Hoi Polloi friends and supporters have been doing lots of work at the Alcatraz Avenue space to get it ready to open. They're shown here getting rid of the old vinyl tile. Photo: Courtesy of Hoi Polloi
Hoi Polloi owners and friends have been doing lots of work at the Alcatraz Avenue space to get it ready to open. They’re shown here getting rid of old vinyl tile. Photo: Courtesy of Hoi Polloi

Bites is Berkeleyside Nosh’s round-up of restaurant, bar and food-related news in the East Bay. To stay up-to-speed with all that’s going on locally, read our daily Nosh Wire, and check out previous editions of Bites. We always love receiving food-related tips at nosh@berkeleyside.com.

Openings, closings…

Moxy Beer via Facebook
Some of the offerings at Moxy Beer Garden. Photo: Courtesy Moxy

BEER GARDEN OPEN Moxy Beer Garden, in South Berkeley, opened recently at 3136 Sacramento St. The business is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, and offers burgers and fries as well as beers. Recent customers have raved about truffle fries and say the spot will be “in heavy rotation” for nights out. Read more on Berkeleyside about Moxy.

TOMO’S JAPANESE CUISINE Tomo’s Japanese Cuisine plans to open next week at 2026 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley, a space that used to be Chinese restaurant Lee Wah. Details are thin, but Chef Tomo Owada says on the restaurant’s website that his eatery will provide traditional Japanese food with an emphasis on local and sustainable ingredients. (Hat tip: Lawrence Grown)

East Bay Spice Company

EAST BAY SPICE COMPANY A new restaurant and bar, the East Bay Spice Company (left), has opened at 2134 Oxford St. opposite Cal’s main entrance in downtown Berkeley (sandwiched between the Sunny Side Café and Cinnaholic). The eatery is serving Indian street-food-inspired dishes and artisanal cocktails with an Indian twist, as well as craft beers and wines. East Bay Spice Company is owned by Deepak Aggarwal who also owns Mint Leaf in the Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden. The new spot takes over the shuttered Punjabi buffet restaurant.

NEW COFFEE SHOP We’re hearing murmurs that a new coffee will be going into the corner where Oxford and Kittridge streets meet in Berkeley, next to Groove Yoga. We’ll let you know when we learn more.

HOI POLLOI SHAPES UP Owners of the in-progress Hoi Polloi Brewpub and Beats Lounge have been working up a storm over at 1763 Alcatraz Ave. to get the space in shape to open. The business has launched a Facebook page for folks who’d like to stay in the loop about their progress.

VICEROY Indian restaurant Viceroy at 21 Shattuck Square (between Addison and University) in downtown Berkeley has closed, the building has a new owner and the space is being refitted with a view to finding a new tenant.

What else is going on…

MEALS ON WHEELS GALA There’s still time — just — to snag tickets for  Five Star Night, the annual principal fundraiser for Alameda County Meals on Wheels. Wine from Narsai David‘s personal cellar, dishes prepared by some of the East Bay’s top chefs, a delicious four-course dinner and an auction with prizes such as a  romantic getaway to Paris — all for a wonderful cause. The dinner will be held on Friday April 26 at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland near Lake Merritt. (Berkeleyside is a proud media sponsor of this wonderful event.) Read about it here, and buy tickets here.

Courtesy of Firehouse Art Collective
Courtesy of Firehouse Art Collective

COTTAGE FOOD FEST Berkeley’s new cottage food market will pop up Saturday, from 5-9 p.m., at the Firehouse Art Collective, 3192 Adeline St. Entrance cost $5 or less (sliding scale), and will feature homemade baked goods, jams and other delicacies. The door fee includes a drink and live music. Vendors who would like to sell their wares can sign up here. Said organizer Alex Stone: “You can come out and meet the Bay Area homemade bakers, cooks, jamborees, nut butter churners and more and get your hands on these never before sold goods. In addition to these amazing local vendors, we’ll have hella music and light refreshments available.” Read more about the market on Berkeleyside Nosh.

