JOHNNY B’S COMES TO WEST BERKELEY There’s a new spot to grab sandwiches and coffee in West Berkeley. Johnny B’s Café has just opened up shop next to Strawberry Creek Park on Addison Street, in the former Café Zeste location. Owner John Bajek tells us that his corned beef and roasted chicken sandwiches are his bestsellers so far. In addition, he is serving soups, freshly made salads and pastries, with plenty of gluten-free options. Johnny B’s is at 1250 Addison St., Suite 110 (near Bonar Street), Berkeley.
THE HABIT BURGER HITS ALAMEDA Santa Barbara-based The Habit Burger Grill has opened a new location on the north end of Alameda. The Habit serves “Charburgers,” grilled thin patties topped with various additions, such as mushrooms and swiss, teriyaki and pineapple, and avocado on sourdough. They also serve a healthy number of salads and a few sandwiches for the non-burger-inclined. The Habit is at 2640 Fifth St. (near Willie Stargell Avenue), Alameda. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
HASNIA REPLACES DE AFGHANAN The long-shuttered De Afghahan Kabob House on University has now been replaced with Hasnia, an Algerian restaurant. Early reports on Chow are very good; diners seem to like its tagines, couscous platters, and Algerian flatbread. Hasnia is at 1160 University Ave. (near Curtis Street), Berkeley.
GRANGE HALL NEARING OPENING DAY Temescal’s restaurant boom continues with soon-to-open Grange Hall. The cocktail bar and restaurant, owned by Kushido’s Jonathan Moon, will be located in the former Barlata space on Telegraph Avenue. Inside Scoop reports that the restaurant aims to be open by the end of the month. Grange Hall will offer American comfort food dishes such as burgers, lobster rolls, and fried chicken, but its focus will be on the bar. Moon has brought in San Francisco’s Jason Huffman (of Roka Akor) to develop the cocktail program, which will include housemate sodas, punch and a selection of Japanese whiskeys. Grange Hall will be at 4901 Telegraph Ave. (at 49th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
SIMPLY BOWL OFFERS JAPANESE AND HAWAIIAN FUSION Simply Bowl (which we told you about Feb. 3) held its grand opening last week. The University Avenue restaurant serves dishes such as teriyaki bowls and poke (Hawaiian raw fish salad) bowls. Simply Bowl plans to update and experiment with its food and beverages — so far it mainly serves hot tea — in the next few months. With the restaurant located near both UC Berkeley and Berkeley Community College, Simply Bowl also plans to offer happy hours, art shows and mic nights in the future. Simply Bowl is at 2156 University Ave. (near Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.
FLOUR & CO TO OPEN ON UNIVERSITY Nosh broke the news that a popular San Francisco bakery is opening a new location on University Avenue in Berkeley. Flour & Co will be moving into the former Bread Workshop space near University and Sacramento. Baker and owner Emily Day specializes in modern American desserts and pastries; the new location will feature these as well as breakfast and lunch items, plus coffee from Stumptown, a cult roaster based in Portland, Oregon. Day says the bakery will also offer wheat-free items, such as English muffins. Flour & Co. will be at 1398 University Ave. (at Acton Street), Berkeley. Connect with the bakery on Facebook and Twitter, and follow Emily Day’s blog for updates on their progress.
OTHER OPENINGS Newly open in Albany is Oori Rice Triangles, a restaurant specializing in Japanese seasoned rice snacks, Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House (in the former Everest Café location), and The Daily Pint, a gastropub, on the Northside. Also in Albany, Boss Burger is up and running. The newest venture from Little Star’s Jon Guhl is dishing out classic American burgers and tallow-fried foods. In Oakland, The Iron Pan has opened its doors in the old Aunt Mary’s spot. The Iron Pan specializes in crêpes, and its menu also includes sandwiches, bagels, salads, pasta, and eggs. Oori Rice Triangles is at 1247 Solano Ave. (at Masonic Avenue), Albany. Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House is at 1645 Solano Ave. (at Tacoma Avenue), Berkeley. The Daily Pint is at 1828 Euclid Ave. (at Ridge), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. Boss Burger is at 1187 Solano Ave. (at Cornell Avenue), Albany. Connect with Boss Burger on Facebook. The Iron Pan is at 4307 Telegraph Ave. (at 43rd Street), Oakland. Connect with The Iron Pan on Facebook.
BIRYANI HOUSE IS GONE As we reported last week, the popular Indian restaurant at 2011 Shattuck Ave. has closed. While it may have appeared to have been simply closed for renovations, Biryani House is officially gone for good. The property was sold to a new owner last year, and has now been leased to the co-working company WeWork.
What else is going on …
SUNDAY SUPPER AT PIZZAIOLO Charlie Hallowell‘s monthly Sunday Supper series is at Pizzaiolo this week. Proceeds from the family-style prix fixe dinner will go to People’s Grocery, a nonprofit with the mission of improving the health and economy of West Oakland. Tickets are $60 a pop for the multi-course meal, wine included. Pizzaiolo will also serve cocktails at a cash bar. 100% of the proceeds from the dinner and drinks will go to People’s Grocery. Tickets are available on Brown Paper Tickets. Pizzaiolo is at 5008 Telegraph Ave. (near 51st Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
MARDI GRAS AT HOPSCOTCH We may not be in New Orleans, but we can still celebrate Mardi Gras next week. Uptown Oakland’s Hopscotch is serving a special Fat Tuesday menu on Feb. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with an extended happy hour from 3-6 p.m. Chef Kyle Itani will be dishing up gumbo, boudin ball, shrimp po’boys, and red beans and dirty rice. Beverage manager Jenny Schwarz will be slinging special New Orleans cocktails, such as Sazeracs, Vieux Carres, Hurricanes and Pimm’s Cups. Hopscotch is at 1915 San Pablo Ave. (at William Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.
BITES AT THE LAKE: GRAND KICK-OFF Food trucks and family-friendly events are coming to Lake Merritt every Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., starting this weekend. Bites at the Lake will feature food from the likes of No Worries, Liba Falafel, Fist of Flour, Nora’s Spanish Mobile Cuisine, Doc’s of the Bay, Curbside Creamery, and NoNo Burger. Food trucks will pull up to the parking lot of the Lakeview branch of the Oakland Public Library, and there will be space to spread blankets and picnic chairs on the lawn and nearby playground. Bites at the Lake is an extension of the popular Bites off Broadway event in Temescal last summer and fall. Bites at the Lake will be at 550 El Embarcadero (between Grand and Lakeshore Avenues), Oakland. Connect with Bites at the Lake on Facebook and Twitter.
FREE HAPPY HOUR BITES COMING TO A16 Inside Scoop reports that the Rockridge location of A16 will be kicking off its new happy hour specials next Thursday, Feb. 19. Along with discounted drinks and bar bites, the Italian restaurant will also serve a rotating selection of stuzzichino — complementary snacks like salumi, cheese and nuts. Bar bites will be priced in the $4 to $6 range, and drinks will run between $3 and $8. A16 is following in the footsteps of Piedmont Avenue’s Adesso, which ran a similar happy hour program when it opened in 2009. (Adesso no longer offers free items at happy hour.) A16 Rockridge is at 5356 College Ave. (near Manila Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.