BSK IS BACK Oakland got its sugar back. Brown Sugar Kitchen, that is. Today is opening day at the new flagship location of Tanya Holland’s popular soul food restaurant in Uptown Oakland. We stopped in this morning to check out the digs, a bright and comfortable 4,000-square-foot space with seats for 85 diners, including red banquettes and chairs skirting the wrap-around bar. With word just getting out about the restaurant’s opening, we were able to slip right in and grab a table for a plate of Holland’s signature buttermilk fried chicken and cornmeal waffles — that will likely be more difficult in the coming days.
Holland’s original 10-year-old West Oakland restaurant permanently shuttered last August. She told Eater she closed the spot because of challenges of the location — frequent building repairs, maintenance and petty crime in the area started to wear her down. But the chef has not had even a moment’s breather since then. In November, she debuted a menu of beer-friendly bites for Floodcraft Taproom, a bar inside Oakland’s Whole Foods; also that month, the Oakland International Airport announced she’d be joining 16 other East Bay food purveyors to feed hungry travelers (that location will open in fall). And most recently, on Feb. 11, she opened a San Francisco Brown Sugar Kitchen at the Ferry Building, a counter-service spot that was immediately flooded with her fans across the bay. Today, at the Oakland BSK, she could be seen in the kitchen, calling out orders ready for pick-up, keeping a close eye on the flow of things and greeting excited diners.
At this time, Brown Sugar Kitchen is open for breakfast and lunch (starting at 11:30 a.m.), offering favorites like the aforementioned chicken and waffles, oyster po-boys, BBQ shrimp and grits, beignets and the rest of Holland’s comforting favorites. Dinner service will likely start later this spring, but the full-service bar pours wine, beer and cocktails all day. Brown Sugar Kitchen’s current hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Brown Sugar Kitchen, 2295 Broadway, Oakland
SUPER DUPER NEWS As Nosh reported last August, Emeryville is getting its own Super Duper. The burger chain, operated by San Francisco’s Back of the House restaurant group, will make its Public Market debut on Monday, Feb. 25. As with its other restaurants, the new location will serve its menu of burgers, sandwiches, fries, soft serve and shakes. However, according to Back of the House marketing manager Jonathan Banasky it will not serve breakfast, “at least for now.” Super Duper will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Super Duper Burgers, Public Market Emeryville, 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville
SPENGER’S TREASURES Over the weekend, the last of the memorabilia, collectibles and rare items from the Spenger’s Fish Grotto collection went up for auction at Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland. Two of the more intriguing items were sold on Sunday. The eight-foot Japanese vase from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, which was thought lost until it was rediscovered among the Spenger’s collection, sold for $135,000 to a private collector in New York. And the 34.29-carat, canary yellow diamond known as The Star of Denmark, which was on display at a bar in the restaurant, sold for a whopping $519,500!
CASSAVE BERKELEY Emeryville taqueria Cassave is opening a new location in Berkeley in the former 44 Restaurant, Bar & Lounge. The original Cassave at 5412 San Pablo Ave. — a dependable go-to for Salvadoran and Mexican fare like chilaquiles and other breakfast dishes, pupusas, tacos and burritos — will be joined by the second location as soon as the end of the month. Cassave will be at 3290 Adeline St. (at Alcatraz), Berkeley
DOWNTOWN COFFEE Berkeley’s 1951 Coffee Company is now serving drinks at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza. The third location for the nonprofit that trains, employs and supports refugees, is a freestanding kiosk created by Berkeley design firm Montaag. It should come as no surprise that this mini café’s target audience is commuters; more than 20,000 people pass through the plaza on a daily basis. The kiosk serves coffee and espresso drinks from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. 1951 Coffee Company kiosk, 2160 Shattuck Ave. (between Center and Addison), Berkeley
SWAN’S DEBUT Berkeley’s Cupcakin’ Bake Shop is opening this Friday, Feb. 22, at Swan’s Market in Old Oakland. This is a second location for the gourmet cupcake shop owned by Lila Owens, following a newly relocated store on Telegraph Avenue, and another to come this summer at the old Virginia Bakery in the Gourmet Ghetto, which will serve as the commissary kitchen for all three locations. The Swan’s Market location, in the former Hen House space, is Cupcakin’s first foray into Oakland, although as Owens told Nosh last year, many of her friends and family who live there have been long-anticipating the expansion. Customers will find up to a dozen cupcake varieties at Swan’s, including vegan and gluten-free options, along with Oakland-exclusive flavors. The new outpost is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Cupcakin’ Bake Shop, Swan’s Market, 538 Ninth St. (between Washington and Clay), Oakland
A GRAND PARTNERSHIP Since last year, Oakland’s kosher Grand Bakery has been dabbling in bagels, and this month, owner Sam Tobis got a new partner in crime to help him with his “holey” project. According to J., Jason Scott, who formerly ran Authentic Bagel Company in Jack London Square with his brother Mark, has joined the operation. Using a combination of recipes derived from Scott’s Jewish grandmother and recipes found online using a sourdough starter, Scott has tweaked the Grand Bakery bagel recipe into one that he says is a better product with a better crust. Try for yourself at one of Grand Bakery’s monthly bagel pop-ups (the next one is on March 3), or starting next month, by buying a bag (available in four flavors — plain, sesame seed, poppy seed and everything) at various retail locations around the Bay Area. Grand Bakery bagel pop-ups are at The Food Mill, 3033 MacArthur Ave. (near Maple), Oakland
JUICY UPDATES Several readers have contacted us about recent changes at Berkeley’s Juice Bar Collective. For one, the well-loved juice, smoothie and lunch institution in the Gourmet Ghetto has rolled back its hours. Once open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, it’s now open until 2 p.m. Another notable change, it’s no longer serving its famous roast turkey sandwiches nor its tofu banh mi, but you’ll still find a daily vegan soup, rotating seasonal salads, hot casserole dishes and a veggie burger and egg salad sandwich on its savory menu. The Juice Bar Collective has been worker-owned and operated since 1976, and some customers were concerned that the collective has shrunk to a staff of three. According to Juice Bar members, several employee-owners have left the collective to pursue new careers. The remaining staff say that although the collective changes mean they’re busier, the business is doing fine. The Juice Bar Collective, 2114 Vine St. (between Shattuck and Walnut), Berkeley