Boochman Kombucha Taproom offers a small menu of snacks, many featuring fermented ingredients and repurposed produce from their kombuchas.
Boochman Kombucha Taproom offers a small menu of snacks, many featuring fermented ingredients and repurposed produce from their kombuchas. Photo: Boochman Kombucha



BOOCHMAN KOMBUCHA TAPROOM Nosh scooped this ‘booch earlier in the month, as Boochman Kombucha’s new taproom is, somewhat unbelievably, the first of its kind in the Bay Area. The welcoming, health-minded outpost at the western end of University Ave. offers as many as 10 weekly-changing taps of seasonal, small-batch Boochman kombuchas available by the glass and growler, all produced on-site — current flavors include peach lemon verbena and currant with clove. There’s a clean-lined, cozy interior with two tables, an outdoor patio and several smaller food items available from Wednesday through Saturday, made by using many of the same fresh (and eventually fermented) ingredients used to flavor the kombucha, in line with the company’s efforts towards zero waste. The whole place seems to effervesce with a friendly energy thanks to Boochman’s enthusiastic owners, two sets of siblings who combined forces in Berkeley and have been producing and distributing kombucha locally since early 2018. Boochman Kombucha Taproom, 915 University Ave. (between Seventh and Eighth), Berkeley

A braised lamb wrap and greens cucumber lime juice from Fava in Berkeley.
A braised lamb wrap and greens cucumber lime juice from Fava in Berkeley. Photo: Sarah Han

FAVA Nothing but glowing reviews so far for this tiny take-out lunch counter now operating from behind the former Juice Bar Collective’s iconic screen door. Fava opened Aug. 6, from good friends Sylvia Osborne-Calierno, a north Berkeley native, and Jeremy Scheiblauer, originally from Santa Cruz, both chef-owners and Chez Panisse alums. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, the pair create limited quantities of flatbread sandwiches for vegetarians and meat-eaters (the lamb wrap is a hit), as well as flavorful salads, fresh juices and lassis, seasonal sides, desserts and baked goods, including the sandwich flatbreads for now, which one recent diner called, “pillowy and delicious.” Ingredients are organic and locally sourced. The wee, familiar space with very Berkeley roots seems to be in excellent hands, with fresh flavors striking the right balance between current and comforting. Limited seating out front. Fava, 2114 Vine St. (between Shattuck and Walnut), Berkeley

FLAVIA OSTERIA There was yet another quick switch near Cal this month — 2132 Center St. morphed from the short-lived vegan restaurant Collective Kitchen (see Closures) to affordable Italian pasta and pizza house Flavia Osteria, opened Aug. 26. The casual, counter-service restaurant brings a menu of easy, homestyle pasta dishes to the student-heavy area, organized according to protein (chicken, beef, seafood, veg) with almost all pasta plates costing less than $10. Ten-inch Neapolitan-style pizzas are also under $10, except the Pizza Alla Flavia, with pepperoni, sausage, salami, green pepper, mushroom, olive, onion and pesto for $10.95. The roomy space has plenty of comfortable seating and a full bar. Flavia Osteria, 2132 Center St. (between Shattuck and Oxford), Berkeley

A sign for Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters in Berkeley.
Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters in Berkeley. Photo: Joanna Della Penna

WRECKING BALL COFFEE ROASTERS True to its name, this new coffee shop, the second Bay Area café from husband-and-wife owners Nick Cho and Trish Rothgeb, busted things wide open when it hit inside the former Philz space on Shattuck on Aug. 23. The café showcases a gorgeous, provocative mural by artist Chris Chanyang Shim (@royyaldog), but even more thought-provoking are the owners’ progressive opinions about the café’s new neighborhood and mission. Look for house-blend and single-origin coffee drinks, baked goods including a Spam musubi croissant, and in the near future, lemonade. Seating (and the mural) are on the second level of the two-tiered space. Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters Shattuck Avenue, 1600 Shattuck Ave. (between Cedar and Lincoln), Berkeley


