Notable new eating places in Berkeley and Oakland that opened in June

The facade of Via del Corso, which opened in June. Photo credit: Joanna Della Penna

Reopening fever (wrong word?) Has ravaged the Bay Area, and early summer has been a cautiously optimistic party so far. Outdoor patios and parklets are full, indoor food and drink is rampant for those ready and (hopefully) vaccinated. Pride celebrations are in full swing. Telegraph Avenue is full of students looking for food again. Comforts may vary, but for the first time in more than 15 months, mask-free maitre d’s, shared entrees, and actual hugs have been spotted across the East Bay.

Everything will be fine? Let’s check back next month to find out. But first, cheers! Please tip your waiters generously, don’t forget about dessert, and as always, please send any opening (or closing) tips to [email protected]

Berkeley

Some dishes from Sfizio that now serve pasta every Wednesday at Way Station Brew. Photo credit: Sfizio / Instagram

SFIZIO PASTA AT WAY STATION BREW Italophiles will be excited about Berkeley openings this month: Sfizio Pasta, a popular pop-up from Chef Matt Solimano (Pizzaiolo, June’s Pizza), is now every Wednesday night at Way Station Brew. In addition to the occasional East Bay pop-up, Solimano used to serve his gnocchi, seasonal pasta, and other dishes at the South Park Cafe in San Francisco. Sfizio Pasta at Way Station Brew, 2120 Dwight Way (near Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley

ABOUT DEL CORSO It’s a new era for the Berkeley restaurant that was Corso for 12 years and reopened this month as Via del Corso. Despite the warm homage of the name and the preserved appearance of the dining room and the open kitchen, guests are looking forward to more than just the similarities between the new restaurant and the old one. The owner is Berkeley native chef Peter Chastain, who brings connections (he and former Corso co-owner Wendy Brucker have a friendship that dates back to high school), but also an excellent reputation as a longtime chef and co-owner of White- PRIMA Ristorante tablecloth in Walnut Creek. As Nosh first reported, Chastain’s team also includes the former PRIMA chef, Massimo Orlando, who originally comes from Emilia-Romagna, and the accomplished general manager Marco Penitenti. A look inside reveals an elegant and familiar atmosphere with a fresh shine; A new parklet in front of the door offers the opportunity to dine outside. Oh, and did we mention the food? Via del Corso, 1788 Shattuck Ave. (near Delaware Street), Berkeley

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Oakland

A starter in Duende that reopened in June. Photo credit: Duende / Facebook

ELEVEN Duende’s long coma caused many of us to wring out our manos, despite assurances from spirited chef Paul Canales that popular Uptown would return. In the end, of course, the chef knew best that paella and those pintxos, tapas, platas and flan would be back this month. Ole! Duende, 468 19th St. (between Telegraph Avenue and Broadway), Oakland

MOTHER In another reassuring return (with more than a hint of Moxy), Italian neighborhood restaurant Mama is also back thanks to a new collaboration in ownership. Briefly opened in 2019 as an accessible restaurant with red sauce by the Bay Grape crew, the pandemic forced a switch to take-away sandwiches and then unfortunately to close. Mama redux means a return to pasta, meatballs and affordable three-course Italian meals at a fixed price. Mama, 388 Grand Ave. (between Staten Avenue and Perkins Street), Oakland

OAKLAND FOOD HALL As promised, Nosh continues to report on newer options from this ghost kitchen from more than 50 food companies. The latest additions include Chirashi with sashimi and poke bowls and sister company Teadom with boba and fruit teas. As with all Oakland Food Hall stores, menu items are only available for takeaway or delivery. (Help Nosh highlight your favorite using our comment and tip line.) Oakland Food Hall, 2353 E. 12th St. (on Miller Avenue), Oakland

PIZZERIA VIOLETTA Check out Eve Batey’s latest slice, Bites, to learn more about this charming (and intriguing) New York-style pizzeria that debuts in the former Slicer Pizza room on Piedmont Avenue. The owners are Jonathan and Sarah Ruppert, and the restaurant is named after their young daughter Violet. Expect chef-created pies and thin-crust slices, salads, wine, and beer, as well as local sourcing and eco-friendly practices. Basically all good things. The opening day was June 25th. Pizzeria Violetta, 4395 Piedmont Ave. (near Pleasant Valley Avenue), Oakland

