Waffles at Baker & Commons in Berkeley. Photo: Baker & Commons/Facebook



BAKER & COMMONS The previous home of Elmwood Café softly reopened this month as Baker & Commons. The new spot, owned and managed by Kara Hammond, serves up a very similar menu to Elmwood, but with a few less sandwich options. Soups, salads, sandwiches, sauces, dinner specials and bakery goods are made fresh daily and items like jam and soda syrup are always made in-house. The grand opening is scheduled for June 2 and will include live music from 6-8 p.m. Baker & Commons, 2900 College Ave. (between Ashby and Russell), Berkeley

Chicken sandwich at The Bird in Berkeley. Photo: The Bird/Facebook

THE BIRD On May 15, The Bird opened in Berkeley in the former home of The Melt on Telegraph Avenue. The eatery was opened by Blair Warsham and Adriano Paganini’s Back of the House restaurant group, which also runs Bay Area burger chain, Super Duper. The Bird’s menu includes its signature fried chicken sandwich, chicken biscuits, salads, hot wings and several side items, like curly fries. Beer by the can, cold brew coffee and homemade ice cream tacos are also available. The Bird, 2400 Telegraph Ave. (between Channing and Haste), BerkeleyCAFÉ REVEILLE At the end of April, Cafe Reveille opened its doors in Berkeley. The café is a smaller version of its Mission Bay location in San Francisco, but its menu mirrors its Lower Haight spot, where chef Juliet Orbach developed its food menu. Orbach’s sophisticated take on café eats showcase her penchant for California-Middle Eastern cuisine, with tons of fresh produce, pickles, merguez sausages and dishes like shakshuka appearing on the morning and afternoon menus. You’ll also find trendier dishes, like açaí and granola bowls, coconut chia pudding with nuts and fruit, but hearty and nourishing egg dishes, salads and sandwiches are where Orbach’s skills with building flavors with high-quality ingredients and flavorful seasonings really shine. The drink menu consists of coffee, beer and wine. Café Reveille is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Café Reveille, 760 Hearst Ave #200 (at 5th), Berkeley

DDC Café in Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

DDC CAFÉ Hong Kong fusion restaurant, Venus Café, quietly closed its third location in downtown Berkeley, reopening under new ownership as DDC Café. Short for Duck Duck Chicken Café, the eatery serves up a similar menu of Hong Kong and Szechuan cuisine. You’ll find Chinese standards like orange chicken, ma po tofu and sesame beef, along with popular Canto-Western dishes like cream mushroom chicken, pork chop with tomato sauce and curry chicken. On weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., DDC offers a lunch special for about $10, that includes one stir-fried dish, the daily soup, a choice of coffee, milk tea or lemon tea and white rice. Specialty boba drinks are also available. DDC Café, 2017 Shattuck Ave. (between Addison and University), BerkeleyFIRE WINGS May 24 saw the grand opening of the newest location of Sacramento-based chain Fire Wings in downtown Berkeley. Fire Wings specializes in — you guessed it —fried chicken wings. Diners choose from 20 sauce flavors of varying degrees of spiciness, including BBQ, Classic Teriyaki, Korean Kick, Lemon Pepper and Peanut Butter, and opt for chicken served as wings, boneless nuggets or as strips. An assortment of sides, like stuffed jalapeños, zucchini sticks and garlic noodles, can accompany your wings. There are also a few salad offerings, kids meals and family packs. Fire Wings, 64 Shattuck Sq. (between University and Addison), Berkeley 



A+ BURGER This new burger spot in North Oakland takes the place of Oaxacan restaurant, El Macho, which was only open for a few months last year. A+ offers 16 types of burgers, including a few with Asian flavors, such as the Korean BBQ Burger, the Menchi Katsu Burger and the Teriyaki Burger. There are also chicken, fish, and vegetarian patty options (including the Impossible Burger). Other menu items include fries, onion rings, pastries, hot sandwiches, rice or noodle bowls and salads. An outdoor patio is an inviting place to enjoy your burger on a warm day. Owner Tiffany Chung said she hopes to eventually offer beer, but for now, it’s BYOB. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. A+ Burger,6228 Telegraph Ave. (at 63rd), OaklandATHLETIC CLUB OAKLAND Uptown got a new sports bar, with the opening of Athletic Club Oakland, which took the place of Izzy’s Steak and Chop House. Owners Ezra Berman and Miles Palliser also own San Francisco Athletic Club and Lord George across the bay. Parisa O’Connell Interior Design helped transform the space, using reclaimed bleacher wood, basketball court floor, trophy cases and other sports accouterment to create an upscale “classic meets contemporary boxing club vibe.” Sports fans will find 40 screens and 20 “sound zones” (to allow for multiple athletic events to be shown at once, without the sound from one game interfering another). The bar offers a variety of seating for both large and small groups, including reservable leather booths or private skyboxes on the bar’s upper level. The bar menu features a dozen draft beers, eight draft wines and a changing selection of 10 cocktails, including a boozy “Slushie du Jour.” For eats, there are burgers, sandwiches, salads, nachos and chicken wings. Unlike many sports bars, Athletic Club offers a few options for vegan and gluten-free eaters. The Athletic Club Oakland, 59 Grand Ave. (at Webster), Oakland QUEEN’S CAJUN SEAFOOD Queen’s Cajun Seafood opened for business in East Oakland on May 1. The menu offers a variety of seafood served in a variety of dishes, including entrees of fried, grilled or blackened shrimp, tilapia, catfish or oysters; boiled crawfish and Dungeness crab; fresh oysters; jambalaya; po boys; gumbo and other Cajun-inspired preparations. There are a few non-seafood offerings, including the fried alligator, Knock Out Neck (turkey neck stew served with garlic bread) and sriracha chicken wings. The eatery already has a 5-star Yelp rating with reviewers commenting on the friendly service and large portions. Queen’s Cajun Seafood, 2211 International Blvd (at 22nd), Oakland

