Split to open with a new cocktail menu; A new era for El Charro in Walnut Creek

Other restaurants to get excited about include a famous-name Japanese curry spot and an odiferous Oakland bar.

The beetbox salad at Split. Credit: Split/Facebook

Welcome to Coming Soon, Nosh’s regularly updated report on restaurants to look forward to in Berkeley, Oakland and elsewhere in the East Bay. The process from lease signing to opening can get drawn out for any restaurant, and in regulation-heavy regions like the East Bay, it can take even longer. So please think of every opening date presented in this guide as a hope, dream or goal — not a non-negotiable opening day that’s set in stone.

Looking for restaurants that have just opened? Check out all of the restaurants of note that opened in the East Bay in October.

Tips about what’s Coming Soon are always appreciated. Please send them to nosh@berkeleyside.org.

Berkeley

Hinoya Curry Though it bears the same name as the wildly popular Japanese chain, co-owner and UC Berkeley grad Thomas Uehara emphasizes that while he has an exclusive license for the Tokyo company’s menu, his San Francisco restaurant operates independently from the big brand. As part of a corporate plan to (per a deck for potential investors) “expand in Berkeley and San Jose areas before scaling throughout California and West Coast in 3-5 years,” the company is opening a new location near UC Berkeley in late 2021 or early 2022. The SF Chronicle reports that this second location will have a few seats for dine-in customers, but “will largely be a fast-casual spot geared toward quick meals, takeout and delivery.” Hinoya Curry, 2512 Bancroft Way (near Telegraph Ave), Berkeley.

Sunny Side Café This Berkeley breakfast destination has been cracking eggs and grilling up burgers since 2003, but 2021 is apparently the year to bring their infamous Alameda (brace yourself: that’s mushrooms, hickory-smoked ham, roasted tomatoes and Swiss cheese, sandwiched between two pieces of savory French toast and topped with two eggs over-easy, Hollandaise sauce, and a balsamic reduction) to Epicurious Garden, which says on its website that a location of the restaurant is “coming soon.” Nosh’s efforts to hone in on a more exact date were unsuccessful as of publication time. Sunny Side Café at Epicurious Garden, 1511 Shattuck Ave. (near Vine Street), Berkeley.

Oakland

Kubé Right now, you can find this Oakland-based vegan ice cream company on shelves at local grocery stores, but it’s planning to open a scoop shop and new 5,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oakland in the summer of 2022, What Now SF reports. The frozen coconut cream desserts are made from scratch, in house, using “patented equipment, and automatic coconut equipment” to “crack, shred, and cold-press mature coconut cream,” the company says on its website. For a taste of what’s to come, preorder a pint or two online. Kube,  1050 22nd Ave. (where the street concludes), Oakland.

Split As previously noted, this two-location San Francisco restaurant (a sister company to salad chain Mixt) is expanding to Oakland, with a plan to open in the former Dosa by Dosa space in January 2022. A company spokesperson tells Nosh that the new spot will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and will boast “some amazing new additions across menu categories.” Also new at this Split is a booze menu, as both other locations top out at beer and wine. But the Oakland spot will serve up “signature cocktails, beer, and wine” alongside its sandwiches, salads and burgers. Split, 2301 Broadway (near 23rd Street), Oakland.

Stinkys Bar Alexeis “Lexi” Wolff Filipello just spoke with The Oaklandside about the multiple times cars crashed into her long-shuttered bar, Dogwood, and a day after that, Tablehopper announced that Filipello is opening a new saloon in the space. Based on its clown-laden Instagram presence, it’s called Stinkys, and she says she’s aiming for a “fun queerdo vibe, with no mean people, and no mimes.” As she said when Nosh first covered Dogwood’s closure, she’ll be bringing back Dogwood’s grilled cheese, paired with “seasonal slushies” among other drinks. Opening is expected “around Thanksgiving.” Stinkys Bar, 1644 Telegraph Ave. (near 17th Street), Oakland.

