John Griffiths, executive chef at The Advocate. Photo: Postcard PR

Openings, closings…

THE ADVOCATE GETTING CLOSE The Elmwood’s contentious new restaurant, The Advocate, is slated to open at the beginning of August. The restaurant has secured its liquor license and is in the process of passing its final inspections. As we reported in June, The Advocate will offer a menu of dishes inspired by southern Mediterranean and Moroccan/North African cooking, “all viewed through a Northern Californian lens,” according to owners Andrew Hoffman and John Paluska. Paluska and Hoffman have recruited John Griffiths to be the new restaurant’s executive chef. Griffiths was most recently at The Kitchen in Sacramento, a well-known spot where food is treated as theater and chefs are expected to emcee as well as to cook. Griffiths left The Kitchen in October after 16 months in the job to join The Advocate. The Michigan native was the opening chef at Larry Forgione’s An American Place in St. Louis, and was later executive chef at Truffles in the same city. He has been working with The Advocate team since December 2014. The Advocate will be at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Rotisserie chicken to be on menu of new spot replacing Source Mini. Photo: Mike

SOURCE MINI REPLACEMENT Farm League Design & Management Group, the folks behind East Bay Spice Company, Westbrae Biergarten and Tigerlily — all in Berkeley — is taking over the space occupied until recently by Source Mini in Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden on Shattuck Avenue. According to Farm League’s Joel DiGiorgio, the plan is to open a to-be-named salad bar and rotisserie spot that will be managed by the Tigerlily culinary team. Vegans and those on Paleo diets will be catered to, and there will be dairy-, gluten- and nut-free choices on the menu, he said, adding that he thinks people who loved Source Mini (and there were many) will also love the new place. “We also plan to feature full ‘grab and go’ meals that will be ideal for busy parents as well as hungry students (think full rotisserie chickens w/pre-packaged salads and sides, ready-to-go),” DiGiorgio told us. “We’re also hiring some of the Source Mini staff so they can stay employed during this transition,” he said. Opening date is slated to be late August or early September, and construction is already underway. As we reported in Shop Talk this week, vegan fast-food spot Source Mini closed on July 18. Owner Mitchell Fox said the place wasn’t doing enough business for it to be sustainable.

Fresh heirloom tomatoes with figs and thinly shaved Parmesan is one of many dishes on the opening menu at Sabio on Main. Photo: Sabio on Main/Facebook

SABIO ON MAIN SET FOR AUGUST The newest restaurant to grace Pleasanton’s downtown is getting very close to an opening date. Sabio on Main has announced that it is hiring staff for the restaurant and that the restaurant will open sometime in August. In the kitchen of the tapas-style restaurant is Francis Hogan, the former executive chef of San Francisco’s Bluestem Brasserie. Inside Scoop got some details on the opening menu, which will include dishes such as a ssam-glazed pork belly, California-influenced patatas bravas and croquetas de bacalao, currant and pine nut lamb meatballs, crispy chicken and chorizo, and olive oil-poached tuna belly. Sabio on Main will be at 501 Main St. (at Rose Avenue), Pleasanton. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Victory Point Café’s growing collection of board games. Photo: Victory Point Café
Victory Point Café’s growing collection of board games. Photo: Victory Point Café

VICTORY POINT CAFE TAKING SHAPE When we last checked in with Victory Point Cafe, the board game café was amidst a Kickstarter campaign for funds to purchase additional games and furnishings for the soon-to-open space. The campaign was successful, and the team behind Victory Point reports that construction and permitting is going smoothly. They have hired a staff and collected over 650 games for opening day. (Yes, you read that correctly — 650 board games.) The games on hand will range from classics like Monopoly to Eurogames like Settlers of Catan and Dominion. Victory Point will, notably, offer a casual food menu, plus coffee and craft beer. Victory Point Café will be at 1797-A Shattuck Ave. (between Francisco and Delaware streets), Berkeley. Connect with the café on Facebook and Twitter.