ALGORITHM COFFEE CO. The flagship café for Algorithm Coffee at 1122 University Ave., open since 2016, shuttered abruptly mid month, much to the dismay of the location’s many fans. A simple sign in the vacated storefront says a “new business is coming soon.” Owner Aaron Hubbard had this news to share with Nosh about the closure: “Our storefront was a wonderful experience and we were very popular and busy, but it was the right time to move on.” He added that Algorithm as a brand is still very much active, and Algorithm coffee can still be found at the Saturday downtown Berkeley farmers market, by the bag online, at local grocery stores and, beginning January 2020, select northern California Whole Foods locations.

COLLECTIVE KITCHEN & BAR Three former members of the now-dissolved Juice Bar Collective seemed poised for success with this large vegan and vegetarian restaurant, opened on Center Street in April, but it was not meant to be. The restaurant closed the first weekend in August, and has already reopened as Flavia (see Openings above).

The original location of Country Cheese Co. on San Pablo Avenue.
Country Cheese Co. on San Pablo Avenue closed Aug. 13. Photo: Country Cheese Co./Facebook

COUNTRY CHEESE CO. This old-fashioned purveyor of quality cheeses, specialty food products and some of the East Bay’s favorite deli sandwiches, closed as anticipated on Aug. 13., leaving the community to find other sources for their imported teas, cocoas, jams, spices and other gourmet goods. This location at 2101 San Pablo Ave. was the last remaining Country Cheese Co. store, a company that operated in Berkeley for an impressive five decades.

JAYAKARTA RESTAURANT Thanks to a tip, Nosh was able to alert readers to the impending closure of Berkeley’s only Indonesian restaurant Jayakarta after 14 years on University Avenue (As the story spread across media, Chronicle reporter Janelle Bitker also revealed the impending closure in September of Borobudur Restaurant, the only exclusively Indonesian restaurant in San Francisco, a compounded loss of Indonesian cuisine for the Bay Area.) Fans of Jayakarta, including many students, were able to make it to the Berkeley restaurant for one final savory, authentic Indonesian meal before it shuttered on Aug. 24.

Temporarily closed

MO’JOE CAFE We checked in with co-owner Adil Mouftakir for an update on the popular Mo’Joe Café at the corner of Sacramento and Dwight, temporarily closed by water damage incurred by a fire in the building on Aug. 4. In an Aug. 27 email, Mouftakir said he expects at least another two weeks of reconstruction at the south Berkeley café, possibly more. Hang in there Mo’Joe.



ARTICHOKE BASILLE’S PIZZA Announced and awaited since the closure of the Temescal location of Lanesplitter Pizza in 2018, Artichoke Basille’s softly opened in early August, and had its grand opening Aug. 24. The New York City-based pizzeria from cousins Francis Garcia and Sal Basille is famous for enormous, gooey, flavorful slices that are particularly popular with the late-night crowd. Favorites include pepperoni, meatball, crab, vodka (with a tomato, vodka, cream sauce and mix of cheeses), and of course the artichoke, with artichoke hearts and spinach in a creamy sauce with lots of cheese. Artichoke Basille’s has had a Berkeley presence since 2013, thanks to local franchiser Jim Trevor, also responsible for this new opening and potentially more to come. Note: This is not a pizza counter; the Temescal pizzeria features sit-down table service for slices and drinks from the full bar. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, 4799 Telegraph Ave. (at 48th), Oakland

CAFE ENCINA Neighborhood enclave Café Encina brings a menu of small, shareable bites, as well as a full bar loaded with treats from mezcal to sipping vermouth, to the former Bar 41 on 41st near Broadway. Dishes have Basque, Spanish and Portuguese-inflected flavors, many with coastal and even veg and vegan appeal. Café Encina is in soft-open mode for the next few weeks, with plans for a grand opening in mid to late September. (Note: This burgeoning stretch of Temescal also includes Trueburger, Clove & Hoof, Mama’s Royal, Copper Spoon, Teni East Kitchen, the new Umami Mart and, soon, Brenda’s. Quite a line-up.). We’ll have more details in a separate story about Café Encina on Nosh. Café Encina, 308 41st St. (near Broadway), Oakland

