Watch this space every week for the newest restaurants to try in Berkeley, Oakland and the rest of the East Bay. As always, tips and recommendations are welcomed at email@example.com.
Thanks to a colleague for sharing that Bicycle Coffee in Jack London Square has reopened in decidedly larger, more modern digs right across the street from its artsy former location. (Literally across the street — the team posted a sign on the old, closed door that says, “Look behind you.”) A check-in with the Bicycle team reveals that, after 10 years, the former lease was up, and they realized that the shiny, new Modera apartment building across the way could provide them with more seating both indoors and out, and even give customers a view of a new roastery. The good people behind the counter, the bicycle-centric mission, and the flavorful, freshly roasted coffee all remain the same. In fact, the same neighborhood deal remains — buy a bag of coffee and receive a free hot drip or cold brew. Pastries are from Third Culture, Firebrand and Javi’s Empanadas. (And yes, this means the coffee shop just across the street at 364 2nd St. is now closed.) Bicycle Coffee, 377 2nd St. (at Webster St.), Oakland
Emeryville-based international gastropub Bureau 510, known for its good-quality burgers, crispy fries (sometimes stacked as a burger topping), banh mi, fish tacos, beer and cocktails and other crowd-pleasing fare, softly opened its long-awaited Alameda location called The Bureau 510.2 on June 26. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, with a happy hour that runs from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Hat tip to What NowSF for first reporting the soft opening date. The Bureau 510.2, 1531 Webster St. (between Lincoln and Haight avenues), Alameda
Rockridge locals are excited to see the former Filippos reanimated by this appealing new Mexican counter restaurant repainted a pink hue one Nosh friend called, “cotton candy.” As first noted in Eater SF, La Esquinita (“the little corner”) is from owner Thomas Schnetz, also behind Oakland’s Xolo and, formerly, Berkeley’s Tacubaya. Look for a particularly fresh and delectable looking menu of tacos, sopas, salads, quesadillas and burritos, with indoor and a handful or outdoor patio tables available. La Esquinita, 5400 College Ave. (at Manila Avenue), Oakland
Update, July 25: Masa now has a working drive-thru for its tamales and tacos.
Original post: Neighborhood locals have had their eye on this newcomer for a while – Masa, long a favorite in Point Richmond, has finally opened its long-awaited counter restaurant on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. Along with what looks like an appealing menu of tamales and other fare, amenities include a roomy parking lot and outdoor patio seating (the restaurant is notably built into a former Jack in the Box fast-food drive-thru, but there is no drive-thru tamale service just yet). Along with a range of handmade tamales, look for street tacos, burritos, tortas, flautas, fresh fruit and indulgent options such as loaded fries and pizza birria. A kid’s menu features burritos and quesadillas. And for dessert, deep-fried fruit tamales smothered in vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche. Thanks to Hoodline for first reporting the long-awaited opening (whose piece also notes that, despite the margaritas at the original Masa, there is no full bar at this location yet). Masa Tamales and Tacos El Cerrito, 10409 San Pablo Ave. (at Panama Avenue), El Cerrito
More of a game launch than an opening, but one we couldn’t not mention: The inaugural Oakland Burger Tour, created by Low Bar co-owner Daniel Paez, begins July 5, lasting all summer until Sept. 4. Here’s how to play: Visit Low Bar, The Kon-Tiki, Jo’s Modern Thai, Lovely’s, or the Telegraph Beer Garden, order a burger (maybe paired with a specialty cocktail) and receive your Oakland Burger Tour “passport.” Receive a stamp at each subsequent spot for each subsequent burger. Collect all five! Those boasting completed stamp books by the end of the event get to join a wrap party and are eligible for prizes. What’s not to like? I mean some of us were just going to try those burgers anyway…Oakland Burger Tour, locations listed above, Oakland
Update, July 25: Unfortunately, a month after Smoke Berkeley sent us the announcement below, the barbecue restaurant is not yet open at the Adeline Food Hall. According to a note on Facebook, the issue is a set of frustrating circumstances surrounding the team’s smoker, for which required approvals — which the restaurant understood were in place — have yet to be met. The opening is stalled until further notice while Smoke and its new landlords figure out possible next steps. We hope to have good news to share soon.
Original post: In exciting news for fans, Smoke Berkeley BBQ, known and loved for its barbecue operation on San Pablo Avenue for seven years, then for its collaboration with downtown Berkeley’s Spats bar starting in 2019, that endured much of the pandemic, will reopen July 1. The new Smoke will operate from inside the Adeline Food Hall in Oakland (begging the question will Smoke Berkeley change its name?). Look for the same menu of signature barbecue favorites for take-out and delivery. Smoke Berkeley BBQ is slated to open July 1 at Adeline Food Hall, 5333 Adeline St. (at 53rd Street), Oakland