Little Giant Ice Cream launched in Uptown August 7. Photo: Little Giant/Facebook
Little Giant Ice Cream launched in Uptown August 7. Photo: Little Giant/Facebook

Openings, closings

LITTLE GIANT ICE CREAM NOW SCOOPING Last month, we shared news on Little Giant, the new ice cream shop headed to Uptown Oakland. The scoop shop debuted its ice cream last Friday, Aug. 7, during the First Friday celebrations. Little Giant Ice Cream is serving “American premium hard scoop” ice cream made from scratch on site in a wide array of ice cream flavors, from standard options like vanilla and salted caramel to savory and booze-filled varieties. Little Giant Ice Cream is at 1951 Telegraph Ave. (at 20th Street), Oakland. Connect with the shop on Facebook.

Ramen Shop now has 20 more seats for hungry noodle eaters. Photo: Ramen Shop/Facebook

RAMEN SHOP EXPANDS Last fall, we learned that Rockridge’s ever-crowded Ramen Shop had purchased the former luggage store next door and would be expanding into the space. Lucky for all Ramen Shop fans, the new expansion is now open. Eater has the details on the addition, which created around 20 more seats in the dining area, plus a larger bar, lounge area and a narrow outdoor space for enjoying cocktails while enduring the wait for Sam White’s California-style noodle bowls. The new bar will have room for some more hard-to-find Japanese whiskeys and sour beers, which will translate to a longer cocktail menu. Crucial for back-of-the-house prep, the expansion has also added storage space for two custom-made Japanese noodle machines. White told Easter that the noodle machines will allow them to produce noodles twice as fast and (hopefully) add a lunch menu this fall. He also noted that he is “entertaining the idea” of selling Ramen Shop noodles for enterprising cooks to take home. Ramen Shop is at 5812 College Ave. (at Oak Grove Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Ceviche de Atun Estilo José from Calavera. Photo: courtesy Calavera

CALAVERA, DRAKE’S OFFICIALLY OPEN Yes, we’ve been teasing you about these two major openings for the last couple of weeks. Now we can officially announce the openings of both Drake’s Dealership and Calavera at Hive Oakland. The two restaurants held a block party for Oakland’s First Friday celebration August 7; Calavera served its first dinner the following evening and Drake’s opened its doors on August 10. Calavera is a project from Jessica Sackler, Chris Pastena, Michael Iglesias and chef Christian Irabien. The food “celebrates Mexican artistry in all forms,” and its menu includes everything from pre-Columbian dishes to food inspired by the modern Mexican cooking. Drake’s Dealership is serving up a wide array of its signature brews, plus pizzas, sandwiches and other beer-appropriate nibbles. Calavera is at 2337 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Drake’s Dealership is at 2325 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on Facebook and Twitter.

The Lodge on Piedmont Avenue is close to opening. Photo: The Lodge/Facebook

THE LODGE ON PIEDMONT MAKING PROGRESS Bar Dogwood and Stag’s Lunchette proprietess Alexeis Filipello looks to be getting close to opening her fourth Oakland establishment, The Lodge on Piedmont Avenue. (Filipello also opened Darling’s Elixirs earlier this year.) She’s posted pictures of the finished space on her Instagram account, and the back of the house looks to be experimenting with menu items. Back in March, Inside Scoop got a few details on the project; The Lodge will be serving classic cocktails and “straightforward, fun food; bar bites that are share-friendly,” including oysters on the half shell, homemade sausages, and a full-sized baguette sandwich with stout-butter sauce. The Lodge will be at 3758 Piedmont Ave. (at MacArthur Boulevard), Oakland.