CHOP BAR (NEW) Ten-year-old Chop Bar left its former digs at 247 4th St. last month to move across the street and into a larger space within the Fourth Street East complex at 190 4th St.; the restaurant opened Aug. 1, boasting twice the space, a larger kitchen, private events room and outdoor patio. Though the new Chop Bar impresses and chef Lev Delany has been able to expand and riff a little on the menu of comfort favorites, the casual, fun vibe remains unchanged, if a bit more playful. (Anyone nostalgic for the old location should take a peek and feel comforted.) Oakland chef-restaurateur Chris Pastena has been on a recent tear — the man behind Chop Bar, Calavera, the recently sold Lungomare and upcoming new Tribune Tavern was profiled earlier this month on Nosh. Chop Bar, 190 4th St. (at Jackson), Oakland

The mural at Kono Food Alley.
The mural at Kono Food Alley. Photo: Common Grounds

KONO FOOD ALLEY Launched to alleviate lunchtime hunger pangs in the Koreatown Northgate neighborhood, as well as to celebrate and support diverse, small food business owners, Kono Food Alley, produced by George Dy, is a food truck and food stand gathering outside 3188 Telegraph Avenue, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., every Monday through Thursday. Purveyors include Tacos Y Chelas, Javi’s Cooking, La Vida Boba, Curbside Kitchen and others. The pop-up will run through Oct. 10. Kono Food Alley, 3188 Telegraph Ave. (between 30th and Hawthorne), Oakland

NAUGHTY CHILE TAQUERIA Yet another “quick service restaurant” (QSR) franchise operating out of gas stations and convenience stores (similar in model to the ubiquitous Krispy Krunchy Chicken), Colorado-owned Naughty Chile Taqueria has arrived. The pre-cooked, heat-and-eat Mexican food franchise opened its first California location this month inside Oakland’s Pious Petroleum on Foothill Boulevard, and is also… available for delivery. (It’s a dense market Naughty Chile’s entering: Nosh counted at least 12 taco trucks and taquerias nearby.) Naughty Chile Taqueria kiosk inside Pious Petroleum, 4280 Foothill Blvd. (at High St.), Oakland

RIDE BAR Ride Oakland cycling gym has a new smoothie bar that opened in June to the public. Ride Bar offers açai, fruit and granola bowls and elaborate, delicious-sounding blended concoctions made with fruit, proteins, powders and superfoods, priced at between $9.50-$10.50 each. (There is also coffee.) Ride Bar, 4448 Piedmont Ave. (between Ramona and Pleasant Valley), Oakland

TOWN POPUP East Bay Express had the news that the former Temple Club space will now house a series of long-time pop-ups under the umbrella Town Popup. The first one, Man Vs. Fries, landed this month, with specialties such as the SoCal Burrito — carne asada, pollo asado, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, fries, cheese and sauce wrapped in a 13-inch tortilla and served with a side of queso (the NorCal version skips the Cheetos in favor of guacamole and sour cream) — available daily for pickup or delivery via Doordash. To come: Beso, Streat Dog, and Mac & Mischief (any one of which would be a great name for a band). Town Popup, 2307 International Boulevard (at 23rd), Oakland


DIVING DOG BREWHOUSE The Chronicle had the story of Diving Dog Brewhouse’s permanent closure Aug. 8, and as with many sad goodbyes recently, it’s one of numbers not adding up. The 30-tap brew pub and “brew on premises” venue across from the Fox Theatre was an Uptown favorite for beer lovers and brewers for nearly five years, and will be missed.

