TEMESCAL GETS SAUCY After nearly two years on Telegraph Avenue (at 40th), Mediterranean Express, née Pita Pocket, has closed. Nosh noticed brown paper in the windows and a sign for a new restaurant to come called Saucy. Founded in 2015 by Jenni Nguyen and Tony Pham Ngo, Saucy Oakland has operated as a catering and pop-up venture focusing on modern Pan-Asian plates, including signature dishes like hamachi shooters, braised beef ribs with Parmesan cauliflower puree and steamed pork belly bao. For the past four years, a brick-and-mortar restaurant has always been their goal, but the duo has been using their experience as a mobile vendor to their advantage, recipe testing and tweaking their most popular dishes served at festivals, catering gigs and pop-ups at Oakland eateries like Anfilo Coffee and Communitē Table. At the restaurant, Saucy will feature these dishes to go along with premium sakes. The owners target a September opening. Saucy Oakland, 3932 Telegraph Ave. (at 40th), OaklandFRIENDLY VENTURE A new bar-café is coming soon to North Oakland in the space last occupied by Bar 41 (and Café Underwood, before that) on 41st Street (near Broadway). Café Encina is from Oakland-natives and small business owners, Julia and Terry Sok-Wolfson (Qulture Collective, Aburaya) and Seanathan Chow (Oakland Bloom), who on Instagram, describe their project as “a friendly work and hangout environment” where they’ll serve “great coffee, snacks and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) to an already awesome neighborhood.” Nosh has made repeated attempted to contact the trio for more information, but they’ve remained mum. Instead, the owners have posted a sign at the café urging curious folks like us to check their Instagram account for hints of what’s to come, which so far, has featured some promising Portuguese and Spanish bar bites (including vegan and gluten-free options) and spirits like vermouth and mezcal, which they plan to highlight in cocktails at Encina. The owners aim for a soft opening in the coming days. Café Encina, 308 41st St., (near Broadway), Oakland
‘CHOKE’S UP The first of several new East Bay franchise locations of New York chain Artichoke Basille’s Pizza is now up and running, albeit in soft launch mode. (Artichoke Basille’s first foray on the West Coast started in 2013, when franchisee Jim Trevor brought the brand to Durant Avenue in the Southside neighborhood of Berkeley.) A new Oakland pizzeria opened its doors last Wednesday for evening hours in the space long occupied by Lanesplitter Pizza, with a menu offering seven different slices (including its signature Artichoke pizza with spinach and cream sauce, artichoke hearts, and mozzarella and pecorino cheeses) for $5.50-$6, salads, meatballs and ricotta, a meatball sandwich and cheesy breadsticks. Although the location boasts a full bar, for now, beer, wine and non-alcohol drinks are available; cocktails are on the way, as well as expanded hours, in the coming weeks. A representative for the restaurant told Nosh the Oakland location will celebrate its official grand opening Aug. 24. Artichoke Basille, 4799 Telegraph Ave. (at 48th), Oakland EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND’S In June, Point Richmond welcomed a new pizza joint called Raymond’s Pizzeria. Its owners — Brad Staba, a former pro skater and Nathan Trivers, who’s behind Richmond’s rugby-inspired Up & Under Pub and Grill — have an irreverent sense of humor about their new business. A neon sign in the window at Raymond’s advertises “Free time travel consultations” and an Instagram post announcing the pizzeria’s opening jokingly included the hashtags “#whocares #justaboveaveragepizzainjectedtoanareawithshitpizza.” Jokes aside, Raymond’s is getting serious love from Richmond residents for its New York-style thin-crust pies and square pan pizzas, as well as its noteworthy drink selection of Russian River beers (including Pliny the Elder), Fieldwork and Duvel on tap; cans of White Claw hard seltzers and… 40-oz bottles of the “Champagne of Beers,” Miller High Life. Raymond’s is currently open 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Tuesday. Raymond’s Pizzeria, 130 Railroad Ave. (at West Richmond), Richmond
FAVA IS OPEN Last week, the Gourmet Ghetto welcomed Fava, the new lunchtime deli and juice bar run by former Chez Panisse chefs, Sylvia Osborne-Calierno and Jeremy Scheiblauer. Nosh stopped by Monday around noon, along with several other hopeful diners who learned — the hard way — that Fava’s hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday (At the time, Fava’s hours were not yet posted anywhere; they are now). Osborne-Calierno happened to be inside, so we spoke with her about the first week of business, which she said was “pretty rock and roll.”
