in June, but worry not, kebab lovers: The downtown spot has already reopened as Class, an upscale restaurant/lounge sporting a nearly identical menu (plus sliders). Open at 4 p.m., Class stays open late, featuring a live DJ Thursdays through Saturdays and a cocktail menu created by local star mixologist Manny Hinojosa. Finally, the folks behind Santa Monica restaurant Planet Raw are bringing the raw-food revolution to Walnut Creek with a new eatery serving up strictly vegan, uncooked food. The restaurant is scheduled to open this month in a section of the space vacated by Bonanza Books, according to co-owner Valerie Loe.

Former Chez Panisse pastry chef Charlene Reis plans to open her Summer Kitchen Bake Shop on College Avenue this holiday season. Besides offering nostalgia-inducing bakery treats like tarts and cupcakes, the eco-friendly market will feature artisan cheeses, salads, pizza, stews, braises, and other homey, family-style takeout fare for busy families. Reis’ shop will live up to its name with a Martha’s Vineyard beach cottage feel, also fitting for a place that’s just a few blocks away from the new Tara’s Organic Ice Cream. The Santa Fe–based ice creamery should appeal to those with an exotic sweet tooth—funky flavors include chili pistachio, allspice pear with rosemary, and adzuki black sesame.

Emeryville-based Back to Earth Organic Catering will open a fully organic restaurant (that’s right, even the salt and pepper are all natural), serving Northern California gourmet comfort food in downtown’s David Brower Center next spring. Neither a name nor chef have been chosen yet, but owners Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster have a lot of ideas in the works, including year-round patio seating, a huge to-go menu, and affordable prices.

Meanwhile, there’s more food news out of Oakland. John Hurley, co-owner of Garibaldis, hopes to open his family-friendly Italian restaurant, Marzano, in the Glenview neighborhood this fall, featuring authentic Neapolitan pizzas cooked in a wood oven imported from Italy. Oliveto is pampering fans of its downstairs café with a redesigned interior and expanded selections. Pierre Harriet, the number two chef at the upstairs restaurant, will become Oliveto Downstairs & Cafe’s first full-time chef. Old Oakland’s B Restaurant & Bar replaced outgoing executive chef Saman Javid with David Seawell, formerly of Boulevard. 


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