San Leandro

Fieldwork Brewing Company Fieldwork began with a Berkeley taproom in 2015, and now boasts seven locations across the Bay Area. Next summer the company will have eight, when it opens a vast beer garden and taproom downtown. The SF Business Times reports that this new location is “its largest” so far at 7,800 square feet. There’s a lot to do before the spot is ready to open, though, as plans to renovate the space, a Firestone Auto Service Center from the 1960s, have just been submitted and a “four- to five-month construction process” will follow. When it’s all done, hot numbers include 32 (tap handles), 10 (different pizzas on the menu) and 75 (the age of an olive tree at the center of its outdoor space). Fieldwork Brewing Company, 1495 E. 14th St. (near West Juana Avenue), San Leandro

Walnut Creek

The Original El Charro 1947 Like the rest of the region, we were bummed out when Lafayette’s long standing El Charro Mexican Dining closed for good after 73 years. Diablo Magazine was first to report that the restaurant was set to reopen in new digs and with a tweaked name, and the Bay Area News Group has more details: NorCal restaurateur Ben Seabury (Little Star, Ben ‘N Nick’s and several others) bought the business as well as Walnut Creek’s also-shuttered Maria Maria, and will open a new version of El Charro in the latter space. Expect faves from El Charro’s old menu like its chile relleno and blue cheese butter, as well as “more contemporary Mexican offerings,” when it opens in December. The Original El Charro 1947, 1470 North Broadway (near Lincoln Avenue), Walnut Creek.

Sweet Maple Hoyul Steven Choi’s East Bay moves continue with a Walnut Creek outpost of his San Francisco breakfast spot, which made its name with its slow-cooked sweet-and-spicy “millionaire’s bacon.” It joins other Choi-driven restaurants like Berkeley’s U :Dessert Story and Rockridge’s Kitchen Story, also expansions of SF-based venues. Beyond the Creek spotted signs of the new Sweet Maple at the spacious location most recently occupied by Tozai Izakaya, but an expected opening date has yet to be announced. Sweet Maple, 1523 Giammona Dr. (near Main Street), Walnut Creek.

Nov. 9

Berkeley

Heroic Italian This Los Angeles cult-fave sandwich spot opened its first Bay Area location a year ago in San Francisco, helmed by area local David Bullitt. Now Bullitt is expanding into the East Bay, and will open inside the former location of Berkeley’s recently shuttered Mise en Place. Bullitt told Nosh that the newest location, which opens on Saturday, Nov. 13, will eventually offer fresh pasta from Berkeley-based Phoenix Pasta and a menu of 2-3 pizzas. But at launch, expect a concise menu of salads and sandwiches like the OMG, which is prosciutto, salami, capocollo, mortadella, porchetta, smoked mozzarella, artichokes, tomatoes, housemade giardiniera, mustard and black truffle mayo. At launch, the restaurant will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Heroic Italian, 2020 Kittredge St. (near Milvia Street), Berkeley

Squabisch Uli Elser’s artisanal pretzel business has grown into an East Bay farmers market standby with its menu of small-batch, generously topped creations. Now he’s set to open a brick-and-mortar space in the short-lived Voluptas bakery space, Elser told Nosh, with a plan to open on Jan. 1, 2022. Elser currently has over 60 pretzel varieties in his roster, and his plan is to offer about 10 each day. He’ll also use the shop’s kitchen to prepare wholesale orders and bake up his weekly batches for the Grand Lake Farmers Market (which he’ll be at on Saturdays) and the Kensington Farmers Market (Sundays). Squabisch, 1585 Solano Ave. (near Tacoma Avenue), Berkeley

Oakland

Hi Felicia When Nosh last checked in with this underground supper club, founder Imana (yes, she goes by Imana, no last name) was also planning to open a speakeasy called Sluts in a San Francisco yard. In the intervening months, however, Imana has gone legit, the Bay Area News Group was first to report. According to the SF Chronicle, her West Oakland restaurant will operate as High Felicia on the ground floor, “a $250, seven-course tasting menu at 12 tables,” the paper reports. Upstairs will be Sluts, which has evolved into (per the Bay Area News Group) “an intimate gathering place for wine and vermouth paired with tacos, tapas and raw bar bites.” Imana is currently seeking $50,000 via GoFundMe to build out the new space, with an opening goal of February or March of 2022. Hi Felicia, 1726 Seventh St. (near Willow Street), Oakland

