Mani Niall’s cookies at Sweet Bar Bakery. Photo from website.
Some additional openings in Oakland: East Bay Dish reports ~VICTORY BURGER~ is now open (the owner is Sal Bednarz, who also owns Actual Cafe next door). The Victory Burger has a Five Dot Ranch patty on an Acme kaiser roll with lettuce, grilled onion, and house ketchup ($8) with add-ons like chicken skin mayo (ay yi yi) and Inna Jam jalapeño jam. The menu isn’t just burgers: there’s a pork and egg arepa (with slow-roasted Eden Farms pork and a fried organic egg, $9), a veggie arepa (grilled plantains, sliced avocado, smoked marinated tofu, tamarind chutney, and slaw, $8), and roast chicken banh mi (with pulled roast chicken on an Acme torpedo roll with veggie slaw, raw jalapeños, fish sauce, and chicken skin mayo, $8). Open for lunch Wed-Sat 11am-3pm; dinner service should start in the next few weeks. 1099 Alcatraz Ave. at College, Oakland, 510-653-8322.
The long-awaited ~SWEET BAR BAKERY~ from Mani Niall has opened on Broadway in Uptown. He’s known for Mani’s Bakery in Los Angeles, and he also was the executive chef at Just Desserts up here (oh yeah, and he was also Michael Jackson’s personal chef). To recap, the space used to be a sweets shop called MacFarlane’s Candy and Ice Cream from 1946 to 1976. Niall will serve baked goods and coffee in the morning, sandwiches in the afternoon, and beer and wine until 11pm. He wanted to create a space that is all about coffeehouse culture, where you can read the paper over a pumpkin-cranberry muffin or hang out with friends over a glass of wine (gotta love the big windows here).
Sweet Bar Bakery is an American bakery with everything made in-house, and there are plenty of gluten-free and vegan options. Be sure to look for his classic chocolate-dipped peanut butter cupcake and peach cornmeal upside-down cake (when peaches are back in season). Sweet Bar Bakery is featuring espresso from Oakland’s Mr. Espresso; the savory menu includes grilled panini, flatbreads, wine, and a local microbrew beer selection. Open Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 8am-6pm (hours will extend later on). 2355 Broadway at 24th St., Oakland, 510-788-4997.
Chowhound brings word of ~HOT POT HOUSE~, which is from the same owner of Spices 3 across the street (but no relation to Spices! I and II in San Francisco). Hot pot season is definitely here. 370-372 12th St. at Webster, 510-251-2662.
If you haven’t been able to make it over to ~FUSEBOX~ in West Oakland (like me), then this info of their Saturday dinner service should be welcome news. Starting Sataurday December 8th, dinner will be served 5:30pm-9pm. Call for a reservation. 2311A Magnolia St. at 24th St., Oakland, 510-444-3100.
One more item: ~PLUM BAR~ is now open for lunch on Monday; take a peek at the menu here. New hours are Mon-Fri 11am-close. 2216 Broadway at Grand, Oakland, 510-444-7586.