San Francisco’s Hotbird moves into new Oakland store, along with other restaurant openings in East Bay


Welcome to the third episode of New in the East Bay, a monthly overview of the latest restaurant and bar openings this side of the Bay Bridge.

The eyes feast before the mouth and the new restaurants that open in the East Bay delight diners with both visual and gustatory creations.

Grab the delicate phyllo pastries at an Oakland cafe brimming with faux flowers, where the owners also serve rose-scented lattes and lemonades. And a Bay Area chain is hooking dessert lovers with soft serve in whimsical fish-shaped cones.

Other noteworthy newcomers serve Korean tofu stews, artisanal spirits, and chapli skewers. And popular hot chicken operation Hotbird has made a comeback in Oakland, where it debuted in 2017 as one of the first to bring Nashville-style chicken to the Bay Area.

For more recommendations, check out our monthly guide to the Bay Area’s new must-try restaurants.

Hotbird returns to Oakland

Hotbird from San Francisco has moved to the Uptown neighborhood of Oakland. The spicy chicken spot, owned by Aaron Nam and Caleb Longacre, was a staple of Oakland’s First Fridays in 2017 before moving to a food truck and eventual kiosk in Twitter’s Mid-Market building. The restaurant, with a mural of a fire-breathing red chicken, specializes in Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches: crispy fried meat glazed with pepper-infused oil and served with a apple, a signature sauce and dill pickles on a buttered bun. Fish and chips, wings and cheddar grits topped with charred tomatoes and pickled corn salsa round out the menu. Beers for sale include IPAs from Berryessa Brewing Co. and black lager from Oakland Unite.

1951 Telegraph Avenue #2, Oakland. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

Old Damask Rose Coffee in Berkeley is owned by the same family behind Old Damascus Fare, which closed during the pandemic.

Janelle Bitker/The Chronicle

Former Syrian restaurateurs open a cafe

Pink paint and frilly flower sprigs adorn the former Jumpin’ Java space in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, now home to Damask Rose Coffee. The cafe serves the usual coffee drinks as well as specialty drinks such as rose lemonade and lattes. Pastry offerings include baklava, warbat (an Arabic pastry similar to baklava), and bird’s nest cradling pistachio toppings. The cafe is run by the former owners of Old Damascus Fare, one of the few Syrian restaurants in the Bay Area, which closed during the pandemic.

6606 Shattuck Ave, Oakland. 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Korean restaurant replaces Berkeley’s beloved Italian restaurant

Korean Superette opened its doors in the former Rivoli space on busy Solano Avenue in Berkeley. The mini-market and comfort food operation sell packets of instant ramen and homemade kimchi alongside mandu (dumplings), tofu stew and bulgogi. While its kitchen closes at 7:30 p.m., the market is open until 9 p.m., allowing home cooks to swoop in and grab banchan, Korean side dishes such as pickled radishes, to accompany their meals. The restaurant has retained Rivoli’s patio, allowing diners to eat inside or outside.

1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley. 11am-9pm daily, 510-529-4009

Distilled spirits to be won

The Richmond Dissident Spirits distillery, which produces craft rum, vodka, gin and uva acquavite, a grape-based liqueur, has opened a tasting room. If you’re lucky, you’ll stop by one day when the staff makes martinis and other cocktails with their alcohol in small quantities. The distillery team are currently experimenting with amaro and whisky, according to their Facebook page. Limited quantities of Dissident liquor are available for purchase.

855 Marina Bay Parkway, Richmond. 1-6 p.m. Thursday and Saturday.

Matcha soft serve ice cream at Uji Time, the Bay Area dessert chain that just opened in Concord.

Matcha soft serve ice cream at Uji Time, the Bay Area dessert chain that just opened in Concord.

Liz Moughon/The Chronicle 2018

Instagram-worthy desserts are coming to the suburbs

Bay Area dessert chain Uji Time has opened its sixth location in Concord. The shop is known for its taiyaki cones, where batter is poured into griddles shaped like open-mouthed fish. They’re topped with soft flavors including matcha, ube, black sesame and vanilla, with an option to fill the cone with red bean paste or Nutella. Regular cones and tofu-based ice cream are also available.

1679B Willow Pass Road, Concorde. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday to Saturday.

Tri-Valley gets a new Afghan place

The Afghan restaurant 786 Kabob House has opened its doors in a shopping center at the foot of Danville. The restaurant offers chapli skewers, made from ground beef mixed with fragrant spices, as well as house-marinated chicken, lamb and tripe. For dessert, there’s a regional version of baklava, as well as firni, an Afghani pudding flavored with cardamom and topped with pistachios.

3407 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

A new espresso bar is coming to Berkeley

Berkeley native Tommy Judt opened Line Coffee, which serves espresso drinks made from roasted beans in Vallejo. Drip and cold brew are also available. The Line Coffee also serves baked pastries daily, including croissants and empanadas, with vegan options sometimes available. For heartier dishes, there are caprese sandwiches, avocado toast, and deep sliced ​​quiches.

3001 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley. 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Gwendolyn Wu (her) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]

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