MILLENNIUM ADDS BRUNCH The newly-relocated temple to vegan eating is now serving brunch. Millennium moved from San Francisco to Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood in June after a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. Tablehopper shared the news of the expanded Sunday brunch, which is best enjoyed on the restaurant’s patio, she says. Even better — reservations are available. Millennium Restaurant is at 5912 College Ave. (at Chabot), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

ITALIAN BAKING IN RICHMOND Fans of Italian baked goods are rejoicing upon the opening of Gran Cafe Milan in Richmond. A tipster on Facebook said the cafe is “so authentic that it brought tears to my eyes,” and it “even offers sfogliatella, a divine Neapolitan pastry that’s not easy to find outside southern Italy.” The cafe’s website also advertises its organic olive bread, tiramisu, focaccia and dark chocolate bread. Gran Cafe Milan is at 5327 Jacuzzi St. (near the Pacific East Mall), Richmond. Connect with the cafe on Facebook.

Photo courtesy: Spin! Pizza

SPIN! PIZZA COMING TO ALAMEDA A Kansas City-based Neapolitan pizza chain is opening a new branch at Alameda Landing August 24. Spin! Pizza currently has locations in Dallas, Orange County, Omaha, North Dakota and South Dakota, in addition to several spots in the Kansas City area. Its menu features build-your-own thin-crust pizzas, plus house special pizzas, flatbreads and the requisite soups, salads and antipasti. Spin! Pizza will be at 2670 5th St. (at Mosley Avenue), Alameda. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

EUREKA! TO CONCORD In more exclamatory restaurant news, Eureka!, the modern American restaurant and craft beer chain, is opening its second Bay Area location in Concord September 7. In addition to 40 American craft beers and an “extensive” selection of small-batch whiskeys, Eureka! Concord will offer a modern twist on American classics such as mussels steamed in golden ale, “lollipop” corndogs, and a “cowboy burger” topped with shoestring onions, bacon, cheddar and beer barbecue sauce. Eureka! currently also has a location at 2068 Center St. in Downtown Berkeley. Eureka! Concord will be at 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What else is going on…

Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia winery. Photo: courtesy Pietro Buttitta

URBAN WINERY AIMS FOR OAKLAND Pietro Buttitta, a winemaker and chef based in Oakland, is raising funds for an urban winery called Prima Materia in which he hopes to focus on “non-mainstream grapes crafted into wines with an Old World inflection.” Buttitta is currently seeking backers on Indiegogo for the project, which, unlike other urban wineries, will have a strong food component. He aims to combine the ideas of historical preservation and tradition with modern winemaking and culinary techniques. It is like “Slow Food and Wine, but on fast forward and with better design,” Buttitta said in a statement. Appropriately, Buttitta will also be holding pop-up food and wine events during and after the funding period. Learn more about Prima Materia here.

Photo: The Half Orange
Photo: The Half Orange

THE HALF ORANGE TURNS 1 The Half Orange, Fruitvale’s sausage, burger and beer joint, is celebrating its first year in business this Sunday, Aug. 16. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. the restaurant will be serving all of its draft beers for $4.95 and its chicharron-topped “El Take It Easy” burger for $9.95. The full menu will also be available The Half Orange is at 3340 E. 12th St. (at 33rd Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

…AND KITCHENER TURNS 3 Another anniversary party, this one at Kitchener, will take place next week. The co-working kitchen is now 3 years old and, to celebrate, will be throwing a major pop-up event on Aug. 20 from 6-9 p.m. Entry and drinks (including beer and wine) are all free; food from vendor/members is cheap (read: mostly less than $5). Nibbles include cochinita pibil pork and pickled japaleño sliders from CHICA, Tel Aviv-style hummus bowls from Peas & Love, short rib and mashed potato “cupcakes” from Pinx Catering, and limoncello panna cotta from Tart! Bakery. Kitchener’s food window, Kitchener Snack Bar, also looks close to completion. According to Kitchener’s Facebook page, the facade is painted, lamps are installed, and it is about “70% of the way there.” Kitchener is at 372 24th St. (at Webster Street), Oakland. Connect with the kitchen on Facebook and Twitter.

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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...