Chef-owner Preeti Mistry at Navi Kitchen in Emeryville. Photo: Elazar Sontag

G’BYE NAVI KITCHEN Over the weekend, Preeti Mistry and Ann Nadeau quietly closed their one-year-old Emeryville restaurant, Navi Kitchen (5000 Adeline St.). They announced the closure via Instagram on July 1, in a note which thanked customers for their patronage and explained: “We’ve decided to close and move on to other things in our lives.” The note also spoke of the money that Navi Kitchen raised for local nonprofit organizations through the sales of various dishes — Destiny Arts from sales of tikka masala mac & cheese, Planting Justice from sales of daily calzone and Black Lives Matter, via sales of solidarity soup. Mistry has been an outspoken advocate for social justice issues and since opening Navi Kitchen, has supported and brought awareness to issues and causes through and at the restaurant.

Navi Kitchen was Mistry and Nadeau’s second East Bay restaurants — they also closed their popular Juhu Beach Club in Temescal in January. Although Navi Kitchen had won fans for its Indian-spiced pizzas, breakfast sandwiches and other offerings, the café seemed to struggle with finding a steady audience in the Emeryville Triangle neighborhood. What started as an all-day café stopped serving weekday breakfast to try dinner. But the dinner crowd never came, so Navi brought back breakfast and scrapped dinner. After Juhu closed, Mistry was at  Navi Kitchen more often, and had told Nosh in January that was excited to experiment with the offerings at the new restaurant. She and Nadeau also hosted pop-ups, including a recent Sunday Dinner event in May. At the time, she said “we will be doing more dinners like this at Navi in the coming months.” Sadly, those will never come to be. Nosh reached out to Mistry and Nadeau to find out what happened to spur the closure at Navi Kitchen and what the couple have planned next.

Winning posters of Zachary’s art contest are found on the walls of all four locations. Photo: Zachary’s Chicago Pizza
Winning posters of Zachary’s art contest are found on the walls of all four locations. Photo: Zachary’s Chicago Pizza

THE ART OF PIZZA In 1983, a couple from Wisconsin — Zach Zachowski and Barbara Gabel — opened a Chicago-style deep dish pizza restaurant in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood. They called it Zachary’s. It was a huge success, and a year later, they opened a second location on Solano Avenue in Berkeley. Aside from the tomato-and-cheese laden gut-busting pizza, fans were drawn to the strong sense of community that the restaurant fostered through fundraisers for local schools and nonprofits, and through a recurring art contest, where customers could illustrate their love for the pizzeria. The winning works of art hang on the walls at all Zachary’s locations.

In 2003, the founding couple sold the restaurant to employees when they retired, but Zachary’s has remained an East Bay favorite and has stayed true to its community roots by continuing to raise money for local causes. This year, as the restaurant turns the big 3-5, Zachary’s is throwing a fundraiser to benefit the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano. Beginning today, July 3, and ongoing through the summer, Zachary’s will sell pieces from its art collection — more than 300 silly, weird and wonderful works of art that pay homage to Zachary’s pies. Pieces will be sold at $100 per work, with an additional charge for framing. Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, 5801 College Ave., Oakland. Also 1853 Solano Ave., Berkeley; 140 Crescent Dr., Pleasant Hill; and 3110 Crow Canyon Place, San Ramon

CINNAHOLIC DAY Attention cinnamon roll addicts, you’ll want to mark July 17, aka Cinnaholic Day, on your calendar. On that day, from noon to 4 p.m., the vegan cinnamon roll shop, which first opened in Berkeley in 2010 and now has 25 locations around the United States and Canada, will be selling its old-skool (aka standard) rolls for $1 each. The special offer is limited to one per customer per visit, which might mean that super fans will need to visit a few times that day. A portion of proceeds will benefit Best Friends Animal Society. Cinnaholic, 2132 Oxford (near Center), Berkeley

[Updated July 10 with new opening date] FREE HALAL GUYS On July 27, NY-based gyro and falafel chain Halal Guys will open its newest East Bay location in Uptown Oakland with a day of freebies. On opening day, the first 50 customers in line will receive a complimentary platter with their choice of gyro, chicken or falafel. If you’re not one of the first 50 and you have time (and patience) to wait in line, you may want to stay put because the first 1000 guests will be treated to Halal Guys shwag and free fries, baklava and drinks. Halal Guys opens at 10 a.m. and the restaurant is encouraging fans to get there early. The Halal Guys, 2214 Broadway St. (at West Grand), Oakland

Caldo di Peidra, a pre-Hispanic seafood stew from Oaxaca, cooks ingredients in a bowl made from a gourd using heated river stones. Photo: Calavera

ROCK ON, CALAVERA Old meets new when Oakland’s Calavera brings a taste of pre-Hispanic Oaxaca to Uptown. On July 8 and 9, the restaurant will host a pop-up dinner with Caldo de Piedra, a restaurant from Oaxaca that specializes in traditional Chinatecan cuisine. For the pop-up, Caldo de Piedra will be serving its namesake signature dish, a soup made with fish and other seafood, tomato, and seasonings like epazote, garlic, chiles and cilantro, brought to boil in a gourd using hot river rocks. The Calavera-Caldo de Piedra dinner will feature an appetizer, stone soup and a choice of dessert. Tickets are $60. Calavera, 2337 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th), Oakland

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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...