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Diablo Dish: September

Artisan pizza, booze and other food news in September.


Forge // Photo by Steve L. Yelp.com

The artisan pizza craze continues. Fahrenheit Wood Fired Pizza is replacing TCBY on Hopyard Road in Pleasanton this month. It’ll be a sort-of DIY concept in which customers pick their toppings and watch their custom pie cook for just three minutes in the 800-degree wood-burning oven. Forge Danville, the spin-off of the popular Jack London Square Neopolitan-style spot, was set to open inside Lunardi’s market in mid-August. In Oakland, Colin Etezadi is opening up his own joint, replacing Local Café on Piedmont Avenue. At Slicer Pizzeria, expected to open this month, Etezadi is planning to offer artisan thin-crust pizza (similar to Pizzaiolo and Gioia, where he worked) but with a take-out, family-friendly emphasis.

Izzy’s Place is replacing the just-closed Forli in Alamo. Local residents Robert Gallo and David Waitrovich are planning a “casually elegant” restaurant with a rustic menu, highlighting house-made pasta, bread, and Neapolitan-style pizza. To make it happen, they’ve brought in executive chef Joseph Panarello, whose résumé includes the David Burke Restaurant Group in Las Vegas and Los Angeles’ lauded Rivera, where he was chef de cuisine. “Everything just sort of fell into place: The location made sense, we understand the geography and the culture here, and we were connected with a great chef in Joe,” says Waitrovich. “We just want to make good food and provide good service, and then hopefully, people will show up.” Not to be confused with the long-closed Izzy’s in San Ramon, Izzy’s Place was named after Gallo’s father. Look for an early October opening.

Dublin’s überpopular bakery/breakfast joint/Mexican eatery Denica’s Café is expanding. The fast-casual restaurant, started by James and Denica Freitas in 1999, found a new location in Walnut Creek at the old Carl’s Jr. (Oak Grove and Ygnacio Valley roads). Meanwhile, the Freitases are also looking to open a restaurant in Livermore. The target opening date for Walnut Creek is mid-October, and the Livermore location could be open even earlier.  

Speaking of Livermore: It’s getting boozier—in a good way. This fall, longtime bartender and Pleasanton resident Rick Dobbs is planning The Last Word, a new downtown cocktail bar. Dobbs, who runs his own cocktail consulting business, wants to create a friendly but sophisticated vibe to go along with small plates and crafted cocktails using top-shelf ingredients. He’ll be taking over the small space adjacent to the new Patxi’s Pizza on First Street. Dobbs hopes to feature local vodka from Livermore’s first micro distillery, the soon-to-open Sutherland Distilling Company. Brothers Barry and Ryan Sutherland and friend Eric Larimer will focus on making small-batch, high-quality craft spirits. They hope to be up and running by October.

Also in Livermore, the award-winning Cuda Ridge held a grand opening August 10–11 at its new location at 2400 Arroyo Road. It features a 1,500-square-foot tasting room, space for private tastings, and an outdoor picnic area.

Finally, there’s some big news in Berkeley. Longtime Yoshi’s executive chef Shotaro Kamio is stepping down to run his own restaurant, taking over the shuttered O Chame on Fourth Street.

Got Dish? E-mail us at dish@maildiablo.com. Follow us online at diablomag.com/dish.

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