June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014
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The dynamic duo, Chantal and chef Hubert Keller. Photo courtesy of Chantal Keller.

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The famous fabric-tented dining room of Fleur de Lys. Photo: Bill Milnes.

Last week I heard through the grapevine that one of our city’s most well-known fine dining institutions, ~FLEUR DE LYS~, was closing. That same day, I actually ran into chef-owner Hubert Keller and his wife Chantal at the pre-opening party for Aveline, and he confirmed the rumor. The next morning, as the news broke around town, chef Keller gave me a call to talk more in detail about the upcoming closure. He said he has never had so many texts and phone calls, along with a flood of emails, with each and every one telling a story, whether it was of a guest’s engagement, or when they dined at Fleur for the first time with their parents. Chef Keller said, “It’s all so interesting. The news traveled faster than a brush fire. I feel like I have been hit by a truck!”

The restaurant has been open for 28 years with the Kellers, the site of so many romantic dinners, anniversaries, birthdays, and proposals (the location first opened in the late 1950s, and Maurice Rouas purchased it in 1970—he brought on Hubert Keller in 1986). So you can just imagine how many people have been flurrying to make a reservation for one last goodbye before the restaurant closes on Saturday June 28th. The Kellers ended up calling in an extra hostess to handle all the calls, and most people calling have said, “We’ll take anything that’s open!” The phone has literally been ringing off the hook.

The Kellers have been so touched by the outpouring of kindness. Chef Keller said, “It reminds me of when we reopened after the fire. We were closed for 11 months, and I wondered, will they come back? And on that first night, the room was packed! It felt so good, after being closed for so long.”

Chef Keller is actually turning the big 6-0 this week (he’ll be spinning a special birthday set at The Starlight Room this Thursday June 12th in the evening, if you’d like to come party with him), and he said that they knew at some point they were going to need to step back. So, as a couple, they made the hard decision that now was the time. It’s a unique scenario since they own the building and the restaurant. Instead of trying to sell the business, since it’s their name on the door, chef said they wanted “less headaches” and will be selling the building. It will be a great deal for whoever takes it over since they already massively upgraded the foundation and bone structure of the building after the fire in 2001 (it was a $4 million renovation). It’s such a rare opportunity to be your own landlord, so whoever takes over the space will have quite the plum.

The Kellers will still be busy with their multiple Burger Bar locations and Fleur in Vegas, and chef Keller also hinted that he has another book in him, so he hopes to be able to dedicate some time to writing it, in addition to doing more of his television series, Hubert Keller: Secrets of a Chef.

There’s a very sweet farewell letter on the Fleur homepage. Best wishes to the Kellers, and everyone on their staff—it’s quite a family over there. 777 Sutter St. at Jones, 415-673-7779.

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The new exterior of the SFAC. Photo provided by SFAC.

They said they were going to open in time for World Cup, and whaddya know, World Cup kicks off on Thursday June 12th, and the ~SAN FRANCISCO ATHLETIC CLUB~ will be open at 11am! The first game is Brazil vs. Croatia at 1pm! Pretty amazing to turn the place around in five weeks, I gotta hand it to them. Fortunately having World Cup as a goal seemed to work for everyone, and now we will all be able to yell “Gooooollllllll!”

To recap, Miles Palliser and Ezra Berman of the Corner Store, along with a third partner, Neil Holbrook of The Kezar Pub, have taken over the former Tortilla Heights. SFAC is a sports bar, with 28 televisions (!), a 20-seat bar, and pullout bleachers for big games. There’s also a pool table and a shuffleboard table. (You can read more in our original post here.)

As for food, Matt Rosson and Sam Kazik, sous chefs at the Corner Store, have been having fun working on the menu. They’re both from the Midwest, and while they aren’t reinventing the wheel, they are definitely committed to making some really good bar food. Dishes include the Athletic Club, the SFAC Burger with American cheese and their SFAC Thousand Island dressing (you can also get it with bacon strips and thin, crispy onion rings), a bacon-wrapped hot dog with caramelized onions and peppers, and sriracha chile wings tossed in their mix of sriracha and Mae Ploy chile sauce.

