Café Rouge. Photo: Jeremy Brooks/Flickr
Café Rouge. Photo: Jeremy Brooks/Flickr

Openings, closings…

CAFÉ ROUGE TO CLOSE After 20 years in Berkeley, Fourth Street’s pioneering butcher shop and restaurant Café Rouge will close after service Dec. 30. Inside Scoop broke the news, reporting that labor shortages played a major role in the decision to close the restaurant and butcher shop. Owner Marsha McBride said she had been working in both the kitchen and the front of the house to make up for a lack of staff. In addition, executive chef Rick DeBeaord had decided to leave the restaurant, and McBride did not want to run Café Rouge on her own. Café Rouge opened in 1996, and had a resounding influence on the growth of local nose-to-tail butcher shops around the Bay. Analiesa Gosnell of Oakland’s Clove & Hoof, and Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller of San Francisco’s Fatted Calf, as well as many others, trained in McBride’s kitchen. As for the future of the space, a buyer is already lined up. The new owner does not plan to continue the butcher shop-restaurant format, said McBride. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. Café Rouge is at 1782 Fourth St. (at Delaware Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: East Brother Beer/Facebook

EAST BROTHER BEER TAPROOM NOW OPEN Back in July, we tipped you to a new brewery and tasting room headed to Richmond. That brewery, East Brother Beer, is now fully up and running. The taproom opened Dec. 7, and it includes five beers on tap: a red lager, an oatmeal stout, a pale wheat, a red IPA and “Bo Pils,” a pilsner with lemon notes. Food trucks will make an appearance each weekend. East Brother Beer Company is named for the lighthouse just north of the Richmond bridge, and it focuses on updated “craft classics made with precision.” Co-founders Chris Coomber and UC Berkeley alum Rob Lightner have been friends for 20 years and home brewing partners for around seven. While neither have professional brewing experience, Coomber has “spent the last five years devoting himself to a rigorous autodidactic program focused on the home brewing sciences,” according to the brewery. He and Lightner have also brought on Peter Landman (Deschutes, Draught Works, Fifty-Fifty) as head brewer. Current hours are 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4-9 p.m. Fridays, 12-9 p.m. Saturdays and 12-8 p.m. Sundays. East Brother Beer Company is at 1001 Canal Blvd. (near Wharf Street), Richmond. Connect with the brewery on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Grand Bakery in Oakland. Photo: Kelly/Flickr

OAKLAND’S GRAND BAKERY TO CLOSE One of the Bay Area’s few certified kosher bakeries will close Dec. 23. Grand Bakery originally opened as New Yorker Bakery in 1961, according to J. Weekly. It changed names to Ernie’s Strudel Palace a few years later, and then became Grand Bakery (and kosher) with its third owner. Current owner Bob Jaffe has been operating the bakery for 18 years, and he plans to retire after the closure. “Hopefully I have given some life to this bakery, but now it consumes my life and it’s time to move on with my life,” he told J. Weekly. Jaffe added that he had been searching for a buyer, but he hadn’t found anyone who would keep the bakery’s kosher status. Grand Bakery is at 3264 Grand Ave. (near Lake Park Avenue), Oakland.

Fried chicken from Duchess Oakland. Photo: Duchess Oakland/Instagram

DUCHESS OPENS TOMORROW IN ROCKRIDGE The all-day pub from Caroline Conner and Chris Strieter officially opens tomorrow. Duchess will serve “California-inspired pub fare,” such as a sausage and egg “Duch-Muffin” at breakfast, takeaway meals like sandwiches and burgers at lunch, and fish and chips at dinner. Kid-friendly options like chicken nuggets and grilled cheese will be served all day long, and beverages will include cocktails, craft beer and “unpretentious” wine. “We wanted to reconsider what a pub is and the culture that goes along with it,” said Conner in a press release. “Think comfort food with people you love. Fresh, seasonal, creative and simple for sharing with your friends and family.” It will replace Café Rustica, which closed in 2015Duchess Oakland will be at 5422 College Ave. (at Kales Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

