Back in February, I broke the news about the new taker for the former Café Rouge space: POMPETTE (the name means “a little tipsy”). It’s from chef David Visick, an alum of Chez Panisse and SF’s Cafe Kati, and his wife, Caramia Visick, who worked at Bay Wolf (as well as Oliveto, Zuni, and Stars) before launching her jewelry line (Hotcakes Design) and shop (Favor)—she is running front of house.
As I mentioned, they want to maintain Café Rouge’s rep as an easy place to swing by, no matter the time of day or the extent of your appetite, from a bite and a cocktail to a full-on spit-roasted chicken dinner for two. Take a look at the initial (and highly appetizing) menu here, with French-Cali bistro bar snacks and charcuterie, numerous spring vegetable dishes, and of course a burger.
The space was updated a bit, with even more seating. The restaurant is softly open for dinner starting at 5:30pm Mon-Sat and will be adding lunch in a week or so. As Caramia Visick said, “Customers are happy to get back into their bar seats and try out the new cocktails, wines, and snacks!” Indeed. 1782 4th St. at Delaware, Berkeley, 510-356-4737.
Another icon is getting an update: the former Fosters Freeze in Alameda has been transformed into the charming NEPTUNE’S, which opened today. I had the serendipitous fortune of dining next to chef Naomi Elze-Harris at an event last night and got to hear about it straight from the horse’s mouth. The daytime menu is Southern through a California lens, with some Filipino and Hawaiian references popping up too; ingredients will be sustainably sourced. The menu includes chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, housemade brioche buns, “Not Zippy’s” chili and rice (a reference to a popular Hawaiian dish), Hawaiian breakfast, a burger, and eventually soft-serve ice cream with special flavors of waffle cones designed to go with it.
There are 80 seats, both indoors and on a back patio they installed surrounded with redwood slats. They will also be launching a walk-up window in a couple of weeks, where you can get your lumpia to go. Peek at their Instagram to get a look at their clean, bright, and natural aesthetic, with colorful tiles, glass globe pendant lights, and it’s sweet how the blue throughout references the former Fosters blue. Open Tue-Sun 8:30am-2:30pm (which means you can start your day and come by for some proprietary Lincoln Rosewood coffee and espresso!). 630 Central Ave. at McKay, Alameda.
More outdoor patio action can be found at ARTHUR’S MAC’S TAP & SNACK in the Longfellow neighborhood in Oakland from Farm League Design & Management Group (Drake’s Dealership, Westbrae Biergarten, East Bay Spice Company, Tigerlily). It’s right across from the MacArthur BART Station and is part of the MacArthur Annex shipping container complex that houses a variety of artist workspaces and start-ups. It’s a pizza-by-the-slice beer garden designed to be a family-friendly and affordable place. The menu also includes wings and salads; chef consultant Michael Williams (Rivoli and Corso in Berkeley) is behind the menu. There are a number of booths, two fire pits, and a kids’ play area so mommy and daddy can enjoy their beers. Speaking of, there are 16 craft beers, 2 ciders, and 5 wines on tap, plus a house-kegged vermouth spritzer. Open Sun-Thu 11am-10pm and Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. 4006 Martin Luther King Jr. Way at 40th St., Oakland.
James Syhabout (Commis, Old Kan Beer & Co.) just keeps on pushing and is opening a full bar and lounge next door to Commis called C.D.P. (short for chef de partie). It will served cocktails, snacks, and small plates. Syhabout designed it himself and will have 10 seats at the bar, 24 overall, and is due to open in the fall. [Via Scoop.] 3861 Piedmont Ave. at Montell, Oakland.
Folks in Elmwood are lucky to be gaining a location of SF’s ITALIAN HOMEMADE COMPANY, which will be opening in the former AG Ferrari. They will be serving their piadine sandwiches, housemade pastas, and more. 2905 College Ave. at Russell, Berkeley. [Via Nosh.]
The spacious and updated dining room at Pompette. Photo courtesy of Pompette.