Cult favorite Dumpling Time will open its first East Bay location in Berkeley

Tanya Holland’s new restaurant opens in Oakland; Mama returns with a tipless model.

Dumpling Time is bringing its vast menu of Asian dumplings to Berkeley. Credit: Dumpling Time

One of the Bay Area’s hottest dumpling shops is headed to Fourth Street

Big news for XLB fans: Dumpling Time, the passionately beloved restaurant from the Omakase Restaurant Group (SF’s Niku Steak House and Udon Time, among others), is preparing to open its first East Bay location in Berkeley’s buzzy Fourth Street dining district.

Look, almost all dumplings are good, but Dumpling Time’s are exceptional: Diners rave about its Chinese/Japanese giant soup dumplings; its sticky and succulent pan-fried, gyoza-style dumplings; and its eminently Instagrammable colored dumpling skins. But until now, folks who wanted a taste of owner Kash Feng’s expansive menu had to travel to San Francisco (or Japan) to quell their cravings.

That’s set to change in early 2022, a Dumpling Time spokesperson tells Nosh. That’s when Dumpling Time expects to open its first spot on this side of the Bay, to an 1800-square-foot space at 1795 Fourth St. in Berkeley. 

According to Feng, it was customer demand that spurred the opening. “East Bay residents have expressed great interest in our offerings,” he told Nosh. “We’re eager to finally make our cuisine more readily available to the community here.”

When Berkeley’s Dumpling Time opens in the “first quarter of 2022” (according to its spokesperson), expect a 480-square-foot outdoor dining area in addition to its expansive dining room. Will a gigantic soup dumpling taste better if enjoyed al fresco? Beats me, but I can’t wait to find out. Dumpling Time, 1795 Fourth St. (near Delaware Street), Berkeley

Mama’s Oakland dining room will reopen on June 25. Credit: Emma K. Morris/Mama

Mama will reopen with a new menu — and a no tip policy —  on June 25

After a long hiatus and reshuffle in ownership, Oakland’s Italian-inspired restaurant Mama will reopen to patrons on June 25. Opened on Grand Avenue by Bay Grape‘s Stevie Stacionis and Josiah Baldivino in the summer of 2019, the popular spot struggled during the pandemic, eventually shutting its doors. Last month, it announced that it would reopen as part of a new partnership with Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group, the San Francisco restaurant company behind lauded spots like Trestle, Corridor and the Vault.

Since then, Hi Neighbor’s Jason Halverson has revamped the menu, tweaking the restaurant’s fixed-price dinner plan, but keeping it just under $35 per person. The current lineup includes offerings like a porcini risotto with kale gremolata and a ricotta gnudi with pork shoulder sugo; add-ons include a whole Mediterranean sea bass for an additional $39 or a $44 veal chop.

Also new is a mandatory service charge of 20% per order: according to Mama, the fee is “a progressive decision … enabling us to take better care of our entire staff by providing full benefits, vacation, and professional development resources.” That means that when you get your check, there won’t be an optional line for the tip, the math will be done for you, a likely relief to all of us who lose the ability to calculate percentages after a cocktail or two. Reservations for indoor and outdoor seating are going fast, and can be made via Resy. Mama Oakland, 388 Grand Ave. (between Perkins Street and Staten Avenue), Oakland

Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar Kitchen. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti
Oakland chef Tanya Holland’s newest restaurant has just opened inside the Oakland Museum of California. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti

Tanya Holland’s newest restaurant has opened inside the Oakland Museum of California

Town Fare, Brown Sugar Kitchen founder Tanya Holland’s anticipated new restaurant, opened last weekend — nearly 10 months after its landlord, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), expected it to.

The restaurant was first announced in February 2020, with a plan to open the spot — billed then as “California soul food, featuring high-quality yet approachable menu items for breakfast, lunch, and select dinners” — last August. As with all things, the pandemic snarled that plan, and Holland turned her attention to non-restaurant projects like podcasting, telling Nosh last July that her hope is to pivot away from the kitchen and into a career as a public figure in food.

It’s unclear how much Holland will be involved in the day-to-day operations at Town Fare, which currently offers “a limited menu of to-go picnic boxes, a la carte dishes and drinks,” the SF Chronicle reports. A look at its current menu shows a blackened shrimp skewer dish, a selection of toasts, and a fried chicken salad, for example. To enjoy those dishes, one must pay to enter the museum, the OMCA says, as “orders are only available to OMCA visitors with a ticket reservation.” Those tickets range from $7-16 and can be purchased here, and Town Fare preorders (which the museum recommends) can be placed here. Town Fare at The Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St. (near 10th Street), Oakland

Eve Batey is the Editor of East Bay Nosh Email: eve@eastbaynosh.org. Twitter: eveb.