So far, customers are digging Fava’s lamb sandwich, made with braised lamb, red cabbage, fresh herbs and yogurt on a housemade flatbread. (Originally, Fava planned to source the flatbreads from Reem’s, but there was a last-minute change of plans; Osborne-Calierno said they might work with the Fruitvale Arab bakery in other ways). A vegetarian flatbread sandwich comes with beet greens, feta and eggplant. Because the breads are made in-house, sandwiches are limited to 50 a day, and last week Fava was selling out of them as early as 11:45 a.m. Menu items change with the season, but will include seasonal salads, a vegetable side dish, a cookie, and refreshments like mango lassi, hibiscus lemonade and other fresh-squeezed and pressed juices. Fava, 2114 Vine St., (between Walnut and Shattuck), Berkeley[Updated 11:20 a.m.] DARK ROASTER The lights have been off at Berkeley’s Algorithm Coffee Co. Berkeleyside reader Tom Shugart sent us a tip that the café at 1122 University Ave. has been dark for the past few days; on Monday, Nosh went by the café during regular business hours and confirmed it was closed. We have been unable to reach owner Aaron Hubbard about whether or not the café will reopen. After this story was published, another reader, who wanted to remain anonymous, said Algorithm was clearing out last night. “This morning it’s closed and virtually empty. Looks like they are shutting down for good.”
NEW CHEF AT DYAFA Last week, Eater reported that Jack London Square restaurant Dyafa has brought on a new chef consultant, now that Reem Assil has left the partnership with chef Daniel Patterson and his Alta Group. Palestinian-American chef Mona Leena has stepped into the role. Leena has previous experience at San Francisco restaurants, like Jardiniere and Serpentine, but for the past few years, has focused on cuisine celebrating her cultural roots. She is co-founder and chef at a catering and events company called Shuk Shuka that highlights Middle Eastern fare with a modern twist, and started her own pop-up called Fallaha Dining, where she marries her experience in cooking California cuisine with her passion for Palestinian food. As the new consultant at Dyafa, Leena told Eater her role will be “more refinement, education, and modernizing the menu a bit celebrating California’s bounty more, having a more seasonally-driven menu, and bringing in different cuisines to influence/develop a little more beyond simply traditional Palestinian fare.” Dyafa, 44 Webster St, Oakland HOSPITALITY PLUS The owners of Friends and Family, an upcoming Uptown Oakland watering hole, say they want visitors to feel like restaurant industry VIP. Blake Cole and Kimberly Rosselle have an impressive CV, having bartended and managed at Bay Area hot spots like Holy Mountain, Itani Ramen, Tosca, Trick Dog, Flora and Doña Tomás; while chef Christa Chase, who will create the bar’s food menu, is currently executive chef at Tartine Manufactory and has worked in the kitchens at Oliveto, Duende and Pizzaiolo. Friends and Family is currently in construction, but the principals estimate a late November opening. If the photos posted on the Friends and Family Instagram account are any indication of what’s to come, it’ll be a pretty hip and stylish affair. Friends and Family will be at 468 25th St. (between Telegraph and Broadway), OaklandBIG SHAKE UP Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that uber popular New York burger chain Shake Shack will open its first Oakland restaurant on the ground floor of Uptown Station, the former Sears building at 1955 Broadway. Shake Shack, building owners CIM Group and confirmed Uptown Station tenants Square and WeWork all declined to comment, but the Chron says it has three legitimate sources who vouch for the burger joint to-be. Many local Shake Shack fans are crossing all their digits the rumors are true.