Heritage Burger at Roam Artisan Burgers in Oakland. Photo: Roam Artisan Burgers/Facebook

ROAM ARTISAN BURGERS On May 11, SF-based chain Roam Artisan Burgers opened in Uptown, its fifth location in the Bay Area. The menu resembles its other locations, offering burgers made with 100% grass-fed beef, free-range turkey, all-natural bison, an organic veggie burger or elk as a seasonal offering. Roam also offers seasonal menu items, like a Springtime Burger (topped with chimichurri, mozzarella, tomato, arugula, mayo). The drink menu includes Straus Family Creamery milkshakes, local brews, house-made sodas, wine and kombucha on tap. Roam Artisan Burgers, 1951 Telegraph Avenue (William and Thomas L. Berkley), Oakland


AUTHENTIC BAGEL CO. Earlier this year, Jack London Square’s Authentic Bagel Co. (463 Second St.) closed temporarily while it sought investors. A lengthy note was posted in the restaurant’s window explaining that the spot was having trouble due to operational costs. Hoodline reported that the business has apparently permanently closed this month. While no official comments have been made by the owner, it can be assumed the closed doors are the culmination of the cost issues.

BROWN SUGAR KITCHEN Tanya Holland’s popular soul food spot closed its doors this month, but don’t worry, it’s only temporary. As Eater reported, the West Oakland restaurant (2534 Mandela Parkway) closed on May 18, but will reopen on June 6 as a “test kitchen” for Holland’s new Brown Sugar restaurants in Uptown Oakland and the San Francisco Ferry Building. When it reopens, the OG location will be the site of ticketed pop-up dinners on Wednesday nights, where Holland will try out new dishes for the upcoming Uptown relocation. Then, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, she’ll offer ready-made fare and counter service in preparation for the Ferry Building outpost. The two new Brown Sugar locations are slated to open this summer.

Courtyard at Cock-A-Doodle Cafe in Oakland. Photo: Cock-A-Doodle/Facebook

COCK-A-DOODLE CAFÉ Over in Old Oakland, the breakfast and lunch spot, Cock-A-Doodle Café (719 Washington St.), closed for business this month. Hoodline reports that the space is now undergoing renovations in preparation for reopening as a pizzeria.

CRAFT & SPOON After less than a year in business, Oakland’s Craft & Spoon (1629 Broadway) closed on May 18. Owner and Chef Charleen Caabay announced the closure via Instagram, explaining that the problem was rising property costs. Caabay intends to remain in the food business and hints that new projects are in the works.

OLD BROOKLYN BAGELS & DELI Old Brooklyn Café & Bakery’s sister location, Old Brooklyn Bagels & Deli (6000 College Ave.), closed this month in Rockridge. Old Brooklyn CEO Richard Le told Nosh that the company decided not to renew its lease due to low sales in the area, as well as increased rent, labor and food costs. Hoodline reports that Albany’s Oori Foods will be opening in the space in the coming weeks.

Tia Maria Cafe in Oakland. Photo: Tia Maria Cafe/Facebook

TIA MARIA CAFÉ After 15 years of operation, Tia Maria Café  (1221 Broadway) closed its doors this month in downtown Oakland. A sign was posted in the window thanking and bidding farewell to its customers, but no explanation for its closure was given.


DA NANG Earlier this month, Da Nang reopened its doors in Albany. The restaurant was originally established in 1983, then sold in 2005 and has now reopened in the same location by the original owners. The eatery specializes in Vietnamese cuisine and offers items such as pho, bun bo hue and miquang. Unfortunately, the owners had to return to Vietnam for a family emergency so the restaurant is currently closed until June 3. Da Nang, 905 San Pablo Ave. (between Buchanan and Washington), AlbanyHOMETOWN HEROES The sports bar Hometown Heroes opened this month in the former home of Propaganda in Emeryville. The bar is run by the same owners of South San Francisco’s Hometown Heroes and San Francisco’s Trademark & Copyright. Along with drinks from the bar, guests can enjoy Filipino recipes from the kitchen as the pop-up Likha, which opened this month within the sports bar. According to E’ville Eye, Likha’s menu offers traditional and modern takes on Filipino cuisine including adobo fried rice, longanisa and a Spam burger. Its official grand opening is scheduled for June 1, when the restaurant will be open every day for dinner. Hometown Heroes, 4000 Adeline St. (between 40th and 41st), Emeryville 

Park Street Tavern in Alameda. Photo: Park Street Tavern/Facebook

PARK STREET TAVERN At the end of April, Park Street Tavern soft opened in Alameda. The eatery draws inspiration from Greek and Italian cuisine and offers a selection of pastas and entrees such as braised beef short ribs and veal scallopini. The dining room is open 5-9 p.m., Sunday, Tuesday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. Park Street Tavern, 1901 Park St. (between Blanding and Clement), Alameda

Hailey Johnson is a senior at UC Berkeley studying English. She studied film at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before transferring to Cal. She now works as a blogger for The Daily Californian...