UC Berkeley grad student Bradford Taylor has just opened wine bar-wine shop Ordinaire, at 3354 Grand Ave. in Oakland. Photo: Wendy Xin

Openings, closings…

ORDINAIRE New wine bar-wine shop, Ordinaire (as in “vin ordinaire”), has just opened at 3354 Grand Ave. in Oakland. Owner Bradford Taylor, who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in English literature at UC Berkeley, said the place specializes in featuring small, boutique wineries, mostly from California, but also from France, Italy and Germany. Taylor has written in detail about what prompted him to open the shop (which was originally going to be called Red Whale) on Cal’s English Department’s website. Taylor is also offering a very small food menu with locally cured charcuterie, artisan cheese, and simple salads. Follow Ordinaire on its Facebook page. (Sounds not unlike Botella Republic which is slated to open in downtown Berkeley early next year.)

Caffe Venezia (1)

CAFFE VENEZIA Looks like the restaurant that was planned to take over the Caffe Venezia space at 1799 University Ave. in Berkeley — tentatively named Monarch Trading Company — will not happen, according to a reader who spoke to sources close to the deal. So it’s back to the drawing board for Venezia owners who said they plan to list the building with a commercial realtor to try to get a new buyer. Caffe Venezia, you will remember, shuttered earlier this year after serving a loyal customer base for more than 33 years.

JEWEL BOX COFFEE ROASTERS Blue Bottle alum and current Roast Co. head roaster Brad Joyce and Pizzaiolo bar manager Kate August have raised more than $15K on Kickstarter with a view to opening a new café/roasters called Jewel Box, according to Zagat. Details are few and far between, including where the place might pop up, but an opening date is slated for 2014 next year.

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MERRITT BAKERY Merritt Bakery and Restaurant, which has been a fixture in the Lake Merritt neighborhood since 1952, re-opened on July 12 after a fire in May closed the place down. The old-style bakery serves a menu of traditional dishes, including soda fountain staples, and makes cakes to order. Merritt Bakery is at 203 E. 18th Street, Oakland.

PENROSE & SONS The latest venture from Charlie Hallowell (Pizzaioloa, Boot & Shoe Service), Penrose & Sons, is tentatively slated to open in early October, according to Diablo Dish  who has an update on the restaurant and bar which has been more than a year in the planning. Hallowell says the bar will take center stage, but the food promises to be interesting too with North African and Middle Eastern meat-focused dishes cooked in a wood-burning hearth. Penrose & Sons will be at 3311 Grand Ave., Oakland.

JACK’S CHOWDER HOUSE Looks like a new restaurant called Jack’s Chowder House is coming to 66 Franklin St. at Water, to be part of the burgeoning food scene in Jack London Square, according to Tablehopper. We’ll bring you more details when we have them. 

What else is happening…


LOCAL BUTCHER SHOP Berkeley’s Local Butcher Shop — founded by Chez Panisse alum Aaron Rocchino and is wife Monica (pictured, left) — is celebrating two years in the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto on Saturday Sept. 7. “We are amazed and delighted every day with what we have built because of our customers, our farmers and our employees,” Monica Rocchino said this week. On Saturday the store, which offers only sustainably raised, locally sourced meat, will offer 2% off everything all day; there will be sliders on a BBQ out front; and T-shirts on offer for those who spend above a certain amount. The anniversary also marks the shop’s new partnership with Credibles, a way for customers to support their favorite local food purveyors with prepayments. The Local Butcher Shop is at 1600 Shattuck Avenue #120 (entrance on Cedar), Berkeley.

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NO WORRIES Filipino vegan food truck No Worries will be making its first official appearance at Oakland’s First Fridays tonight, Friday Sept. 6. No Worries started off as a business proposal project in 1998 at Oakland High School, and offers catering service too. For an idea of the vegan treats on offer, visit No Worries’ website.

Recent Nosh stories (in case you missed them):

High levels of lead are an issue for backyard chickens
Tomato spice cake: A scrumptious seasonal sweet
Nosh on the town: Dishcrawl in Jack London Square
Chef Stephane Tonnelier takes the helm at Five

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.com. Catch up with previous Bites columns.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...