Senor Sisig Food truck turned mini-chain Senor Sisig established a West Oakland outpost at the beginning of 2021, and now they’re opening a new East Bay location near Lake Merritt, What Now was first to report. The Filipino fusion spot, which is well known for its sweet pork burritos and tofu-loaded fries, only had a short-term lease at its venue at 1628 Webster St., so the new location — which is slated to open some time in 2022 — will be a replacement for the Webster restaurant, not an expansion, the SF Chronicle reports. It will serve all your favorite menu items, as well as its newish vegan menu and a full bar with a cocktail list that’s still in the making. Senor Sisig, 330 17th St. (in the Zo apartment building), Oakland

Emeryville

Pizzeria Mercato The E’ville Eye was the first to spot this upcoming Neapolitan pizza spot at the Public Market, which is expected to open in December. Pizzeria Mercato is owned by the folks behind Lokanta, a restaurant that serves Greek, Anatolian and Mediterranean food from locations in Walnut Creek and Pleasanton. The partnership “is not known for making pies,” the Bay Area News Group notes. No news yet on a menu or who will lead the kitchen, but they do have a snazzy new oven. Pizzeria Mercato, 5959 Shellmound St., #75 (inside the Public Market), Emeryville

Good to Eat Dumplings This longstanding Oakland pop-up has drawn crowds with its Taiwanese-style potstickers and buns for over four years, but now they’ve signed a lease for the former home of Yuzu Ramen, the E’ville Eye first reported. KQED reports that the restaurant hopes to open by the end of 2021, serving “an even larger selection of traditional Taiwanese dishes beyond dumplings and bao” that can be found at its still-ongoing pop-ups at Jack London Square’s Original Pattern Brewing. The SF Chronicle notes that Good to Eat’s new home is in a “2,000-square-foot space with a large open kitchen, long bar and outdoor patio,” which means plenty of space for sit-down, family-style dining. Good to Eat Dumplings, 1298 65th St. (near Hollis Street), Emeryville

Walnut Creek

World Famous HotBoys This Nashville hot chicken sensation began as a temporary offering in Oakland’s Forage Kitchen, then opened a permanent place to score its dry-brined fried chicken sandwiches in 2019. Now the business is expanding to Walnut Creek, the Bay Area News Group reports, taking over the old Mel’s Diner space (the owner of that Mel’s, Rolla Ghaben, is the cousin of HotBoys co-founder Victor Ghaben) on Main Street. Construction on the space kicked off in September, and they hope to open by the end of 2021 — but Mel’s has occupied the building for over 20 years, making any renovation a pretty significant task. World Famous HotBoys, 1397 N. Main St. (near Cypress Street), Walnut Creek

Sweetgreen National salad chain Sweetgreen has had an East Bay presence since 2015, when it opened its first NorCal location in Berkeley. An Oakland venue followed in May, and now there are plans to open a third East Bay spot in the former Z Gallerie space downtown, Beyond the Creek reports. No details yet on a planned opening date, nor did Sweetgreen respond to an email from Nosh as of publication time. (That PR silence is perhaps understandable, given the problematic statements Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Neman has made regarding the pandemic, including false claims linking patient weight to COVID-19 infections and saying that “no vaccine nor mask will save us.”) Sweetgreen, 1556 Mt. Diablo Blvd (near Locust Street), Walnut Creek

Fremont

Din Ding Dumpling House This XLB destination shut down in May after it was damaged by a two-alarm fire, with its owners directing fans to its Union City location. It will reopen in the new Capital Square mixed-use development, What Now reports, joining previous lease signers including Berkeley-based Sliver Pizzeria and a new location of vegan mini-chain RawASF, a plant-based vegan cafe (per the Bay Area News Group). Construction is ongoing, so an opening date for these restaurants is still TBD. Din Ding Dumpling House, 3768 Capitol Ave Unit J (in the Capitol Square building), Fremont

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