Alameda Cinema
Just opened at the Alameda Theatres: Cinema Grill, serving a full bistro menu, as well as wine, beer and cocktails. Photo: Cinema Grill

Openings, closings…

Photo: Cinema Grill
Photo: Cinema Grill

CINEMA GRILL It’s Alameda’s moment, given the number of new food businesses that have launched there recently, or are about to. First up is Cinema Grill which opened last month within the Alameda Theatres Cineplex complex. Cinema Grill features “eclectic comfort food and a craft-cocktail program inspired by Hollywood’s golden age.” On the menu: CLT sliders, sweet potato fries, Ahi tuna poke, burgers, pizzas, tacos, land and sea gumbo, as well as ice cream sundaes. Patrons can imbibe and eat at the restaurant or while movie watching. Start by grabbing a beer, glass of wine or cocktail and take it with you into the auditorium through the “backstage pass,” a private corridor connecting the restaurant with the cinema. If you reserve a seat in a designated area of the theatre, you can order food and drinks to be delivered to your seat from the restaurant through a mobile paypal app. Cinema Grill is at the Alameda Theatres Cineplex at 2301 Central Ave. Connect with them on Facebook.

The Bahn Mi Shop Alameda
Photo: Banh Mi Shop

BANH MI SHOP Also recently opened in Alameda is Banh Mi Shop, which, as the name suggests, specializes in classic Vietnamese sandwiches. Fillings run the gamut from grilled chicken to pork belly, crispy tofu to meatballs. Also on the menu are spring rolls and, for dessert, gelato. Banh Mi Shop is at 2353 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda. Tel: 510-227-5220.

COMING TO ALAMEDA According to the Shop Park Street newsletter, many more food businesses are set to join Banh Mi Shop and Cinema Grill. They include: the Alameda Grocery, at 2536 Santa Clara Ave.; the Alameda Island Brewing Company, at 1716 Park St. (which we flagged up in April); Crispian Bakery which will be at 1700 Park St., but, in the meantime, is operating out of shared kitchen space in Oakland; Divine De-Lites at 1419 Park St.; and Park Place Tavern, which hopes to open at 1437 Park St.

Downtown Wine Merchants
Photo: Downtown Wine Merchants

DOWNTOWN WINE MERCHANTS Just opened in the heart of downtown Oakland is Downtown Wine Merchants, on Broadway next to Frank Ogawa Plaza (first tipped by us in May). Owner Susanne Breen was born and raised in Germany but is a longtime veteran of the Bay Area hospitality scene, as a general manager and wine buyer, as well as a harvest intern ‘cellar rat’ and tour guide at several wineries. The wine list at Downtown includes many small-production wines from the US and Europe. Says Breen: “My goal has always been to discover unusual wines sourced locally, where I live and from Europe, where I was born. Then I create a wine list, thinking of myself as the guest and understanding that we all have different budgets but still want to love what’s in our glass”. The menu, under executive chef Edwin Cabrilla, includes charcuterie, salads, flatbreads, as well as European favorites such as Käsespätzle (Bavarian egg noodles with Gruyère and Emmenthaler) and Brandade de Morue (salt cod and whipped potato gratin). Downtown Wine Merchants is at 150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland. Tel: 510-250 9110. Connect with them on Facebook.

Photo: Homeroom To Go
Photo: Homeroom To Go

HOMEROOM TO GO Oakland’s super popular mac n’ cheese spot Homeroom has opened Homeroom To Go. This is the place to pick up take-out orders as well as a bottle of beer or wine to accompany the food, not to mention hot sauces, spices from Oakland Spice Shop, jars of house-made dressings and sauces, salads, desserts, t-shirts, mugs, totes and more. Homeroom To Go also offers a fly-thru service, so if you mobile app, staff will bring your food out to your car. Hours are the same as the restaurant: closed on Mondays, Tuesday–Sunday 11am–10pm. Homeroom To Go is at 4007 Webster St. Follow the restaurant on Facebook.

What else is going on…

Photo: Berkeley High School
Photo: Berkeley High School

HOLIDAY MEAL AT BERKELEY HIGH Preparation for the annual Holiday Meal at Berkeley High is in full swing. On Saturday, Dec. 13 the school will welcome the community onto its campus for a warm meal and great entertainment. Hosted by BHS’s Associated Student Body Leadership, the meal planning includes collecting food and donations from the community. What they are most in need of is pre-cooked hams or turkeys, potato or yam-based dishes, green salads or vegetable dishes, and canned/packaged foods such as tuna, soups or pastas. Monetary donations are also a huge help, as they allow them buy basics such as butter, sugar, flour, foil and other food to round out our meal. They will also help cover the cost of decorations and entertainment to make the event “not only a belly filling, but heartwarming experience for those who attend.” Drop-off bins for non-perishables are located outside the BHS leadership office on campus and the goal is to reach over 10,000 pounds of food. Watch a video about the meal, which serves 300-400 members of the community annually. For more info, contact John Villavicencio, Director of Student Activities, at

Catch up on these great recent Nosh stories:

Cleophus Quealy: A tech startup approach to beer
Five local cookbooks that make great holiday gifts
Recipe: Seasonal cranberry clove cookies

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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...