Cornerstone: now open in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Marcell Turner

The restaurant boom is showing no sign of slowing down. This month’s opening highlights include new options for craft-beer drinking and mole tacos in Berkeley, as well as a soul-food restaurant and a “pizza burger” joint in Oakland (yes, you read that right: pizza-burgers). These join a group of more than a dozen new restaurants and bars added to our dining scene, while several favorite mom-and-pop restaurants have shuttered. (Catch up on all the January and February action too.)



CORNERSTONE After over two years of work, the beer garden and music venue is finally open. Cornerstone boasts an impressive 42-tap main beer bar, plus an eight-tap outdoor bar and a second eight-tap bar in its music venue space. Food items skew towards comfort food classics like chicken pot pie and lasagna. 2367 Shattuck Ave. (at Durant), BerkeleyFacebookLA CAPILLA A new Mexican restaurant and juice bar has opened near the corner of University and San Pablo in West Berkeley. La Capilla offers a menu of mostly tacos, burritos and grilled or stewed meat plates, along with breakfast items and fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Mole, served with either chicken or vegetables, is a signature item. It has been in soft opening for a couple of weeks, but is now open all day, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. 1106 University Avenue (at San Pablo), Berkeley

Roasted coconut gelato served over sticky rice from Secret Scoop. Photo: Secret Scoop/Facebook

SECRET SCOOP A new Thai gelato shop has opened in the former Heat Hot Sauce space on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way serving unique flavors like chocolate lemongrass, pumpkin pandan and salted tamarind sorbet. Secret Scoop had been operating as a delivery and special event business since 2012, but this is its first retail location. 1922 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (between Hearst and Berkeley Way)WebsiteFacebook / TwitterVENUS CAFÉ Not to be confused with the other Venus restaurant down the street, Venus Café is a Hong Kong-style Asian fusion restaurant with an extensive menu, and covering all meals of the day, including late-night snacks. Venus serves everything from ramen soup with Spam to Korean bibimbap to grilled meat and seafood skewers. It also offers an extensive tea and soy milk menu to complement its food offerings. 2017 Shattuck Ave. (between Addison and University), BerkeleyWebsiteFacebook


Little Mandarin. Photo: Google Maps

LITTLE MANDARIN CHINESE The budget-friendly Chinese restaurant closed after service this past weekend. It was popular for downtown Berkeley diners looking for a cheap spot to eat, serving Chinese-American classics like chow mein, potstickers and fried rice.

RIVETER CAFÉ After only about a year in operation, Solano Avenue’s Riveter Café, which served American comfort food dishes has closed. A notice posted on both the restaurant’s window and Facebook page reads: “Riveter Café is closed until further notice. We are so grateful to our customers, vendors and employees who made it all possible. Our sincere apologies. Thank you for all your support!”

SUSHI KO On Feb. 21, Sushi Ko, an affordable sushi and bento box restaurant, closed. A sign on its window read: “We are appreciate [sic] your support in our past long term operation. We wish the new business will gives [sic] different joyful experience to our local customers. … We will miss you!” In its place will open a fried chicken wing and beer restaurant called Fire Wings.

TAKE 5 CAFÉ After less than four years on South Berkeley’s Sacramento Street, the family-run café has closed. Take 5 was a much-loved neighborhood hangout that offered not only coffee from Bicycle Coffee roasters, but also a varied lineup of breakfast and lunch items like bacon and egg sandwiches, panini and salads. It also served dollar scoops of ice cream as well as larger sweet creations like a cold brew and coffee ice cream shake.

Coming soon

Guacamole 61 at Epicurious Gardens. Photo: Nancy Rubin

GUACAMOLE 61 The popular Gourmet Ghetto Mexican restaurant is expanding to downtown, according to the Daily Cal. It will be opening in the former Alborz space, serving up its menu of street-style tacos, enchiladas, burritos and tortas. The new Guacamole 61 will, however, be geared towards the college crowd with music, sports on televisions, a full bar and an expanded menu with additional street food items.

POMPETTE Set to open any day now in the former Café Rouge space is Pompette, which is picking up where its predecessor left off, with friendly, ingredient-driven cuisine and an accessible wine bar. David and Caramia Visick (Chez Panisse, Bay Wolf, Oliveto) are behind the new restaurant. 1782 Fourth St. (at Delaware), BerkeleyWebsite / Instagram


Ding Japanese Cuisine. Photo: @seanyodarouse/Twitter


DING A Japanese restaurant has opened in what was previously the Claremont Diner. Menu items include a long list of sushi rolls, nigiri and sashimi, as well as noodle bowls, teriyaki, chicken katsu and salads. Ding’s interior has gotten a shiny makeover with plenty of stainless steel and wood accents. Both sushi counter and table seating are available. 6200 Claremont Ave. (at College), OaklandERIC’S PIZZA BURGERS Yes, this new restaurant serves just what it advertises — burgers sandwiched between small pizzas. Eric’s Pizza Burgers opened recently on International Boulevard right next to Lake Merritt. It is only open Monday-Wednesday, so plan accordingly if this is something you’ve just got to try. 209 International Blvd. (at Second), Oakland Website / Facebook