MEDITERRANEAN EXPRESS (fka PITA POCKET) Friendly customer service was a constant at this two-year-old neighborhood counter-service eatery for fast-casual Mediterranean plates. Pan-Asian pop-up-turned restaurant Saucy will open in the space at 3932 Telegraph Ave. next month, read more here.

THE OCTOPUS LITERARY SALON This haven at 2101 Webster St. for artists, poets, musicians and their audiences had wonderful intentions and plenty of business, but a sad farewell on the group’s website explains that they just weren’t bringing in enough money to continue. Tonight and tomorrow, Aug. 30-31, the literary salon, event space and restaurant will host its final performances and then close. (The spot’s final reading will feature authors from Finishing Line Press.) It won’t be a Viking funeral, exactly, but the sentiment is there.



85°C BAKERY CAFÉ Two months after Berkeley lost its 85°C Bakery this summer, a new location for the Taiwanese pastry and coffee chain opened in a former Payless ShoeSource in downtown San Leandro. Currently in soft open mode, the Washington Square outpost will celebrate its grand opening Sept. 6. 85°C Bakery, 1299 Washington Ave., San Leandro

Minnie Bell's Soul Movement chef Fernay McPherson with Jay TK. Minnie Bell's moved into a new, permanent kiosk at Public Market Emervyille.
Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement chef Fernay McPherson with employee Jay. The soul food spot moved into a new, permanent kiosk at Public Market Emeryville. Photo: Joanna Della Penna

MINNIE BELL’S SOUL MOVEMENT (NEW KIOSK) Congratulations to La Cocina alumna Fernay McPherson for crossing into larger, lasting digs at the Emeryville Public Market. The popular soul food chef’s prominent new stand, opened Aug. 12, features a roomier kitchen and counter, with an expanded menu to boot. McPherson’s former stall, used as a rotating home for La Cocina chefs, will reopen in the coming weeks as homestyle Middle Eastern spot Mama Lamees from chef Lamees Dabhour. Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, Public Market Emeryville, 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville

Square pepperoni pizza from Raymond's Pizzeria in Richmond.
Square pepperoni pizza from Raymond’s Pizzeria in Richmond. Photo: Raymond’s Pizzeria/Instagram

RAYMOND’S PIZZERIA Nosh loves the look of this new New York-style slice house, complete with Pliny and Death & Taxes on tap, softly opened several weeks ago in the Point Richmond neighborhood. Owners are skate vet Brad Staba and Nathan Trivers (The Up & Under), who aim for authenticity and humor in menu and decor, and serve hearty slices as well as whole pies with an array of quality throwback toppings. Additional temptations include salads, individual meatball sliders and fresh bruschetta. Hours for now are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Tuesday. Note: Free box with the purchase of any pizza. Raymond’s Pizzeria, 130 Railroad Ave. (at West Richmond), Richmond

Salmon Verjus at The Salt in San Ramon.
Salmon Verjus at The Salt in San Ramon. Photo: The Salt

THE SALT It has been softly open for a few weeks now, but this month’s write-up of The Salt in Diablo shone a light on this intriguing new San Ramon restaurant from owner Srikanth Yendluri. Executive chef Jerrod Doss has worked all over the Bay Area, from The French Laundry, Chez TJ and Oakland’s Shinmai, to San Francisco’s former Aziza, and August 1 Five; it’s no wonder The Salt’s upscale dishes meld “American, French, Mexican, and European cuisines with Indian flavors as a soul.” Reviews for the elegant-yet-eclectic vibe and cuisine are promising so far. The Salt, 500 Bollinger Canyon Way (near Canyon Lakes), San Ramon


FUDDRUCKERS WALNUT CREEK Patch reports that this branch of the national build-your-own burger chain closed Aug. 18. The five remaining Bay Area Fuddruckers locations are listed here.

Joanna Della Penna

Freelancer Joanna Della Penna has written about food, people and the arts in the Bay Area since moving here from the East Coast in 2001, and was Gayot's Northern California regional restaurant editor for...