Berkeley's Herbivore restaurant in 2009. Photo: George Kelly/Flickr
Berkeley’s Herbivore restaurant in 2009. Photo: George Kelly/Flickr

Openings, closings…

HERBIVORE HAS CLOSED We received a tip this week that downtown Berkeley’s Herbivore restaurant has closed after nine years of operation on Shattuck Avenue. The restaurant’s original location in San Francisco’s Mission district appears closed as well. Our tipster said that he spoke with a “now-former” employee, who reported that all locations are closed indefinitely. A sign on the door of the restaurant reading “Herbivore is closed today” has been up for at least five days. Nosh attempted to reach both restaurant locations, but the phone calls went to a standard voicemail message with no indication of permanent closure. Other potential guests expressed disappointment on Herbivore’s Facebook page earlier this week: “I heard you closed your doors for good today,” wrote John Hawkridge. “Tell me it’s not true!!!” Gary Ware added: “I’m sorry to see you go, but it would be nice if it was acknowledged somewhere on your website or facebook page (aside from a visitor comment).” Herbivore is the second exclusively vegan restaurant to close in Berkeley in the last year; Café Gratitude shuttered last December and will be replaced with a Sicilian restaurant, Agrodolce. We will keep you posted as we learn more about the future of the Herbivore space.

The Crown Royal Coffee Lab and Tasting Room

ROYAL COFFEE TO OPEN AMBITIOUS COFFEE LAB/TASTING ROOM Green coffee importer Royal Coffee is currently in the build-out phase for The Crown, its self-described “ambitious new culture club” dedicated to all things coffee, in Oakland. As reported in Sprudge, The Crown, located on Broadway near 25th Street, will offer five distinct components: A public-facing tasting room serving a wide spectrum of different coffees in a café-style environment; a cupping lab that will host private small-, medium-, and large-scale coffee cupping and events; a brewing lab that will offer coffee brewing courses and workshops; a roasting lab that will function as a “hands-on learning center focused on bringing the best” out of coffee; and an event space. As such, Royal Coffee hopes for the new space to be a place for both the industry and the public to learn about coffee. It will offer only coffee; as the company told Sprudge: “There are tons of great cafes and bakeries in the Uptown Oakland area.” Additionally, The Crown will not operate as either a wholesale or a retail roaster. It will be the second public-facing venture for the company; Royal Coffee operated a café on Oakland’s College Avenue for over two decades in what is now Cole Coffee. Royal Coffee is targeting early 2017 for an opening date. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. The Crown will be at 2523 Broadway (between 25th and 26th streets), Oakland. Connect with the business on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Bonita Fish Market. Photo: Kate Williams
Bonita Fish Market. Photo: Kate Williams

UPDATE ON BONITA FISH MARKET Last week, we broke the news that Bonita Fish Market at 1941 University Ave. had closed, but we were not sure if the closure was permanent. This week, we’ve learned that the space in which the market was housed had been on the real-estate market for a few months. It has now been sold to a “place that does poke bowls,” according to Peter Fikaris, the chef/owner of The Butcher’s Son, which operates next door. We do not yet know of a name or an opening timeline for the poke restaurant, but we will keep you posted.

Photo: Luckyduck
Oakland’s first bicycle café. Photo: Luckyduck

LUCKYDUCK OPENS NEXT WEEK Update: We’ve learned that Luckyduck extended its initial operating hours to include dinner and evening service; it is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday. You can find the full menu hereOriginal post: Oakland’s first bicycle café is set to officially open August 23. Luckyduck, which we reported on in July, will have a menu focused on well-made sandwiches, fermented vegetables, salads, and local beer and wine. It will start out with breakfast and lunch hours, eventually adding dinner service. (Coffee from Red Bay and bagels from Authentic Bagel will be on hand in the early hours.) On the bike side of things, the shop plans to sell a mix of custom and refurbished used frames in a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. Luckyduck Bicycle Café will be at 302 12th St. (at Harrison Street), Oakland. Connect with the company on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Dinners and events

New Belgium's Tart Lychee will be on tap at the short film festival. Photo: New Belgium Brewing Company/Facebook
New Belgium’s Tart Lychee will be on tap at the short film festival. Photo: New Belgium Brewing Company/Facebook

NEW BELGIUM BEER AND FILM TOUR The Colorado-based brewery is headed to Oakland tonight for its annual Clips Beer and Film Tour. The free event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at Mosswood Park, features short films and a selection of small-batch beers. All of the proceeds from beer sales will go to Bike East Bay. The ten short films featured at the event will all incorporate the year 1991 into the film, as it was the year in which New Belgium was founded. On tap will be some of the brewery’s “most esoteric” beer options, such as its Tart Lychee sour ale, Transatlantique Kriek sour ale and De Koninck flowering citrus ale. Food will be provided by La Crêpe à Moi. New Belgium encourages all attendees to ride bikes to the event. Mosswood Park is at 3612 Webster St. in Oakland. Connect with New Belgium on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


MIKKELLER OAKLAND OPENING FRIDAY In July we let you know that Trappist Provisions in Rockridge would be transitioning to become a tasting room for Mikkeller beer. The bar is still under the ownership of Chuck Stilphen, who worked with the Copenhagen-based brewery to open Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco. Now the East Bay Express reports that Mikkeller Oakland will open today, Friday, at 4 p.m. The Express predicts there will be many brews available that are not easy to find in the U.S. The remodel includes artwork by Keith Shore (see image left) who does the Mikkeller logos and labels). Mikkeller Tasting Room and Bottle Shop is at 6309 College Ave. (at 63rd Street), Oakland. Connect with Mikkeller on Facebook.

What else is going on…

Oak Barrel-Aged Negron at Plum Bar + Restaurant. Photo: Kate Williams
Oak Barrel-Aged Negron at Plum Bar. Photo: Kate Williams

FAMILY MEAL, BEER DINNERS AT PLUM BAR Uptown Oakland’s Plum Bar has upped its food offerings with a three- to four-course shared “family meal” dinner for $18 or $26. Drink pairings are available as well. The menu is “the way we like to eat,” according to the restaurant, and it includes the staff’s favorite bites from the menu: marinated olives, smoked deviled eggs, avocado and burrata toast, chicken wings, turkey meatballs and steak lettuce cups all make an appearance, among other dishes. The family meal is designed to be shared between at least two people, and even when adding the extra course, is one of the most affordable prix fixe options in town. In other Plum Bar news, the restaurant is also now hosting four-course beer pairing dinners every third Thursday of the month; in August, it paired Henhouse Brewing Company beers with four special dishes, and in September, the restaurant will welcome Berkeley’s Fieldwork Brewing into the mix. Food is $25 and the beer pairing is $15 — another solid deal. Plum Bar is at 2216 Broadway (at Grand Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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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...