A rendering of the façade at xxxx Center St. which was La Botella Republic wine bar before it closed in March. Photo: Half Moon Brewing Company
Pacific Standard, a taproom from Half Moon Brewing Company, will open Oct. 19 in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Half Moon Brewing Company

Openings, closings

PACIFIC STANDARD OPENING SOON The downtown Berkeley taproom from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will open Oct. 19. Called Pacific Standard, the taproom will offer between 16 and 24 different local and regional beers on tap, half of which will come from Half Moon Bay Brewing. It will also offer local ciders and Northern California wines, plus beers to-go in growlers and bottles. Half Moon Bay has brought on executive chef Federico Godinez, also the chef at the brewery’s original outpost, to manage the menu. The small, eclectic menu emphasizes seafood and drink-friendly snacks like local meats and cheeses. Dishes include panini, ceviche and soft pretzels with hop cheese sauce. The concept of the taproom, developed in coordination with Farm League Design and Management, intends to be both casual and urban, bringing the brewery’s coastal vibes downtown. “We’re excited to expand our footprint beyond Half Moon Bay and introduce a new community to our extensive selection of top-quality, hand-crafted beers, and feature brews made by other West Coast breweries,” said Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s general manager, Nate Rey in a statement. “At Pacific Standard, we want our guests to experience the very best elements of the Coastside in an urban, casual environment.” Pacific Standard by Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will be at at 2055 Center St. (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the brewery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Photo: Forage Kitchen

FORAGE KITCHEN LAUNCHES TODAY After a series of delays, Uptown’s Forage Kitchen will officially open for first Friday this evening. In celebration, co-founders Iso Rabins and Matt Johansen will be throwing a party from 5-9 p.m., complete with sandwiches from Pal’s Takeaway and beers from Temescal Brewing. Forage has also announced its first tenants, which include Thistle, Smokin’ Woods BBQ, The Baconer, Nibble, Yumé Boshi, Nam Prik Pao and The Food Craft Institute. Forage Kitchen is intended to serve not only chefs and small business owners, but also makers, non-professionals and the local community. The building includes a 32-foot cook line, plenty of prep tables, ample storage space, offices, personal mailboxes and a small café from which chefs can sell their products. Jeff Mason, of Pal’s Takeaway, is the first chef-in-residence in the café. Forage Kitchen joins an ever-growing line-up of co-working kitchens in Oakland, including KitchenerUptown Kitchen and Port KitchensForage Kitchen is at 478 25th St. (between Broadway and Telegraph Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the kitchen on Facebook and Instagram.

Halal Guys. Photo: Halal Guys/Facebook

UPDATE ON HALAL GUYS The downtown Berkeley location of Halal Guys is still in the works, and will likely open by the end of the year, according to Inside Scoop. Franchise owner Binh Tran is currently raising funds for the Berkeley restaurant, as well as a San Francisco location, through Equity Eats, a restaurant-only crowdfunding platform based in Washington, D.C. Investors in Halal Guys can receive immediate (well, once the restaurant opens) credit; a $100 investment nets $130 in credit, $250 nets $350, and $500 nets $750. Other investor perks are coming. “We chose EquityEats over any other crowdfunding platform because of their ability to create a loyal community. Their investors are word-of-mouth marketers, helping us to spread the word all while bringing in new customers through their individual networks of family and friends. Even with the EquityEats app, we have the ability to communicate directly with investors to receive their feedback,” said Tran in a statement. The Halal Guys will be at 2126 Center St. (between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Chef Mohamed Aboghanem of Saha, in his new dining room in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Saha/Facebook

SAHA NOW OPEN The popular Yemenese restaurant, which operated in San Francisco’s Nob Hill for 12 years, has now opened in the former Herbivore location on Shattuck Avenue. Saha held its official ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday. It serves what it describes as Arabic fusion cuisine — dishes from co-owners Mohamed and Marmee Aboghanem’s home of Yemen prepared with a California ethos. Much of the menu is vegetarian and/or vegan, a fact that will likely appeal to those mourning the loss of Herbivore. Saha is currently open for dinner only, from 5:30 p.m., but it will eventually add brunch and lunch service. Saha is at 2451 Shattuck Ave. (at Haste Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

THAI RESTAURANT REPLACING CHOWHAUS Montclair’s short-run Chowhaus closed this past spring, and the restaurant space, at 6118 Medau Pl., has remained vacant. It now looks like a Thai restaurant, called Daughter Thai Kitchen, will be headed to the location. Daughter Thai Kitchen has filed for an ABC license for the restaurant, but, as of press time, nothing else is known. Chowhaus, which was the brainchild of Fallaron alums Tracey Block and Joe Schnell, served served modern twists on American comfort food, including chicken pot pie with Mary’s chicken and seasonal vegetables, a smoked sausage sandwich with sauerkraut and pickles, and a kobe beef bavette steak with salsa verde. According to a story in the Mercury News, the Block and Schnell closed the restaurant due to “personal reasons.” Daughter Thai Kitchen will be at 6118 Medau Pl. (between Moraga Avenue and Mountain Boulevard), Oakland.

