Belcampo’s Oakland flagship abruptly shutters

A new grocery store for Emeryville; Bryant Terry’s latest book drops; more Bites.

Belcampo’s Jack London Square flagship was home to a restaurant and butcher shop, both of which served up its famously artisanal meats. Credit: Benjamin Seto

Belcampo Meat Co. entered the sustainable ranching and dining scene with a splash in 2013, opening a Marin County storefront that served up beef from its well-publicized NorCal ranch. In 2018, the rapidly-expanding company opened a 7,000 square foot flagship in Oakland’s Jack London Square, a popular restaurant and butcher shop that boasted organic, fresh-from-the farm meats that a Nosh reviewer described as “an experience that you’ll feel more in the pocketbook than the stomach.” But now you won’t be feeling it anywhere: As first reported by Eater LA, the entire company has ceased operations after it was revealed in May that at least one of its SoCal locations was relabeling factory-farmed meats with the Belcampo brand. On Monday, Belcampo’s social media accounts disappeared from the internet, and “employees were notified of the closures,” the SF Chronicle reports. The company has not responded to Nosh’s request for comment, sending only a prepared statement that says that “While we are ending e-commerce, retail and restaurant operations, the company is exploring a range of options to provide consumers with non-branded products through new distribution channels.”

A 48,446 square foot grocery store could open in Emeryville’s Bay Street shopping mall. The E’ville Eye reports that new mall owners CenterCal Properties, a SoCal-based development firm, believe that a grocery store could “stave off the high level of vacancies the center is experiencing.” The Emeryville Planning Commission has yet to make a decision on the proposal, which will require City Council approval and at least one community meeting to move forward. A potential vendor for the space (formerly the location of Old Navy and Elephant Bar) has yet to be identified.

Vegan chef Bryant Terry
Bryant Terry. Credit: Celeste Noche

It’s a big week for East Bay “Afro-vegan” chef, activist and writer Bryant Terry. Announced in May, his publishing imprint, 4 Color Books, released its first book Tuesday, Terry’s essay/art/memoir “Black Food.” The imprint’s next book will be from 17-year-old Oakland chef Rahanna Bisseret Martinez, the New York Times reports, but for now the focus remains on Terry and his well-reviewed “celebration of more than 100 voices from the African diaspora,” as the Chron puts it. To celebrate the launch, Terry will appear in conversation with KQED producer (and friend of Nosh) Cecilia Phillips at 7 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 21; tickets to attend in person are $15, but folks who want to watch the livestream can do so for free.

Alameda restaurants are fighting back against a man who has filed hundreds of ADA lawsuits alleging lack of accessibility. Serial litigant Orlando Garcia filed a spate of Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits against restaurants in the city, claiming that the spots weren’t available to folks who use wheelchairs. KPIX reports that Sandwich Board and Lola’s Chicken Shack, two of the businesses targeted by Garcia’s suits, say that they’ve ensured that disabled folks have access and that Garcia is “suing for the greenback, access to cash,” as their lawyer describes the claims. An attorney for Garcia disagrees, saying that suits like his are “the way that civil rights are litigated.” Current law might be on Garcia’s favor: ADA regulations in California and elsewhere make these suits difficult to defend against in court, which is why most businesses choose to agree to a legal settlement, instead.

Quick Bites

  • Diners in places like Berkeley and Contra Costa County better remember their vaxx cards during this rainy weather. Both of those regions require folks inside bars and restaurants to provide proof of vaccination if they’re going to venture indoors, and with storms afoot, East Bay restaurants are shutting their outdoor dining down. [ABC 7]
  • Livermore Valley’s first-ever chili cook off promises loads of booths from local food vendors, beer and wine tents and that eponymous chili. It’s all going down on Saturday Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Carnegie Park, access to the event is free but you’ll have to pony up for food or drinks. [Patch]
  • Walnut Creek Police say that two San Franciscans allegedly made a stir at the city’s Cheesecake Factory. Police were called to the chain Sunday night, when a man allegedly brandished a gun that was registered to his female companion. The man and woman were booked into Martinez jail on suspicion of “conspiracy to commit a crime, carrying a loaded firearm in a public place and assault with a deadly weapon.” Both have since been released on bail. [East Bay Times]
  • The Berkeley Food Institute is hosting a panel of “legacy farmers, critical race scholars, and a civil rights lawyer” to discuss this country’s longstanding and systemic oppression of Black farmers, as well as “what you can do to support a more fair and democratic farming system in the United States.” The online event is on Thursday, Oct. 28 from 12:30-2 p.m. and is free to attend, all you need to do is register to receive a Zoom link.
Eve Batey is the Editor of East Bay Nosh Email: eve@eastbaynosh.org. Twitter: eveb.