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POTLUCK FUN Slow Food East Bay will hold four quarterly potlucks on Sunday. Seating may be limited so sign-ups are recommended. Organizers say the events are a chance to “consider the thread from the soil to the plants and animals to the human hands that raise and harvest into our own hands. And then relish in this connection!” Participants are asked to come with a story about the food you’ve brought: “Where did you forage? Who is your farmer? Which local market is your favorite and why? Share your favorite tips with the other attendees, bring notice to a farm you admire.”


FOOD WRITERS TALK Coming up Thursday, May 2, at Mrs. Dalloway’s in Berkeley, local writers will share 28 stories about “how we learn (and re-learn) to eat and why family food matters to our lives beyond the table.” The event, promotes a new anthology, The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family and How We Learn to EatThe book aims to moves the conversation about family food “beyond buzz words and manifestos to the real life issues that families face every day. From junk food to soul food, picky eaters to kosher pantry, this book offers a  range of intimate and provocative pieces by writers including Jeff Gordinier, Phyllis Grant, Max Brooks, Dani Klein Modisett, Neal Pollack, Jen Larsen, Catherine Newman, and many others.”

Click to learn more.
Click to learn more.

FOOD FIGHT The 2013 SF Bay Chili Cookoff is coming up May 4 in Oakland. Anyone can enter the event, which will take place at Classic Cars West, a vintage car dealership/art gallery/beer garden in Uptown Oakland at 411 26th St. Winners will be named for the Best Texas Style and Most Original recipes, and there’s also a Sweet Tooth Savior category. All proceeds will benefit Adopt a Special Kid, an Oakland-based non-profit that works to find permanent homes for foster kids. It costs $15 to attend, and includes a beer from Linden Street.

TEMESCRAWL Dishcrawl heads back to Oakland on May 7 “for a Temescrawl to welcome the new season and shake off the winter blues. You will be looking forward to Tuesday like it’s the weekend because we’re gonna party dishcrawl-style! Food-drunk is what we aim for.” The crawl will visit four restaurants, all of which are different from the last visit. Participants will sample each restaurant’s specialties and meet the chefs/owners or staff. Purchase tickets for $45 at Dishcrawl. Read about the recent Alameda Dishcrawl on Berkeleyside Nosh.

District officials say Berkeley schools focus on the whole health of students with programs such as its cooking and gardening curriculum, which families advocated for at a recent school board meeting. Photo: Berkeley Unified School District
Photo: Emilie Raguso

SAVE SCHOOL COOKING & GARDENING Berkeley residents will have a chance to “dine out for edible education” May 30 to help keep school cooking and gardening programs alive. Details haven’t yet been released, but supporters should save the date. The school district will not receive future federal funding for the popular programs in 2013-14, leaving organizers clamoring to find a way to support the programs locally. The group has created a petition for its cause. Get connected with the group on Facebook.

Quick hits and tidbits

Diablo Dish says Oakland’s new Tribune Tavern has an “unapologetically meat-heavy menu” and speedy service despite large crowds on a recent Friday. And Oakland’s Picán restaurant has a special Golden State Warrior-themed cocktail. Read more from Diablo Dish.

The East Bay Express has news of worker discontent at Lanesplitter Pizza. Workers who allege mistreatment have quit, and management has denied the claims. There’s also a snippet about a new company, Localite, offering neighborhood food tours in Oakland. Read more via the East Bay Express.

East Bay Dish has word on an open house coming up Sunday to celebrate the five-year anniversary of neighborhood favorite Bellanico. There’s a suggested donation of $15-20 and all the proceeds will go to Glenview Elementary. Read more on East Bay Dish.

Recent Nosh news (in case you missed it):
Local baristas to battle it out over best latte art
Chef Scott Quinn takes flight at Meritage
Trueburger, Blue Bottle to open new Oakland spots
Eat, walk, crawl: Taking a new East Bay food tour
Berkeley schools’ cooking, gardening programs in peril
Nosh on the town: Pizza Moda in Berkeley

Bites is Nosh’s round-up of restaurant openings, happenings and closings in the East Bay. Got a tip or scoop? Send it our way to nosh@berkeleyside.comFollow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Some of these items may first have appeared in Shop Talk, Berkeleyside’s regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses. Got a tip for Nosh Bites? Send it to nosh@berkeleyside.com.

Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...