The bar has 12-16 beers on tap, and more by the bottle, and do you remember when we told you there would be beer by the bucket and bathtub? Groups sitting in one of the four reservable booths (which fit 8-12) can order beer by the case, served boothside in an ice-filled porcelain bathtub. There’s also a full bar (with a focus on whiskey and tequila) and eight wines on tap.

Hours will be Tue-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 9am-10pm, with bar hours and snacks available even later into the evening, and do note there will be breakfast on the weekend. They will also be open earlier and later to accommodate game times. 1750 Divisadero St. at Bush, 415-923-8989.

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The Happy Spoon at Pabu. Photo via Pabu’s Facebook page.

When I was at the Meals on Wheels Share Our Strength event a week ago, as I was massively enjoying the “happy spoon” being served at the Pabu table, I noticed Paul Piscopo’s name on the restaurant’s identifying card. Piscopo was the executive chef at the St. Regis San Francisco for the past year, and prior to that, he was at the W San Francisco.

His new role with the Michael Mina Group is executive chef and culinary manager for both ~PABU~ and ~THE RAMEN BAR~—he will be busy supporting both openings under Ken Tominaga’s guidance, and will be managing day-to-day operations in the kitchen for both concepts. For a recap on both projects, click to our prior piece here. We’ll have updates for you on these upcoming openings very soon. In related news, the Pabu location in the Four Seasons Baltimore is closing June 14th. 101 California at Front.

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Huevos motulenos for brunch at Green Chile Kitchen. Photo by Jorge Novoa.

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The newly refreshed interior at Outerlands. Photo from Facebook.

While details aren’t out yet about Chris Cosentino’s upcoming SoMa restaurant project, a little birdie told us the name of the project will be ~COCKSCOMB~, and I’d say this website URL definitely confirms it. More soon. 564 4th St. at Brannan.

Here’s a new spot for your brunch radar: ~GREEN CHILE KITCHEN~ is now serving a new menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-2pm. New dishes include a root vegetable hash with carne adovada and fried eggs, and a frittata served enchilada-style, layered with tortillas and green chile; here’s the menu. There are also brunch-friendly beverages, like watermelon or mango mimosas, and red or white sangria. 1801 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-440-9411.

~OUTERLANDS~ is starting dinner service tonight. Hours are Tue-Sun 5:30pm-10pm. You can also come by for small bites and cocktails at their new bar from 3pm-5:30pm (bites start at 4pm). Walk-in seating; reservations coming soon. And it’s also worth noting their weekday café hours are in effect, serving sweet and savory treats Tue-Fri 8am-10am.

Mid-Market’s new ~TBD~ is switching over to a fixed-menu format starting Tuesday June 10th (yep, tonight). The menu will change weekly and will cost $45 per person, check it out here. 1077 Mission St. at 7th St., 415-431-1826.

Ah yes, the notorious Luisa Hanson is back at building her Luisa empire, this time opening ~LUISA’S PIZZA & PASTA~ on Nob Hill, in the exact location where The Front Room moved after Hanson squeezed them out of their original location and not long after, they closed. Anyway. We noticed some license activity, and this hilarious Chowhound report shares more, and we really mean sharing, since it involves Ms. Hanson sharing a look at her décolletage. Look for an opening on Tuesday June 17th. As for her blouse, well, that could happen at any time. And you gotta love the “since 1959” on the sign. 1550 California St. at Polk.

Eater reports that the former Acme Burgerhaus space in the Tenderloin has become ~POP UP CAFÉ~, a restaurant devoted entirely to, well, pop-ups. From 7am-2pm they serve breakfast and lunch, and then in the evenings different chefs come in to offer pop-up dinners. Some guests include The Crawfish Spot on weekends, Cambodian and Laotian food from Sal on Mondays, and BBQ@Lux on Wednesdays and Thursdays. They’ve got 13 beers on tap, as well as 30 more by the bottle and red and white wine. Follow who is cooking on their Facebook page or Twitter. 620 O’Farrell St. at Leavenworth, 510-815-5643.