Photo: Federation Brewing/Facebook

FEDERATION BREWING TAPROOM It has taken nearly two years, but Federation Brewing has finally opened, as of March 25. Federation has been contract brewing while it has been working on the taproom; it currently makes an IPA, a stout and a blonde ale. 420 3rd St. (between Franklin and Broadway)Website / Facebook / TwitterKURED Paul Canales has launched a new fast-casual sandwich and salad spot in the Duende Bodega. Open exclusively for lunch Wednesdays through Fridays, Kured focuses on Canales’s housemade sausage sandwiches, such as boudin blanc (pork sausage made with caramelized onions and warm spices, served with carrot caraway slaw and apple compote) and merguez (lamb sausage made with harissa and topped with bread and butter relish). Other sandwich options include crispy chicken and “Pork-Betta.” Beer and wine are also available, in addition to soda, coffee and house-made tonics. 468 19th St. (at Broadway), OaklandWebsiteLA CHATA TAQUERIA A new taqueria has opened in the original Kamdesh location in downtown Oakland. According to Hoodline, La Chata offers Halal meats and serves dishes like chile colorado as well as traditional taqueria items. 346 14th St. (at Webster), OaklandLADY ESTHER’S A new soul food restaurant has opened in the former Crossburgers space in downtown Oakland, reports the East Bay Express. The new Lady Esther’s is a homage to a restaurant of the same name that was a favorite soul food spot for Oaklander’s in the later part of the 20th century. The original Esther’s daughter, Deimentrius Clay, is now running the show, serving specialities like fried chicken, smothered oxtails, po’boys and fried catfish, all with a bit of Louisiana flavor. 300 Frank Ogawa Plaza (at Telegraph), Oakland

LocoL Bakery. Photo: Courtesy of LocoL

LOCOL BAKERY Today, Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson’s LocoL Bakery opened up in West Oakland. The bakery takes over the old Tomm’s Bar-B-Q & Deli space, and it offers super affordable but high-quality fare — think $1 “bunnz” (like an English muffin) paired with a $1 cup of coffee. 3446 Market St. (at 35th), OaklandWebsiteFacebook / Twitter / InstagramOLD KAN BEER & CO The James Syhabout-Adam Lamoreaux brewery project opened March 1 in the former Linden Street space in West Oakland. Lamoreaux, the former head brewer for Linden, is heading up beer production, and will focus on classic beer styles. Syhabout is working on the food menu, which includes dishes like a hot “chicken-fried” portobello sandwich and crispy jerk chicken wings. 95 Linden St. (near Third), OaklandWebsite / FacebookTwitter / InstagramPOKE ZONE Yet another poke restaurant has opened, this time in Oakland’s Chinatown. In addition to build-your-own poke bowls, Poke Zone offers sushi rolls, donburi bowls, miso soup and bubble tea. (H/T Hoodline). 329 11th St. (between Webster and Harrison), OaklandFacebook / Instagram


Chick and Tea. Photo: Emilie Raguso

CHICK AND TEA Sadly, we’ve now learned that the Taiwanese fried chicken restaurant Chick and Tea closed back in February. According to a Facebook post, the owner is currently looking for a new location. The pop-up breakfast sandwich restaurant Cracked, meanwhile, has moved over to Blackwater Station.

DOUGHNUT DOLLY Less than two weeks after closing the Berkeley location of Doughnut Dolly, owner Hannah Hoffman shuttered her remaining two locations in Temescal and San Francisco. Hoffman told Nosh that she had been struggling to find a new kitchen in which to make her doughnuts, and that the San Francisco location had turned out to be a money pit. She may return with pop-ups in the future, but has no solid plans to do so at the moment.

KORYO KOREAN BBQ Also in Temescal, Koryo Korean BBQ has closed. Hoodline had the scoop, speculating that poor service played a part in the restaurant’s closure. It is the end of an era for the restaurant, which was previously owned by Micha Oh, who went on to open Ohgane and whose daughters run the successful Bowl’d chain of restaurants.

LONGITUDE OAKLAND After over three years in downtown Oakland, Longitude has closed. The ambitious tiki bar and restaurant boasted ornate decor, a totally retro menu and plenty of (very) strong cocktails. Owner Susan Long wrote on Facebook that “you haven’t seen the last of me yet,” so there may be plans in the works for a new venture.

SPACE BURGER Uptown’s Space Burger’s time has come to a close, reports Hoodline. The retro-themed drive-through burger joint was always on limited time; its lot is slated to become a high-rise development.

Coming soon

Arthur Mac’s Tap & Snack. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Arthur Mac’s Tap & Snack. Photo: Emilie Raguso

ARTHUR MAC’S TAP AND SNACK Arthur Mac’s, a family-friend beer garden and fast casual restaurant from Farm League Management Group (Westbrae Biergarten, East Bay Spice Company), is getting its final touches this month. Its owners have been waiting for sunny weather to finish up construction — if luck holds, it will open up very soon near the MacArthur BART station. 4006 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at 40th), OaklandWebsite / Facebook / Twitter / InstagramMOCKINGBIRD The new iteration of Oakland’s Mockingbird is set to open any day now. According to Tablehopper, the restaurant will continue to serve its seasonal California twist on bistro cuisine, with dishes like its popular fried Brussels sprouts, duck liver mousse with local strawberry jam, and steak frites, on the menu. At this location, Mockingbird has managed to secure a full liquor license, so it’ll serve classic cocktails as well as local beer and wines. Dinner will be full service, while lunch will offer quick counter service. 416 13th St. (at Franklin), OaklandWebsite / Facebook / Twitter / InstagramSLÁINTE A new Irish pub is headed to Jack London Square as early as April 1, according to Eater. Pronounced “slahn-cha,” which is Gaelic for “cheers,” Sláinte will offer traditional Irish eats like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. Hopscotch’s Jenny Schwartz is planning the drinks menu, which will include classic cocktails in addition to Irish beer, cider and whiskey. 131 Broadway (at Second), Oakland Website / Facebook

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...