It was already unexpected news when CAMINO’s owners Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain announced they’re closing their 10-year-old Oakland restaurant at the end of December (operating costs and staffing are a challenge, a problem throughout the Bay Area, and they’re also ready for a break). Their other project, The Kebabery, will remain open.
But the surprises continue with the news of Camino’s replacement: a location of ZACHARY’S CHICAGO PIZZA will be opening there in 2019. The menu will be similar to other Zachary’s locations, and the pizzeria is also hoping to have full liquor, which would be a first for them—but no word about the fate of the hearth. Stand by for more. 3917 Grand Ave. at Sunnyslope, Oakland. [Via Chronicle.]
Another pizza takeover: a second location of BENCHMARK PIZZERIA has opened in the former Desco in Old Oakland. Owners Peter and Melissa Swanson (both Oliveto alums) are offering “Neo-Neapolitan” pizza with some California touches (think sourdough starter for the dough, and some creative toppings), plus housemade pastas, and some entrées too. There’s also a cocktail list, designed by Tamir Ben-Shalom of Bull Valley Roadhouse. Hours are Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm and dinner Sun-Wed 5pm-9pm and Thu-Sat 5pm-10pm. 499 9th St. at Washington, Oakland, 510-488-6677. [Via East Bay Express.]
Seth and Jenni Bregman have opened their first project in the former Michel Bistro in the Lakeshore neighborhood, BARDO LOUNGE & SUPPER CLUB, and it’s a swanky and fun-looking spot. It’s designed to feel like a midcentury modern dinner party, with a retro living room atmosphere, complete with vintage furnishings and glassware. The food (from Anthony Salguero and Brian Starkey) and cocktails from Jason Huffman also have a throwback feel, with some modern touches. Come by for happy hour, dinner (served upstairs, for $59), or late-night bites—weekend brunch will be coming later. Open Wed-Mon 5pm-2pm (dinner from 5:30pm-9pm, Fri-Sat until 10pm; snacks until 12am, and 1am Fri-Sat). 3343 Lakeshore Ave. at Trestle Glen, Oakland, 510-836-8737.
Chefs (and conceptual artists) Andrew Greene and Duncan Kwitkor have made their Abstract Table pop-up dinner series a permanent fixture at The Gastropig in Uptown Oakland. They serve a five-course ($50 per person) and seven-course ($70 per person) tasting menu that rotates every three months, and is treated like a dining “exhibition,” but unlike most art galleries, is meant to be unpretentious and relaxed. Their next one will be “Blizzards,” beginning December 7th, and will take diners on a culinary journey through the winters of Japan and Scandinavia. Sake, beer, and wine are also available. Reservations for this series will be available on Resy.com starting November 7th. 2123 Franklin St. at 21st St., Oakland.
He’s baaaaaack, just in time for Halloween nightmares. Chef Charlie Hallowell, accused of sexual harassment by more than 30 employees, has released a 12-point plan that is supposed to be a roadmap for his return to work after stepping away the past 10 months.
The fact that he thought the inclusion of a monthly dunk tank in the plan was a good idea (are you frigging kidding me?), and that (now) co-owner and managing partner Donna Insalaco signed off on it, shows a pretty twisted sense of reality (and of restaurant culture, and how to make amends). Yup, a dunk tank is really going to lighten things up. Way to diminish the weight of all the pain, damage, abuse, and suffering he has inflicted on far too many employees. Its inclusion nullifies every other point in his “plan.” And to think they are also gunning to open a new restaurant in Berkeley, Western Pacific. His hubris is as infuriating as it is staggering. It’s time for Harvey Weinstein to buy some remote property and create Shame Island—we have plenty of men to send there to keep him company, starting with this guy. One-way ticket only.
Let’s end this piece on a positive note by focusing on news from a female- and black-owned business: CUPCAKIN’ BAKE SHOP has relocated to Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. Owner and Oakland native Lila Owens has moved her five-year-old bake shop to a larger, brighter, and contemporary space, offering her scratch-made cupcakes in more than a dozen rotating and seasonal flavors, as well as gluten-free and vegan options. Owens will open two additional Cupcakin’ locations later this fall: the first in early November at Swan’s Market in Old Oakland, and the second in early December in the space formerly occupied by Virginia Bakery at 1690 Shattuck Avenue in North Berkeley. The Shattuck location will serve as the commissary kitchen for all three bake shops and the catering business. Open Mon-Sat 11am-9pm and Sun 11am-6pm. 2391 Telegraph Ave. at Channing, Berkeley.
Camino in the evening. Photo via Facebook.