Dac Biet Bun Nuoc Leo Tra Vinh at Mien Tay. Photo: Mien Tay/Facebook

MIEN TAY BRINGS MORE VIETNAMESE SOUP TO OAKLAND We hear from Chowhound that a new Vietnamese restaurant, Mien Tay, has opened in East Oakland. The restaurant sports a short, specialized menu of noodle soups, spring rolls and pork porridge. Reports on the food so far are positive: …tm… on Chowhound found the special bún nước lèo Trà Vinh (pork and noodles in a fermented fish broth) to be light, porky and “not very fishy.” Soups come with abundant toppings, including shredded cabbage, chinese chives, rau răm, mint, and Vietnamese balm. Mien Tay is at 1218 12th Street (at 15th Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

Paris Baguette. Photo: William Newton

A PARIS BAGUETTE FOR OAKLAND We received a tip this week from a resident at the Domain Oakland apartment building at 1389 Jefferson St. that a new Paris Baguette location appears to be opening shop inside. A representative from Paris Baguette confirmed the rumor and said that the store is aiming for a mid-September opening, pending inspections and construction, and will be managed by Tea Pak. Paris Baguette serves a variety of pastries, sandwiches and coffee drinks. The chain currently has a location in downtown Berkeley, as well as several stores in the Peninsula and South Bay. Connect with Paris Baguette on Facebook and Twitter.

Nabolom: closing. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

PREVIOUSLY ON BERKELEYSIDE We broke the news earlier today that Nabolom Collective Bakery in the Elmwood is closing for good on Sunday Aug. 2. The much-loved neighborhood spot had been in operation for nearly 40 years, cooking up cinnamon twists, blueberry cheese Danishes, morning buns, snicker-doodle cookies, challah and other baked delights. Its Saturday live music sessions also made it a great place for a lazy weekend breakfast. Meanwhile, patrons who visit Peet’s Coffee on Domingo Avenue may have noticed a brand new look. The venerable coffee company, which opened its first store on Vine Street in Berkeley in 1966, has remodeled 20 stores in the Bay Area with walnut wood floors, espresso-stained cabinetry, and an open view of the coffee. It’s a “fresh, contemporary and distinctive design that highlights Peet’s commitment to craft and premium quality,” said Amy Lester, a spokeswoman for the coffee chain. (The Vine Street store has not been remodeled.) The redo coincides with Peet’s decision to eliminate its eponymous teas and only carry Mighty Leaf teas instead. Peet’s bought the San Rafael-based Mighty Leaf company in 2014. It will be repackaging some of its teas under the Mighty Leaf brand, according to a press release. Peet’s Coffee is at 2916 Domingo Ave. (between Russell Street and Ashby Avenue), Berkeley. [Frances Dinkelspiel]

What else is going on…

Paula McDade preparing her signature dumplings. Photo: McDade Fare/Facebook

KOREAN POP-UP AT JUHU BEACH CLUB Kimchi isn’t usually on the menu at Preeti Mistry’s Temescal ode to Indian street food, Juhu Beach Club. However, on August 3, she is playing host to Paula McDade’s k.pop! dinner, a killer-sounding Korean pop-up. McDade has strong culinary chops; the Korean-born chef previously worked in New York’s Gramercy Tavern, San Francisco’s Quince and Oakland’s Boot & Shoe Service. Now she owns her own catering company, McDade Fare, which serves locally sourced food with “big flavors” and “proper technique.” The Juhu Beach Club event will take place over two seatings, and the $55 prix fixe menu will include dishes like an octopus pancake, tempura with homemade tofu, dumpling soup and (of course) three types of kimchi. Find more information here. Juhu Beach Club is at 5179 Telegraph Ave. (at 51st Street), Oakland. Connect with McDade Fare on Facebook and Twitter.

Stella Nonna.

ANOTHER POP-UP: VIETNAMESE AT STELLA NONNA Also on August 3, chef Geoffrey Deetz will be bringing Vietnamese to Berkeley’s Stella Nonna. The formerly Oakland-based chef has been living in Vietnam since 2000 and is now planning on returning to the Bay soon. The East Bay Express has a lengthy profile on Deetz; he spent time at Spettro and Gulf Coast Oyster Bar in Oakland and Dragonfly Teahouse in Berkeley in the 1980’s and 90’s before moving to Vietnam. There, he has been running a long list of restaurants including Vietnamese seafood restaurants, high-end steakhouses, burger and burrito joints, and a top-your-own-pizza place. The Stella Nonna pop-up will highlight Vietnamese family-style cooking, the backbone of which will be rice and shared small plates. The menu will likely include dishes like roasted eggplant with minced pork, fried shallots, green onion oil and fish sauce; squash blossoms stuffed with shrimp; a seafood salad with pink grapefruit; Ha Noi clam soup with fermented rice, dill and tomato; and braised pumpkin and pork ribs with herbs. Tickets are $45 and available here. Stella Nonna is at 1407 San Pablo Ave. (at Camelia Street), Berkeley.

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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...