The Kitchener Snack Bar as pictured in March. Photo: Kitchener Oakland/Facebook

KITCHENER SNACK BAR READY TO OPEN Two and a half years in the making, the Kitchener Snack Bar has now opened, albeit on a limited basis. According to the East Bay Express, the take-out window will be up and running in its full scope early next year. The Snack Bar offers a public-facing space for the food artisans currently working in Kitchener’s shared kitchen space. Owner Sophia Chang intends to have two artisans selling food and drink side-by-side in different time slots (breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night) throughout the day. During the Snack Bar’s initial launch, Natalie Pearce of Natty Cakes will be in the window from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays selling baguette sandwiches, boba drinks and baked goods. Eventually, long running Kitchener artisans such as The Lumpia Company, Chica, Tart Bakery, Plate Craft, The Pie Shop, and Stroopie Gourmet will be added to the rotation. Kitchener Snack Bar is at 372 24th St. (at Webster Street), Oakland. Connect with the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

FIELDWORK BREWING CONTINUES TO EXPAND Hot on the heels of new taprooms in Napa and Sacramento, Berkeley-based Fieldwork Brewing is headed to San Mateo (and Monterey). According to Liquid Bread, Fieldwork will be opening a 4,500 square foot beer garden at Bay Meadows in San Mateo next spring. In addition to over 12 beers on tap, the beer garden will also serve small bites and growlers to go, and it will have fire pits and communal seating. Connect with Fieldwork Brewing on Facebook and Twitter.

Dinners and events…

Image: Italian Food Street Fest/Facebook

ITALIAN STREET FOOD FEST This Sunday, two self-described Italian foodies, along with Passione PizzaAlmare Gelato, Nonna Box, Imperfect ProduceUrbano Cellars and Bay Area CoRoasters, are throwing an epic Italian food festival in West Berkeley. Food items include gnocco fritto (deep fried bread) with three different toppings, pasta, pizza and gelato. Wine and coffee will be on offer to drink, and there will be live music from local artists throughout the afternoon event. All event proceeds will be donated to Food Shift, an Oakland-based organization that works collaboratively with communities, businesses and governments to develop sustainable solutions to reduce food waste and alleviate hunger. Entry is free; food and drink sampling menus are $15-25. Italian Street Food event takes place at 2323 Fourth Street Berkeley on Sunday Dec. 11, 12-3pm.

What else is going on…

Image: Ordinaire

FUNDRAISERS FOR OAKLAND FIRE VICTIMS In the aftermath of the devastating Ghost Ship fire last Friday night, several Oakland food and drink businesses are holding fundraising events to help displaced victims. All of the fundraisers listed below are donating to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, which has set up a relief fund for victims of the fire. Encuentro will donate a portion of its profits through Tuesday. Tartine Bakery will be selling a limited number of pastries at Ordinaire wine shop in Oakland starting at 4 p.m. today. All proceeds from the bake sale and all profits from wine sales during the bake sale will be donated. On Monday, the Rockridge Improvement Club is hosting several bartenders from around the Bay Area and will donate 100% of tips. In addition, the bar will be serving special beer and cocktail options for a separate donation. On the same evening, Duende will donate 100% of all sales. On Dec. 14, Oakland’s Shakewell will donate 100% of proceeds during its happy hour (4-6 p.m.). It will also be mixing a specialty cocktail called “Love Conquers All” in honor of the victims. Drake’s Brewing has made a special “Oakland Love” double IPA, and 100% of its sales at Drake’s Dealership will be donated. The brewpub also has a collection box at its host stand for additional donations. Itani Ramen is currently running a supply drive for those displaced by the fire; it is serving Sapporos on the house for those who donate. The restaurant is asking for winter coats, instruments, clothes, toiletries, art supplies and “whatever you can spare.” Eli’s Mile High Club will be hosting a benefit concert with vegan baked goods for sale Dec. 17. Proceeds from the sliding-scale entry fee will be donated. Encuentro is at 550 2nd St. (at Clay Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and InstagramOrdinaire is at 3354 Grand Ave. (at Elwood Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the shop on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Rockridge Improvement Club is at 5515 College Ave. (at Forest Street), Oakland. Connect with the bar on FacebookDuende is at 468 19th St. (at Telegraph Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Twitter and InstagramShakewell is at 3407 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland. Connect with Shakewell on Facebook and Twitter.  Drake’s Dealership is at 2335 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the bar on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Itani Ramen is at 1738 Telegraph Ave. (at 18th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on FacebookTwitter and InstagramEli’s Mile High Club is at 3629 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (between 36th and 37th streets), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook.

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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...