North Oakland’s OVO Tavern and Eatery is now open and showing Golden State Warriors games. Photo: Kate Williams
North Oakland’s OVO Tavern and Eatery is now open and showing Golden State Warriors games. Photo: Kate Williams

Openings, closings…

OVO COMES TO NORTH OAKLAND OVO, a.k.a. “Oakland’s Very Own Tavern and Eatery,” has softly opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland. The new bar and restaurant is an official viewing spot for the Golden State Warriors playoff games while it continues to tweak its menu and operating hours. For now, OVO is open only from 4-9 p.m.; owner DeWayne DeGuzman aims to hold a grand opening party at the end of the month. The menu features simple bar food like tater tots, chicken wings and burgers. DeGuzman said OVO will eventually be open in the morning, with breakfast pastries from Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts and Mr. Espresso coffee. The bar has a modest selection of beers, with space for six rotating local microbrews, and a potent-sounding OVO punch (think rum and lots of fruit). OVO takes the place of Bottom of the Ninth Bar & Grill, which opened in 2013 after Looney’s BBQ closed. DeGuzman hopes the restaurant will be a lively community gathering space, and he plans on keeping the concept and menu adaptable to the changing neighborhood. “We’re going to keep it fresh, just like Oakland,” he said. Ovo is at 5319 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between 53rd and 54th streets), Oakland. 

Sequoia Diner will open soon in Oakland’s Laurel District. Photo: Sequoia Diner
Sequoia Diner will open soon in Oakland’s Laurel District. Photo: Sequoia Diner

SEQUOIA DINER GETTING CLOSE In April, we brought you news of Sequoia Diner, the new restaurant coming to Oakland’s Laurel District. It will replace shuttered Full House Café. Sequoia Diner is on a fast-track to opening day; it just fulfilled its Kickstarter funding campaign and is holding reservation-only, family and friends soft-opening meals over the next two weekends. Owners Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson plan to announce their grand opening once they secure their beer and wine license. Sequoia Diner will be at 3719 MacArthur Blvd. (at High Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

Mad Oak Bar ‘N’ Yard’s opening beer line-up. Photo: Mad Oak
Mad Oak Bar ‘N’ Yard’s opening beer line-up. Photo: Mad Oak

MAD OAK BAR ‘N’ YARD TO DOWNTOWN OAKLAND Benjamin and Daniel Cukierman, owners of the former Shattuck Down Low in Berkeley, have a new project in downtown Oakland. Called Mad Oak Bar ‘N’ Yard, the bar will showcase both local craft brews and cocktails made from fresh ingredients. Inside Scoop and Tablehopper report that it will host rotating food trucks, as well as restaurant pop-ups; the first food menu comes courtesy of Javi’s Argentinian Food and includes empanadas and sandwiches. Mad Oak replaces the Oasis nightclub, which closed in 2012. The Cukiermans gave the space a complete makeover, including a 2000-square-foot roof deck and similarly large patio. Mad Oak’s opening day is tomorrow, May 16, starting at noon. Mad Oak Bar ‘N’ Yard is at 135 12th St. (between Madison and Oak streets), Oakland.

Photo: Taste of Ethiopia

TASTE OF ETHIOPIA TO EL CERRITO Taste of Ethiopia officially opened on San Pablo Avenue back in February, but is holding a grand opening celebration today, May 15. The party will include menu tastings, like Ethiopian Jazz and other “traditional Ethiopian surprises.” So far, the restaurant seems to be off on a good foot; Yelpers have been praising both the food and the atmosphere. The restaurant’s owner, Tsege Tamene, said in a statement, “Our food, like our culture, is very colorful. I am excited to share a place that embraces my culture to the fullest.” Taste of Ethiopia is at 11740 San Pablo Ave. (between Knott and Verjane avenues), El Cerrito. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

FACE TO FACE NOODLES TAKES OVER TSUNAMI DOGS A Shandong-style noodle restaurant is now occupying the petite restaurant space formally known as Tsunami Dogs in downtown Berkeley. Called Face to Face, the noodle shop serves four items: beef noodle soup, chow mein, potstickers and a beef wrap, plus milk tea to drink, according to the East Bay Express. Luke Tsai found the food hit-or-miss, but enjoyed the mild broth in the noodle soup and the beef in the wrap. Face to Face is at 2109 Milvia St. (between Center and Addison streets), Berkeley.

SABIO ON MAIN HEADED TO PLEASANTON Francis Hogan, the former executive chef of San Francisco’s Bluestem Brasserie, is opening Sabio on Main, a tapas-style restaurant, in Pleasanton this summer. According to the Bay Area News Group, the restaurant will primarily serve dishes from the Iberian peninsula, but will also take inspiration from other international cuisines. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. Sabio on Main will be at 501 Main St. (at Rose Avenue), Pleasanton. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

What else is going on…

The Dock at Linden Street was one of 12 East Bay restaurants on Michael Bauer’s Top 100 list this year. Photo: The Dock at Linden Street
The Dock at Linden Street was one of 12 East Bay restaurants on Michael Bauer’s Top 100 list this year. Photo: The Dock at Linden Street

12 EAST BAY RESTAURANTS MAKE BAUER’S TOP 100 Michael Bauer’s Top 100 Bay Area restaurant list came out this week, and 12 East Bay restaurants made the cut. Ten of the restaurants had made the list previously. The two new additions, The Dock at Linden Street and Hawker Fare, are both owned by James Syhabout. Berkeley’s Chez Panisse has been on the list for 20 years; Bauer added it to a list of 10 “Top 100 Classics.” In addition, Berkeley’s Comal, Ippuku and Iyasare; Oakland’s Camino, Hopscotch, Nido, Pizzaiolo/Boot & Shoe Service and Ramen Shop; and Port Costa’s Bull Valley Roadhouse all made the list. No East Bay restaurants were cut from the previous year’s list.

Photo: Nomad Tibetan Restaurant

NOMAD TIBETAN RESTAURANT NEPAL FUNDRAISER This weekend, the Solano Avenue restaurant will host two special buffet dinners to raise money for Nepal earthquake relief. The $20 buffet will be served Saturday and Sunday. It includes meat and vegetarian options, plus Tibetan tea. Nomad will also donate 20% of its proceeds from regular dinners over the next week. All funds will go to the Sakya Earthquake Relief Team, which “works tirelessly to bring water, supplies and aid to Kathmandu and to villages outside of Kathmandu,” said Nomad in an email. Nomad Tibetan Restaurant is at 1593 Solano Ave. (at Tacoma Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

SPOONROCKET NOW DELIVERING BREAKFAST Good news for hungry early risers. Berkeley-based meal delivery service, SpoonRocket, now has breakfast on the menu. “Given the hectic start for the workday, it is no surprise that many people are forced to skip breakfast due to time constraints,” said Steven Hsiao, co-founder and CEO of SpoonRocket in a prepared statement. Dishes like the SpoonRocket breakfast burrito (pork sausage, bacon, eggs, hash browns and pepper jack cheese), English muffin breakfast sandwich (Canadian bacon, scrambled eggs, cheddar and chipotle mayo), a mixed fruit cup and a fresh mint “immunity” smoothie make up the menu, which is available from 8-10 a.m. Monday through Friday in Berkeley and Emeryville. Breakfast service is planned for more areas in the near future.

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Kate Williams

Kate Williams has been writing about food since 2009. After spending two years developing recipes for cookbooks at America’s Test Kitchen, she moved to Berkeley and began work as a freelance writer and...