Back in February, we reported that the former Green Papaya space at 2016 Shattuck in Berkeley would be turning into Thanu’s Kitchen, but word now is that it will become the Italian restaurant BELLI instead. Belli, from co-owners Paul Oprescu and Damien Morrison, will feature housemade fresh pastas, with a focus on ravioli and seasonal ingredients. Oprescu, who will also be the head chef, says there will be secondi dishes of braised and grilled meats, many with polenta, in addition to the pastas.
There will be an all-Italian wine list, focused on drinkable, reasonably priced pours that quaffers won’t have to overthink. To start, they’ll be open six days a week for dinner (closed Mondays) and will open for lunch after a few weeks. Lunch will feature sandwiches and other lighter fare. They are still looking for someone to head the pastry program, so there’s no word yet on a dessert menu, but those details should be forthcoming. Right now, they are hoping to open in mid-October, but are still working on finishing up the kitchen and hiring all their staff. The website and landline are works in progress, but for now you can check out their Facebook page. 2016 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley.
Inside Scoop mentions owners Haig and Cindy Krikorian have sold T-REX BARBEQUE to SF’s Matt Sturm (Fly Bar, Solstice). Sounds like there will be a little refresh, but the plan is to keep things as is. 1300 10th St. at Gilman, Berkeley, 510-527-0099.
From Berkeleyside: now officially open on University is ASHA TEA HOUSE from owners David Lau and Diana Lui. Look for a selection of international loose-leaf teas, some bites to eat, all in a modern-meets-rustic space. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-10pm. 2086 University Ave. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-549-9137.
And after a minivan plowed into SUSHI 29, the restaurant has finished its repairs and has reopened. 1647 Solano Ave. at Ventura, Albany, 510-559-8229.
The new interior at Belli. Photo from Facebook.