Redfield Cider Bar & Bottle Shop in Rockridge. Photo: Andria Lo/Redfield Cider Bar & Bottle Shop

THIS CIDER HOUSE RULES Redfield Cider Bar & Bottle Shop in Rockridge opened on Jan 6. Run by married couple Olivia Maki and Mike Reis, Redfield is a great place for cider newbs to get familiar with the variety of flavors that can be tapped from this boozy fermented apple drink, and for cider enthusiasts to taste the best and most interesting brews of what they already love. The bar serves ciders on tap, by the glass and as flights. There’s also beer and wine, and a menu of bar snacks, including cheese plates and kukus (Persian frittatas served cold). The bottle shop offers hundreds of ciders in bottles and cans to purchase to enjoy at home, or — if you can’t wait — at the bar (there is a $3-$5 corkage fee). This weekend, Redfield will host two days of grand opening parties, from noon to midnight, Saturday, Jan. 12, and noon to 11 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 13. Expect sips, snacks and to learn a thing or two about cider while you’re there. Redfield Cider Bar & Bottle Shop, 5815 College Ave. (at Oak Grove), Oakland

THAI IN ELMWOOD Taking the spot of short-lived Burger Joint in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood is Gai Barn, a new Thai restaurant that opened last week. The menu features soups, salads, noodle dishes, curries, wok-fried dishes and its house special, the Thai dish of the moment, khao mun gai, which it offers in three ways — poached (traditional), fried, or as a  combination, featuring poached, fried and BBQ-ed chicken. Gai Barn is open for lunch and dinner every day except Monday. Gai Barn, 2985 College Ave. (between Ashby and Webster), Berkeley

Gio’s Pizza and Bocce in downtown Berkeley closed after a little more than a year in business. Photo: Sarah Han

GOODBYE GIO’S Here’s one we missed in our December roundup of restaurant openings and closings: Gio’s Pizza and Bocce at 2420 Shattuck Ave. in downtown Berkeley has closed. A recorded message on the restaurant’s voicemail says Gio’s shuttered on Dec. 19. Although the message says the closure is “indefinite,” signs for leasing the building are now up on the storefront, wiping out any hopes that the restaurant might reopen. Gio’s opened in 2017, two years after a fire closed the former business, longtime family-friendly neighborhood spot, Giovanni Italian restaurant. When it opened, Gio’s was operated by Berkeley-based restaurant consulting and management team Farm League Restaurant Group (the group told Nosh it has not been involved with the restaurant since April 2018), which hoped to pay homage to the former business, while modernizing the place. The menu was pared down with a focus on pizza; a full bar served up craft beer and cocktails and there was even an indoor bocce court. But, reviews were mixed and, with the restaurant a little farther away from the downtown Berkeley epicenter, the restaurant never seemed to establish a steady customer base. Nosh reached out to Gio’s for more details about the closure but had not received comment at time of publication.

BURGERS FOR THE WIN Last October, the West Berkeley location of Farm Burger closed its doors, and not too long after, transitioned into a second location for Corte Madera’s Marin Pizza. Although Farm Burger is an Atlanta-based farm-to-table burger chain, its connection to the North Bay pizza restaurant is through Michael McGuan, a former Farm Burger operations manager who helped bring the chain to the West Coast and who now co-owns Marin Pizza with founder Tom Wyman. But it turns out Berkeley wasn’t feeling the change and wanted burgers back. The demand was so strong, the restaurant decided to pivot back to burgers. After a brief closure, Marin Pizza reopened last week as Berkeley Burgers. In an email to Nosh, Wyman said, “Super excited to bring burgers back to this location. We had literally hundreds of patrons make this plea…” Wyman added that as the restaurant had retained the chef from Farm Burger, Berkeley Burgers offers similar grass-fed beef burgers as before. The Berkeley Burgers menu offers four signature beef burgers, along with a chicken burger made with Petaluma free-range chicken, a vegan Impossible burger and a build-your-own burger option. There are also hot dogs. But it’s not abandoning pizza entirely. “We will also retain the custom-made farm fresh pizzas and salads,” Wyman wrote. Berkeley Burgers, 1313 Ninth St. (at Gilman), Berkeley

The Winter Grain Bowl at Mixt. Photo: Mixt

UP IN THE MIXT San Francisco salad chain Mixt is coming soon to Uptown Oakland. The new location will open on Jan. 19 and will be Mixt’s first foray into the East Bay, with another location coming soon to San Ramon. Expect salads, grain bowls and entrees made with sustainable and organic produce. The new location will also feature a kid’s menu, and offer beer and wine. On opening day, 12% of proceeds from purchases will go to West Oakland nonprofit City Slicker Farms, which helps nurture urban farms and gardens. Mixt will be open for lunch and dinner 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sundays. Mixt, 2290 Broadway (at 23rd), Oakland 

RED BAY AT RICHMOND FERRY TERMINAL Riders of the new Richmond-to-San Francisco ferry service (which starts running Thursday, Jan. 10), won’t have to worry about grabbing a coffee before embarking on their watery commute — Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee will park a mobile café at the Richmond Ferry Terminal to help commuters caffeinate and refresh. Founder Keba Konte told the San Francisco Business Times, “Richmond interests us because it shares the same spirit as the city of Oakland, a working-class city that has often been viewed as the underdog. It’s a developing city and we strive to be a part of that story.” The Richmond Ferry Terminal is located at the 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond.

H&J’s Restaurant, located on the border of El Cerrito/Richmond, is the sister restaurant of Inn Kensington. Photo: H&J’s Restaurant/Facebook

A FAMILY AFFAIR In 2013, a kitchen fire at Nibs Restaurant caused the popular diner on the border of El Cerrito and Richmond to close; the spot  remained vacant since then (the couple who owned Nibs can be found at Alex’s Giant Burger in San Pablo these days), but we got word that a new restaurant is opening in the space soon. H&J’s Restaurant will be operated by the family who runs the Inn Kensington Restaurant. On the H&J’s website, the new owners write, “Since 1993, our parents have owned and operated a family-style restaurant called the Inn Kensington Restaurant. 25 years later, us four siblings, as alumni of El Cerrito High School and Portola Middle School (now known as Fred T. Korematsu Middle School), are hoping to provide the El Cerrito and Richmond neighborhoods with the same sense of friendly and familial community in our food, service, and restaurant. We hope this location can serve as a place where people can enjoy a home-style meal with their friends and family, or a warm cup of coffee while reading their favorite book.” Although H&J’s hasn’t yet posted a menu, they point to Inn Kensington’s online menu featuring affordable breakfast foods, salads, soups, sandwiches and entrees for an idea of what type of fare to expect. H&J’s Restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., daily. An opening date has not yet been announced. (H/t: Eric Wong) H&J’s Restaurant, 10841 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito

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...