Eater also caught the news on ~SOMA EATS~, a wine bar, bottle shop, and café moving to 2nd Street in mid-August. It comes from Oussama Mannaa and Shirley Azzghayer, who own SOMA Wines & Spirits, and will offer all-day service. In the mornings, they’ll be pouring Sightglass coffee, along with egg sandwiches and pastries; in the afternoon, look for sandwiches and salads. Then, in the evening, snacks will be offered at the bar. One wall will be entirely stocked with spirits, wine, and beer, all available for purchase. You’ll be able to imbibe there at the bar, or take your haul home. 186 2nd St. at Howard.

North Beach’s Latin wine bar, ~ANTOLOGÍA~, has a newly expanded menu from chef Brandon Peralta, and has also snagged an entertainment license, allowing them to feature live music. On the menu, the Latin theme continues with empanadas, mofongo, and an avocado stuffed with chicken and shrimp salad. As for the live music, follow along on their Facebook page for upcoming shows. Hours are Wed-Sat 5pm-11pm. 515 Broadway St. at Kearny, 415-274-8423.

Food-delivery app Sprig has partnered with local chefs to offer daily menus of dishes, starting with Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions on Thursday June 12th from 5:30pm-9:30pm and followed by Cortney Burns on Thursday June 26th. Brioza’s menu has three options: Petaluma Farms chicken with fennel, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, roasted with onions, kale, and chickpeas; ribs with lemon, rosemary, and garlic, served with chard and rosemary potatoes; or asparagus, Hodo Soy tofu, and peas stir-fried with ginger, garlic, and sambal, served with rice and kimchi. Dinners are $10 each, plus a $2 flat rate delivery fee.

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The butchers are ready at Belcampo. Really, they’re happy to see you. Photo from Facebook.

Newly open in Russian Hill is the SF location of the ~BELCAMPO MEAT COMPANY~ butcher shop and soon-to-open restaurant. (They also have locations in Marin, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara.) What’s unique about Belcampo is their organic meats are humanely raised (and free range) on their farm in Mount Shasta; they also have their own state-of-the-art slaughterhouse facility, one of the few USDA-certified, multispecies meat-processing facilities to open in California in the past two decades. The butcher shop will carry a variety of pastured, free-range, and grass-fed meat, and includes heritage-breed hogs, cattle, poultry, and rabbits. At their old-fashioned butcher counter, you can find both traditional and untraditional cuts. The butcher shop is open daily 9am-8pm.

As for the restaurant, we’ll have more details in next week’s column! It should be opening at the end of this week and will be open for dinner nightly 5:30pm-10pm. 1998 Polk St. at Pacific.

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A rendering of the exterior of The Market Hall. Rendering by Ankrom Moisan Architects and Ignition Architecture via Facebook.

Eater reports that Mission Bay is getting a huge new grocery and prepared foods emporium this fall. The new project is from Los Angeles-based restaurateur Tony Riviera of Primo Hospitality Group and will be called ~THE MARKET HALL~. It’s a similar concept to New York’s Eataly or Dean & Deluca, with high-end gourmet grocery products as well as prepared food items. Both are intended to fill a niche in the changing neighborhood, which has seen a great deal of residential development as well as increased numbers of workers in the UCSF complexes. The 10,000-square-foot project (nope, not tiny) will be housed on the ground floor of the Channel Mission Bay residential building.

Riviera hopes to open around Labor Day, with grocery offerings like meat, seafood, cheese, charcuterie, and produce, much of it sourced locally. In addition, there will be a 60-seat restaurant where Rivera will serve as the chef. In the prepared foods department, Eater mentions sushi and rotisserie chicken, to name just a few items. In addition to the San Francisco location, San Diego, Seattle, and Dallas locations are also in the works. 185 Channel St. at 4th St.

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Yoshi’s San Francisco at night. Photo via Yoshi’s Facebook page.

