Vegan fast-casual restaurant chain Veggie Grill serves salads, bowls, sandwiches and more. Photo: Veggie Grill/Facebook

SO IT VEGAN Last summer, Nosh reported that Marugame Udon was taking over the Copy Central space at 48 Shattuck Sq. Well, that deal fell through, but we just got confirmation yesterday that a restaurant has signed a lease for the space. Veggie Grill, a popular vegan fast-casual restaurant chain is opening its second East Bay location in Berkeley.

Veggie Grill originally opened in 2006 in Southern California, in the city of Irvine. It now has locations throughout California (including Walnut Creek, Corte Madera, San Jose and Mountain View in the Bay Area), as well as Oregon, Washington and Illinois.

The chain is a hit with vegans and non-vegans alike for its expansive offering of salads, soups, sandwiches and other comfort foods that are completely free of animal products. Those abstaining from meat, eggs and dairy, but who miss comforting dishes from their non-vegan past, will find plenty to satisfy their cravings. Many of the dishes use meat and dairy alternatives, like the Beyond Burger (a soy-free and gluten-free plant-based burger from Beyond Meat) and Gardein Chicken (a faux chicken product made with GMO-free soybeans, wheat, peas and grains) in dishes like its Lucky Star Burger and Southern spicy fried chicken. For those who aren’t so keen on fake meat there are dishes like the Quinoa Power Salad, Rustic Farm Bowl and Masala Bowl that rely on vegetables and grains to pack a punch, rather than meat substitutes.

A representative from Veggie Grill told Nosh that the restaurant is currently working out details of its construction schedule, but the chain’s website says to expect the Berkeley location up and running by summer. Veggie Grill will be at 48 Shattuck Sq. (at University), Berkeley

Kronnerburger on Piedmont Avenue. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

BURGER DOWN Over in North Oakland, Kronnerburger is currently closed from a fire that started in its kitchen last week. According to the East Bay Times, a pot left on the stove at the restaurant caught fire at 7:40 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22. Kronnerburger was not open nor were employees present at the time. The blaze was put out by firefighters, but unfortunate

We contacted Kronnerburger owner Chris Kronner who confirmed the restaurant is still closed from the kitchen fire, as they are “waiting for insurance so we can make repairs.” Kronnerburger, 4063 Piedmont Ave. (at 41st), Oakland

Angelo and Rosa D’Alo of Agrodolce. Photo: Kate Williams
Angelo and Rosa D’Alo of Agrodolce. Photo: Kate Williams

BERKELEY, ITALY Angelo D’Alo, chef-owner of Agrodolce in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto shared some exciting news with Nosh today. Italian television network Magnolia will be filming an episode of its reality television show Big Little Italy (on Magnolia) at the restaurant on Sunday, March 4. For the show, Agrodolce — which specializes in Sicilian cuisine — will be pitted against two other Bay Area Italian restaurants opened by immigrants from Italy. The competitors will be judged by how well they represent Italian culture through three dishes they’ll prepare on the day of filming.

D’Alo already knows two of the dishes he’ll be making on Sunday — swordfish rolls stuffed with breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest and Caciocavalo (a stretched curd cheese from Southern Italy) and paccheri allá Norma, a classic Sicilian dish of pasta with fried eggplant with tomato basil sauce and ricotta salata. The third dish will be a surprise chosen by the Big Little Italy host that he’ll announce at the restaurant on Sunday.

At this time, D’Alo does not yet know what two restaurants he’ll be competing against for the show, but will know next Wednesday, as the film crew will return to the winning restaurant that day. On Sunday, filming will occur all day, including during regular dining hours starting at 5 p.m. D’Alo said customers will be welcome to dine at Agrodolce that night. The Agrodolce episode of Big Little Italy will air at the end of April on Magnolia, and will also stream online.  Agrodolce, 730 Shattuck Ave. (at Francisco), Berkeley

Sarah Han was the editor of Nosh from 2017 to 2021. Previously, she worked as an editor at The Bold Italic, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. In 2020, Sarah won SPJ NorCal's...