Rene Cage. Photo: Chef Rene’s Kitchen and BBQ
Rene Cage. Photo: Chef Rene’s Kitchen and BBQ

CHEF RENE CAGE OF RENE’S BBQ DIES OF HEART ATTACK The barbecue chef, who ran a regular pop-up at the Westbrae Biergarten, died on Sept. 29 at the age of 58. According to a description on a GoFundMe page set up as a memorial fund, Cage “died instantly from a heart attack while finishing his Chef duties once he returned home from feeding many satisfied patrons. His partner and family welcome your love and support during this tragic time of immense loss.” Cage grew up in Oakland and had been cooking professionally for over 35 years. He opened Chef Rene’s Kitchen and BBQ in 2009, focusing primarily on catering. He joined the Westbrae Biergarten in 2014, and was planning on opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the next year. Cage’s barbecue pop-up was a popular one for the biergarten, consistently meriting five stars on Yelp. One Nosh reader wrote to tell us that “besides making the best bbq brisket in the Universe, [Cage] was a very nice man.” Darnis Brooks wrote on the GoFundMe page: “Rene will be truly missed … he was a great man.” And another customer, Erika Rannisto Simon, wrote on Facebook: “We were so sorry to hear this news last night when we went to the Biergarten…our thoughts and tears are with you…I can still hear Chef Rene calling out “STELLA” when we went to the Biergarten on Thursdays…we just loved seeing you guys every week and are so sorry for your huge loss…”.

Dinners and events

Photo: Mezcalistas

TASTE MEZCAL AT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN The UC Berkeley Botanical Garden’s second installment of its “Around the World in 6 Glasses” series focuses on now-trending mezcal, the smokier, funkier cousin to tequila. The event, which takes place Oct. 9 from 4-6 p.m., will feature a “diversity” of mezcals presented by the Mezcalistas (a.k.a. Susan Cross and Max Garrone), plus “festive nibbles” and a primer on agave plants with Basil Medeiros, a garden horticulturist for the Deserts of the Americas. The series will continue with four more installments, one of which will be in 2016, and the remainder in 2017. Tickets are $40 (members) or $50 (non-members). Find more information hereThe UC Botanical Garden is at 200 Centennial Way, Berkeley. Connect with the garden on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Connect with the Mezcalistas on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What else is going on…

Tacubaya, Berkeley. Photo: savory-odyssey

DOÑA TOMÁS GROUP SPLITS WITH FLORA AND FAUNA It looks like the longtime partnership between restaurateurs Dona Savitsky and Thomas Schnetz has come to an end. The two have presided over the well-regarded East Bay restaurants and bars Doña Tomás, Tacubaya, Flora, Fauna and Xolo since 1999, but have now decided to split. Savitsky will retain ownership of Doña Tomás and Tacubaya, while Schnetz will run Flora, Fauna and Xolo. Schnetz has recently filed a new ABC license for his two restaurants, under the new restaurant group name Flora/Fauna Restaurant LLC. Savitsky told Nosh that the split happened because she and Schnetz “wanted to go in different directions.” For her part, Savitsky said it was “really difficult to operate four restaurants” and she is now committing to more face time at both Doña Tomás and Tacubaya. “I want to make them as good as they can be,” she said. All of the affected restaurant restaurants will continue to operate more or less as they have been; however Doña Tomás will be expanding service by adding lunch in the near future. It has also added all night happy hour at its bar on Tuesdays, with discounts on nachos and tacos.  Doña Tomás is at 5004 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. Tacubaya is at 1788 Fourth St. (at Delaware Street), Berkeley.  Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. Xolo is at 1916 Telegraph Ave. (at 19th St.), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. Flora is at 1900 Telegraph Ave. (at 19th St.), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and InstagramFauna is at (at 19th St.), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook and Twitter.

Breakfast at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Breakfast at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café. Photo: Emilie Raguso

RUDY’S CAN’T FAIL SCALES BACK, FOR NOW Both the Emeryville and Oakland locations for Rudy’s Can’t Fail have cut back operating hours in order to restructure the diners’ organization and to “do maintenance, menu adjustments, update systems and training programs,” according to a statement on the restaurant’s website. For the time being, Rudy’s will only be open 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., but co-owners Jeffery Bischoff, Steve Mills and Mike Dirnt hope to return to regular hours “as soon as possible.” The E’ville Eye spoke with Bischoff for more details on the changes, and Bischoff emphasized the temporary shift does not indicate trouble for the diner. “We’re not going anywhere,” he said. Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café is at 4081 Hollis St. (at 40th Street), Emeryville and 1805 Telegraph Ave. (at 18th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: Rotten City Pizza/Facebook

ROTTEN CITY PIZZA NOW HAS A BEER GARDEN Okay, so we’re a little late to the game — Emeryville’s Rotten City Pizza added an adjacent beer garden in July. Hungry Onion tipped us to the addition this week. From pictures on Facebook, it looks like the beer garden is decked out with several umbrella-topped picnic tables and potted trees for shade. It adds additional seating to the pizzeria, which previously had a few counter seats downstairs and a bar area upstairs. Rotten City offers a rotating selection of domestic and imported bottled beers and craft beer on tap to go with its 18-inch New York-style pizzas. Rotten City Pizza is at 6613 Hollis St. (at 66th Street), Emeryville. Connect with the restaurant 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...