A new Uptown hotel seats bar patrons on Telegraph, and plans to open a Cuban restaurant this summer
Since 2019, global hotel brand Marriott has been working to open The Moxy Oakland in Uptown, fueled by a generous tax credit intended to bring new lodging, restaurant, and entertainment venues to the area. Part of that plan includes a restaurant from a well-known local chef, and a bar with a vast outdoor patio, the latter of which is open now.
While bars are pretty common in urban hotels, cocktails seem central to the Moxy brand: according to the company website, guests check in at the bar, where they’re handed “a complimentary cocktail to go along with your room key.” But in these days of restricted travel, a hotel bar can’t rely on guests to fill its seats. That’s probably one of the reasons why the bar at the Moxy — which started serving guests in April — is open onto Telegraph Avenue “on nice days,” in an effort to attract passers-by as foot traffic returns to the area.
Bar patrons also have access to the hotel’s lobby, lounge, and big outdoor patio, which has an expansive view of downtown. So far, the food menu has yet to be finalized, but the cocktails are reportedly strong and well-crafted (just keep in mind that for now, Alameda County’s health orders require a food purchase with a drink order). Bar Moxy is open until 9 p.m. nightly.
By summertime, Moxy guests will have another option for meals. Oakland chef Daniel Brajkovic, the co-owner of Caña and the since-shuttered Taza de Café, is slated to open a Cuban restaurant called La Palabra in the hotel, with a menu of (per its website) West coast-style Cuban food “using post-modern approaches … while keeping the classic, unmistakable of Cuban cooking preserved.” Right now, the plan is to open La Palabra later this summer. Bar Moxy and La Palabra, 2225 Telegraph Ave (at Grand Avenue), Oakland
Red Bay Coffee opens a huge new cafe inside a Fruitvale bank building
Six years ago, Nosh followed a crowdfunding campaign from Keba Konte, an artist and food entrepreneur who hoped to open a mission-driven cafe called Red Bay Coffee inside a shipping container at Uptown Oakland’s Hive. That campaign was successful and, in the years that followed, Konte opened several more locations, including a spot in the Berkeley Farmers Market and, as of 2016, a roastery inside a converted factory at 3098 E 10th St.
Back in 2019, Konte announced a plan to move Red Bay’s HQ to 3136 International Blvd., a three-story, 11,000-square-foot former bank. Though Konte told Daily Coffee News that, eventually, the structure would also be home to a cafe, the building didn’t officially serve customers until Monday, when it hosted a grand opening with a mariachi band, lion dancers, and an African drum circle, the SF Chronicle reported.
According to Eater SF, the cafe space was designed by Red Bay’s Chief of Brand Rachel Konte (she’s Keba’s wife), with a long counter “with an astounding number of electrical outlets” intended to keep patrons around for a while. At open, pastries are provided by a partner, but the intention is to eventually bake those in house and distribute them to all of Red Bay’s locations.
Konte tells the Chron that he considers the new cafe Red Bay’s first “state-of-the-art coffee shop experience” and says the he expects the building to be “a community hub cultivating Black and brown entrepreneurs.” Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Red Bay Coffee, 3136 International Blvd. (at Fruitvale Avenue), Oakland
MeloMelo Kava Bar and Shiba Ramen return after lengthy closures
If the news of a hotel opening wasn’t enough to suggest that the pandemic is beginning to lessen its grip on society, perhaps these two reopenings will seal the deal: MeloMelo Kava Bar’s Berkeley location will reopen on April 16, and Shiba Ramen’s Downtown Oakland spot resumed service on April 9.
MeloMelo, a mini-chain that says it’s the first to bring a menu of hand-pressed kava root drinks to the Bay Area, closed its Berkeley shop for renovations in December, it announced on Instagram at the time. (Its Santa Cruz and Oakland locations remained open.) Owner Skyler Ruderman told Nosh that the refresh includes “painting, deep cleaning, and refreshing our plant wall so that the plants are happier and the wall is more vibrant.”
Shiba Ramen’s Emeryville Public Market restaurant has been open for much of the pandemic, but the Downtown Oakland location of this casual Japanese spot temporarily closed several months ago. Via Instagram, the restaurant said that it reopened last Saturday with indoor dining and takeout service. Hours of operation are limited for now, but will expand “as the neighborhood comes back to life.” MeloMelo Kava Bar, 1701 University Ave. (at McGee Avenue), Berkeley and Shiba Ramen, 1438 Broadway (near 14th Street), Oakland
A slew of East Bay restaurants are participating in an April 17 day of action to oppose anti-Asian racism
Spurred by the recent rise in attacks on people with Asian and Pacific Islander heritage, the founders of Alameda-based Almanac Beer Company started reaching out to local businesses last month, asking if they’d like to join a one-day drive to generate support for AAPI non-profits and businesses. A look at Almanac’s website shows the results: as of publication time, 73 Bay Area bars and restaurants have taken a pledge to join an April 17 effort to pull in cash for donations like the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation and Oakland food biz boosters Good Good Eatz, host pop-ups for small, Asian-owned businesses, and host anti-racism trainings for staffers.
One standout participant in Saturday’s event is Oakland Israeli restaurant Pomella, which will be home to a pop-up from Asian-owned ice cream business Chunky Butt. From 12-3 p.m., folks can line up for half pints of Chunky Butt’s stracciatella swirl (vanilla custard with dark chocolate shards, wine-roasted strawberry swirl, chocolate cake and Italian meringue), as well as for their coco mango tarts. (Preorders are advised for the stracciatella swirl, the tarts are an in-person order only).
Meanwhile, Almanac’s 30,000 square foot naval hangar turned taproom will be home to three pop-ups, with blooms from Lunaria Flower Farm, dumplings from Kristina Cho and desserts from Thuy’s Treats. Almanac will also donate 20% of their sales for the day to AAPI Women Lead. Pomella, 3770 Piedmont Ave. (near MacArthur Boulevard), Oakland and Almanac Beer Co., 651 Unit B West Tower Ave. (at Pan Am Way), Alameda
Wingen Bakery is gearing up to open in Downtown Livermore
Once the pastry chef at Oakland restaurant Homestead, Amy Wingen struck out on her own last year, starting a market-based sourdough goods business called Wingen Bakery. In February, things got serious: Wingen announced via Instagram that she had bought nine-year-old French-style bakery Casse-Croute, and has been rehabbing its Downtown Livermore storefront ever since.
The sign for the new spot went up last month, and now Wingen is hiring, which suggests that its opening is close, indeed. Follow Wingen’s Instagram for an opening date, and until then, you can still nab her bagels, bread, and more at the Livermore Farmers Market this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wingen Bakery, 50 S Livermore Ave. (near First Street), Livermore