San Jose Mercury News (via SFist) reports on some major developments coming to ~YOSHI’S SAN FRANCISCO~. The jazz club and restaurant, which has been struggling for a while, has been sold to the Fillmore Live Entertainment Group by owner and founder Yoshie Akiba. The sale is effective July 1st, and Bob Burke of Ovation Consulting Restaurant + Hospitality has been hired to run the venue moving forward. Look for a new name, restaurant, and concept for the space. All current shows, commitments, and tickets will be honored after the sale, and this will have no effect on the original Yoshi’s, in Oakland’s Jack London Square. 1330 Fillmore St. at Ellis, 415-655-5600.

Tipster Jason B. wrote in to let us know that ~LADDA’S THAI CUISINE~ in the Outer Sunset has closed, and Yelp has also noted the closure. It was also known as Sea View Restaurant, and served American diner food in addition to Thai dishes. No word on what might be moving in. 1225 La Playa St. at Lincoln.

Jason also let us know that ~CANTO DO BRASIL~ in Hayes Valley has changed ownership and is now ~MINAS BRAZILIAN~, which is confirmed on their website. The menu offers Brazilian classics like feijoada and stews, as well as sandwiches at lunch. They’ve also got a full bar with cachaça as the highlight, including $6 caipirinhas at happy hour from 5pm-7pm Mon-Fri. And they will be showing all World Cup games live, check ‘em out! 41 Franklin St. at Lily, 415-626-8727.

We reported on the troubles over at ~JODIE’S~ in Albany, and now Berkeleyside Nosh reports that ongoing negotiations with the landlord have failed and the family-owned institution will sadly close on June 14th. The restaurant needs lots of repairs, including a hand-washing sink and a new ventilation system, and since the owners didn’t have a lease, they were unable to make the upgrades. A note on their website says they are hoping to find a new location and reopen soon; we’ve certainly got our fingers crossed! 902 Masonic Ave. at Solano, Albany, 510-526-1109.

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The new egg sandwich at Hayes Valley Bakeworks. Photo courtesy Hayes Valley Bakeworks.

~HAYES VALLEY BAKEWORKS~, the café from Toolworks that offers job training and employment for the disabled and homeless, has secured a $100,000 Google Grant, and will be putting it to work opening a new cart at the SoMa STrEAT Food Park. The new cart, which will be opening in late June, will offer breakfast service to the neighborhood, with items like their monster cinnamon rolls, gluten-free granola bars, and a new baked egg sandwich on a jalapeño corn biscuit with ham and provolone. There will also be Four Barrel coffee. For hours and exact opening date, follow along on Twitter or Facebook. 428 11th St. at Bryant and Division.

Liquor license activity tipped us off to the new upcoming location of ~TENDER GREENS~ on King Street in SoMa. A call to the current downtown location confirmed that the new location is indeed a go, and will be opening in mid-September. The chain, which was founded in Southern California and has many locations there, offers fresh salads and larger plates in a fast casual environment; here’s the menu. They also offer staples of downtown lunch, like online ordering and office catering. 266 King St. at 4th St.

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Coffee and pastries at VeloBrews. Photo from Facebook.

There’s a new café and bike shop open in the Bayview, ~VELOBREWS CAFE AND CYCLING COMMUNITY CENTER~. The general managers, Jennifer Leeper and Ross Del Duca, are both Bayview residents, and are really doing a lot to keep things hyperlocal: the coffee is from Ubuntu in Emeryville; they carry sea salt-chocolate chip cookies by local baker Salty Sweet, plus cookies, beignets, macaroons, and scones from La Victoria in the Mission; the bagels are from Sour Flour (which you can get with lox, cream cheese, and now with eggs in the morning too); and they will soon be getting jam and chutneys from Jake’s Castro Kitchen. Leeper mentioned they serve sandwiches, and plan to add hot panini this weekend. They also get an amazing chicken salad from the health-focused and fellow Bayview business, Comfort Foods National Inc. Their offerings keep expanding!

I love their mission of trying to get as many people on bikes as possible, which is why you’ll find they specialize in selling refurbished bikes, although they can order a brand-new one for you if that’s what you want. Need a repair or a helmet? Colin McDonald, the bike shop manager, can help with that too.