SOUL DISC Waiting for several years to move into this former Noodle Theory commission room, Nosh was excited to hear about Soul Slice first from The E’ville Eye. The handsome new restaurant owner is Karter Louis (Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco), a native of Louisville, Kentucky, whose concept at this company originated from his youth: topping a biscuit crust with tasty, savory (or sweet) ingredients and enjoying. With Soul Slice, Louis uses a biscuit base as a vehicle for soul food and specialties in the south, just like an Italian uses pizza dough for cheese and sauce. The restaurant opened on Juneteenth. Soul Slice, 5849 San Pablo Ave. (between 59th Street and Stanford Avenue), Oakland

Sundo fruit sandwiches, now open in Swan’s Market. Photo credit: Momo Chang

TO FETCH/DELA CURO A bit confusing, but great news for the fans: As promised, the two pop-ups Dela Curo (Japanese curry) and Sundo (Japanese milk bread sandwiches) by chef Chikara Ono are now leaving his former AS B Dama room in Swan’s Market. Thanks to Eater for the note of opening. Dela Curo / Sundo at Swan’s Market, 538 Ninth St. (on Clay Street), Oakland

CITY TARIFF It’s open with limited options for now, with takeaway-only picnic boxes, but Tanya Holland is still breaking new ground with their latest inaugural town tariff. The café is located in the reopened Oakland Museum of California, and the lakeside cultural venue reflects Holland’s “love for Oakland, my love for art and nature,” according to Azucena Rasilla’s opening coverage at The Oaklandside. The food is fresh, seasonal, mostly plant-based and soul food inspired, although Holland tries to play across the board with its menus (the cafe has its own garden). The Town Fare will fully open as a seating restaurant over the course of the summer. Town Fare at the Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St. (on 10th Street), Oakland

V AND J FUSION Fresh, well-priced Vietnamese sandwiches, noodle soups, rice plates and drinks are on offer at this new little East Oakland cafe, formerly Bun Mam Mien Tay. V and J Fusion, 833 International Blvd. (on 9th Avenue), Oakland

Furthermore

ELIA Fatih Ulas and Mehmet Duygu opened Elia, a Greek restaurant with a menu of 15 mezzes and 10 main courses, in downtown Pleasanton this month. According to the Bay Area News Group, the seat serves lunch and dinner; the interior is “a refined, modern light-flooded dining room”. Elia, 310A Main St. (near Abbie Street), Pleasanton

HEADLANDS BREWING COMPANY The craft brewery Headlands Brewing has been canning and brewing on site since 2013, but has a new permanent home in Lafayette as of this month. The new taproom has a brewery, an inviting bar (with a tiny kitchen), and outdoor space that takes full advantage of the Lafayette sunshine. Expect flights and pints of the popular Headlands beers, as well as some specialty ales made just for the taproom. Families and dogs welcome. Headlands Brewing Company, 3420 Mt.Diablo Boulevard. (near Brown Avenue), Walnut Creek

LAFAYETTE PUBLIC HOUSE Everything happens in Lafayette: What was Coffee Shop has officially turned into Lafayette Public House (this happened in spring (whoops) after various beer garden test runs that started in 2020). The reviews so far have been very positive for the versatile covered terrace with counter service, which offers everything from morning coffee to afternoon beer to evening margaritas and brunch … is that a parfait? Lafayette Public House, 50 Lafayette Circle (near Mt Diablo Boulevard), Lafayette

TACO & CO. AT FACTION BREWING This bubbly, Berkeley-based taqueria now hurls tacos at Faction Brewing every Wednesday afternoon and evening. Taco & Co. at Faction Brewing, 2501 Monarch St. (across from W Midway Avenue), Alameda

WINGEN BAKERY It was a path for this couple, and Nosh congratulates Aimee Wingen (Homestead, Range Life) and her husband Bryan Wingen (Homeroom) on opening their new Livermore bakery. The store front specializes in sourdough bread, sandwiches and pastries and is already deeply rooted in the Livermore community as the couple are locals, Aimee is a native and their wares have been baked and sold at the Livermore Farmer’s Market since early 2020. More about the history of the Wingens can be found in this piece by Jeff Arnold from Livermore Patch. Wingen Bakery, 50 S Livermore Ave (between First Street and Railroad Avenues), Livermore

An egg roll from the Wingen bakery. Photo credit: Wingen / Instagram

Nosh interim editor Eve Batey contributed to this report

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