Oakland Updates: Daughter's Diner and Wise Sons Open, New Chef at Sister, Dopo Sadly Closes, Fire in Chinatown

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The Double D Homewrecker at Daughter’s Diner. Photo courtesy of Daughter’s Diner.

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The Ham on the Run sandwich in a gougère! Photo courtesy of Daughter’s Diner.

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A peek at the interior of Daughter’s Diner, which will open in time. Photo courtesy of Daughter’s Diner.

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The quite perfect matzo ball soup at Wise Sons. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Soft-opening today (Thursday October 1st) in Uptown Oakland is ~DAUGHTER’S DINER~, a modern take on a classic diner from chef Keven Wilson (Perbacco, Volta, Picco, RN74) and his wife Justyna Wilson. They’re opening in the former Hawker Fare, and signed the lease in January—the pandemic obviously pushed things back and changed their business plan drastically, but they’re happy to be opening with takeout and 13 tables out front. They reached out to me back in May, and have been updating me as their opening got closer—congrats to them for managing to open in such challenging times.

Keven is taking inspiration from the diners he remembers in his native Connecticut, but bringing a California focus on quality sourcing and seasonality to his dishes, plus a sustainable and minimal-waste approach to everything they do. They want it to be a community- and family-oriented space (they have a daughter of their own, hence the name), where folks can come by daily for affordable meals—they’re serving breakfast all day, lunch, and dinner—but the elevated and creative touches will keep them coming back.

It’s the kind of menu that reads simply, but has so much more going on. For example, the Ham on the Run sandwich comes with chopped ham salad, an egg patty, and arugula in a gougère (want!). There’s a roasted chicken sandwich with watercress on a soft bun, and an avocado-cucumber wrap for vegetarians and vegans, and of course there’s a burger (or a double, the Double D Homewrecker, to be exact). Soups include a minestrone with Borlotti beans, and there’s a Cobb salad (among others, including a warm potato salad with duck confit). Snacks include potato tots and Buffalo wings with urfa biber chile pepper.

Plates range from all-day egg plates with bacon or sausage and toast, to chicken livers, to roasted chicken or pork shoulder, and both adults and kids can enjoy the princess pancakes with raspberry jam and coated with almond marzipan, a spin on a princess cake. Wine and beer are available. You can also come by for coffee, smoothies, milkshakes, ice cream, floats, and baked goods, plus cheesecake.

Since there aren’t many places to pick up groceries nearby, they’re going to offer a market and pantry, with eggs, milk, canned goods, and provisions, like their bacon butter (“szmalec” in Polish—Justyna is Polish). Delivery will be added soon. Soft opening hours are Wed-Sun 11am-8pm to start, and starting October 14th, they will run 9am-2pm and 4pm-10pm, depending upon what the neighborhood needs. They’re excited to serve you. 326 23rd St. at Webster, Oakland.

~WISE SONS JEWISH DELICATESSEN~ has expanded to the East Bay and just opened a new counter-service location in downtown Oakland, a former Beauty’s Bagel Shop (Wise Sons recently acquired Beauty’s Bagel). Since there’s a full kitchen, they’ll be offering their matzo ball soup, sandwiches, and “new dishes like a smash burger [with pastrami jam] and a kimchi Reuben.” You can read more in this Eater post, and all about the Beauty’s acquisition here. 1700 Franklin St. at 17th St., Oakland.

Last week, I was happy to get a text from chef Melissa Perfit (Niku Steakhouse, Ayala, Bar Crudo) telling me she is the new executive chef at ~SISTER~ (from owners Jen Cremer and Richard Clark). You can peep her new menu here, which includes tortelloni with roasted heirloom tomato sauce, crispy salametto, caramelized spring onion, and fresh basil; five pizzas; a couple salads; and their awesome breads and baked goods continue! Their bottled cocktail game and extensive pantry offerings are also notable—including housemade ice cream. Outdoor dining has started, and they’re serving Thu-Sat 4pm-8pm (café service is Fri-Sat 8am-12pm). 3308 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland.

It was such a bummer to read ~DOPO~’s Instagram post about their closure after 17 years of service. In their post, owners Jon and Kayta Smulewitz say, “We are sad, frustrated, angry. The government has failed restaurants and small businesses; each one lost is a small ecosystem down, a network of people negatively impacted. Each one lost is heartbreaking and infuriating. We’re struggling with this loss and we’ll be processing it for a long time. Even though these past months have challenged us, they also gave us the opportunity to witness depths of kindness, loyalty & generosity so vast that they will get us through this moment and beyond.” You should read the rest of their heartfelt post. Their last service is this Saturday October 3rd. Come by for a last caponata, pizza, and thank them for the many years of hospitality and serving the community. (Their pizzeria in Berkeley, Pollara, remains open.) 4293 Piedmont Ave., Oakland.

I was heartbroken to see one of my favorite noodle spots in Oakland, ~HUANGCHENG NOODLE HOUSE~, was damaged in a fire, along with Chinatown neighbor ~RANG DONG~ (known for their Vietnamese noodle soups), and other businesses as well. UGH. 2020, why so damn hard? Read more in this Eater piece, and how you can help. 718 Webster St. at 7th St.

You can read more East Bay updates in this post from Nosh.