Be sure to pedal over and pay them a visit. I hear the upcoming Juneteenth event on Thursday June 19th will be a fun one. Keep up with VeloBrews and future announcements on Facebook. VeloBrews is open Mon-Fri 6:30am-4pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm. 634 3rd St. at Newcomb, 415-926-8930.

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Italy playing Spain in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Fortaleza (on the hopper’s Brazil trip). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

The World Cup is upon us, from June 12th-July 13th, and unless you’re headed to Brazil, you’ll definitely want to check out the madness somewhere fun. Here are some places to check out the craziness and go hoarse screaming for your team. Many places are opening early for certain games—be sure to check out their websites for all the details.

~SOMA STREAT FOOD PARK~ is showing matches in their outdoor beer garden, and it’s completely free to watch (food and drink is available for purchase). There will be beer specials, including deals on Brazil’s Xingu Black Beer and America’s Bud and Bud Light, plus food from the array of food trucks. Check out the schedule here. 428 11th St. at Division.

Opening specifically in time for World Cup is ~SAN FRANCISCO ATHLETIC CLUB~ in the former Tortilla Heights. Read our write-up in today’s issue for more! 1750 Divisadero St. at Bush.

~THE CHIEFTAN~ will be opening early to show matches. Plus, they honor any television requests, so there’s no need to worry about missing your favorite team. 198 5th St. at Howard, 415-615-0916.

A few more classic spots where you can watch games around town: ~MAD DOG IN THE FOG~ (they will be opening the bar at 8am starting June 13th, and they’ll show games again in the evening with sound), ~KEZAR PUB~ (check their schedule), ~DANNY COYLE’S~ in the Lower Haight, and ~GREENS SPORTS BAR~.

Looking for some famous South American fútbol passion? Head to ~PISCO LATIN LOUNGE~ for $4 specials on Peruvian beer and special “team-themed” cocktails. The televisions turn on at 4pm Mon-Fri and 11:30am Sat-Sun, showing both live and recorded games. 1817 Market St. at Pearl, 415-874-9951.

If you’re downtown, it’s a great time to check out the brand-new ~BARTLETT HALL~—and they will be open for morning games at 9am!

~PUBLIC HOUSE~ has a ton of screens and will be playing World Cup games, check out their “on deck” schedule for details.

Want to pretend you’re in Brazil? Check out ~MINAS BRAZILIAN~ (in the former Canto do Brasil space), where they’ll be showing matches and serving cachaça, caipirinhas, and Brazilian dishes. 41 Franklin St. at Lily, 415-626-8727.

If you want to hang out with the Italians and scream “FORZA AZZURRI!!” then you will want to visit ~IL CASARO~ in North Beach, which has three TVs, good sound, and wait until you try their Neapolitan pizzas. They’re also opening for the early Italian games, serving cornetti, bomboloni, and cappuccinos. 348 Columbus Ave. at Grant, 415-677-9455.

All four ~TACOLICIOUS~ locations will be opening early on Friday June 13th for the Mexico vs. Cameroon match, and will be showing all matches with the US or Mexico for the course of the Cup. Here’s the full schedule, and note that when they’re open early, brunch will be served!

Another place where you can get your margarita on while cheering on your team is ~DON RAMON’S~, which is celebrating World Cup with numerous food and drink specials. They are offering $5 Micheladas all day and their regular happy hour starts at 3pm Tue-Fri; pitchers of house, prickly pear, and mezcal margaritas, pisco punch, and sangria are $25 and there are cocktail, beer, wine, and sparkling options for $4-$6, plus appetizers for $3-$6, like nachos, fish tacos, empanadas, and queso fundido. There are two large TVs, and they are opening at 11:30am Tue-Fri and 5pm Sat-Sun.

The newly opened ~GASHEAD TAVERN~ in the Mission will be screening games on three TVs and one 100-inch projector. They will be opening earlier than usual and serving breakfast sandwiches all week starting at 12pm (so I guess that works for you late risers) and are now open for brunch Sat-Sun starting at 11am. Also handy: they have a full bar. 2351 Mission St. at 20th St., 415-757-0554.

Also in the Mission, ~ROSAMUNDE~’s Mission location is broadcasting all the World Cup games and opening early. Their Oakland location too! Sausages and beer for the win. And their Facebook page has plenty of updates about who is playing and when.

~BARREL HEAD BREWHOUSE~ is showing all World Cup games, plus on Sunday June 29th they’ll be pouring their very first house-brewed beers, starting at 9am. There are three new varieties, as well as their tasty vittles and guest taps. 1785 Fulton St. at Masonic, 415-416-6989.

~SECOND ACT MARKETPLACE~ is showing games on their big projector screen, and you can score treats from their vendors in the Marketplace, including Anda Piroshki and High Cotton Kitchen. Upcoming games include Croatia vs. Mexico on Monday June 23rd at 1pm and Japan vs. Colombia on Tuesday June 24th at 1pm; follow along on Facebook for all game times. 1727 Haight St. at Shrader, 415-668-3994.

~AMERICANO~ is showing all games on a large screen television they brought in specially for the World Cup. They are also serving a special menu of bar bites during games only, with choices like the bacon carmel corn, pulled pork sliders, and chicken wings.

For downtown workers wanting to check on a game before or after (or even during) the workday, check out the outdoor screening patio at ~RADIUS~. They’ve brought two big-screen televisions onto the patio, along with extra speakers. Both the café and patio will be open from 9am onward for all US games, knockout rounds, and playoff matches.

In Oakland, ~ADESSO~ will be showing all 64 World Cup games, including Sundays. Their all-day hours will offer appropriate food and beverage service, think breakfast and midafternoon snacks. 4395 Piedmont Ave. at Pleasant Valley, Oakland, 510-601-0305.

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The bar at Galeto, with salad bar on the left. Photo by Kibwe Daisy.

Here’s a meaty project now open in the East Bay: ~GALETO BRAZILIAN GRILL~ is now open in Old Oakland. The Brazilian-style restaurant comes from owner Eli Nascimento, a former co-owner at Espetus Churrascaria in San Francisco, and chef Robson Barreto, another alum of Espetus. The menu is prix-fixe ($18.95 at lunch, $34.95 at dinner), with cuts of meat carved tableside and a salad bar. Some Italian influence will appear on the menu, as well, with pasta dishes, eggplant caponata, and rotisserie chicken. Dessert is available à la carte, with choices like flan and Brazilian bread pudding. The space seats 80, and they are hoping to offer patio seating by the end of 2014 as well. 1019 Clay St. at 11th St., Oakland, 510-238-9388.

Right before deadline, we got a call from Matt Burger, who was trying to open a burger place in North Oakland last year. That project seemed to have fallen through, but now it turns out he’s got his sights on a new space. He recently secured the ~BARLATA~ space in Temescal, which will be closing in the coming months. Burger will be opening a neighborhood restaurant and bar in its place, called ~GRANGE HALL~. They’ll offer craft cocktails, beer, and approachable food (of course there will have to be a burger on the menu). He’ll be serving as executive chef, and is bringing a still-unnamed craft cocktail bar manager from Chicago on board. They’re aiming for a mid-September opening after a brief remodel; the liquor license just went up today. 4901 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St.

Rick Hackett and Meredith Melville of Bocanova are getting ready to open a new restaurant in Jack London Square this summer, called ~JACK’S OYSTER BAR & FISH HOUSE~. They’re working with chef Peter Villegas on a menu of seafood dishes including crudo and ceviche, whole fish specials, and fish and chips. The restaurant will include a 20-seat bar, as well as a semi-private dining room with space for 36, and a bayside patio for about 30. Once open, hours will be 11am-10pm daily. 336 Water St. at Franklin, Oakland, 510-271-7952.

It looks like ~WESTBRAE BIERGARTEN~ is now open softly, with a grand opening scheduled for Thursday June 12th. Berkeleyside Nosh originally reported on the outdoor beer garden, which offers an outdoor spot to enjoy beer and food. They’ve lined up two food vendors, Brazil Café and Roli Roti, to provide the vittles, and other vendors will also be in rotation. 1280 Gilman St. at Curtis, Berkeley.

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