downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Category — dining

From comic books to Soul Train, the DTO celebrates this weekend

February 24, 2012

It seems that Spring has permanently sprung here in perpetually sunny Oakland. With First Friday just around the corner, there is no shortage of exciting events and new happenings in our downtown.

After WonderCon decided to decamp from the Oakland Convention Center (at the City Center Marriott, on 10th St) to larger digs in Anaheim, a group of community-loving comics creators decided to hold a gathering here in the DTO. Starting today, the Image Comics Expo runs through the weekend. Tonight, the Uptown (1928 Telegraph) hosts a welcome party, and fundraiser for the Comic Books Legal Defense Fund, starting at 8pm.

Diablo Magazine’s new issue rounds up all the latest restaurant news in downtown. The opening of Bittersweet Cafe on Broadway and the expansion of Beer Revolution are two highlights have haven’t been mentioned in this space before – but seeing everything lined up in one place is quite heartening. Quick update to the list – as of today, Le Cheval is operating from their original, remodeled space at 10th and Clay Streets.

Unmentioned in the magazine is the Night Light, which will open this Spring in the former Clancy’s space at 311 Broadway. The decor is beautiful, following a subtle nautical theme.

After the death of music and cultural hero Don Cornelius, a large Soul Train line formed in Times Square to celebrate his legacy. Inspired by that effort, a local group is asking for music fans to come to Henry Kaiser Park (19th off Telegraph) to mount what they’re hoping will be the world’s largest Soul Train line, on Saturday at noon. Hear from the organizers on their Facebook invite.

Uptown’s charming Entrez housewares boutique (1645 Telegraph) has moved to Walnut Creek, but its spirit will be celebrated this Sunday with a party benefiting the soon-to-open Urban Montessori School. A fundraising raffle will be accompanied by music, wine tasting by Periscope Cellars, and kid-friendly and craft activities. An after-party at Somar follows. Check out the details on Facebook.

Vitus (201 Broadway) and the Bay Area Pinball Blog welcome the debut of a new pinball machine with a tournament and party next Wednesday, Feb 29. The AC/DC machine will be greeted with a performance by the Dolomites. The tournament costs $5, starts at 5pm, and the deadline for registration is 8pm. Vitus’s four other machines, which include all-time best-seller Medieval Madness, will be available for non-tournament play.

See you on the pins!

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Saying adieu to Restaurant Week, and bonjour to new restaurants!

January 27, 2012

This is the last weekend of Oakland Restaurant week sponsored by Visit Oakland, the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Eateries throughout the city, including many downtown, offer prix-fix menus and good deals for diners.

The Chronicle reports that changes are coming to Michelin-recommended Uptown spot Hibiscus (1745 San Pablo). The restaurant, currently being remodeled, will switch to a more “family-friendly” menu intended to complement the successful dance club The New Parish, located in the same building. But fans of chef Sarah Kirnon’s Carribbean-inspired cuisine don’t need to despair – she is opening a new spot, called Miss Ollie’s, downtown this Spring. Downtowners don’t have to wait that long, because she’s hosting a special dinner tomorrow night at the Starline Social Club.

In other restaurant news, Ike’s Place (2204 Broadway), a popular gourmet sandwich spot with many vegan and vegetarian options, has joined the crowded intersection of Grand and Broadway, while next door, Bakesale Betty (2228 Broadway) is reopening its downtown location and plans to begin serving four days a week. And the San Francisco Business Times describes Haven in the context of the business plan for its Jack London Market Building.

Downtown’s favorite funkmeisters Damon and the Heathens are playing tonight at Cafe Van Kleef (1621 Telegraph) and tomorrow night at the Uptown (1928 Telegraph). And the DTO’s favorite dance party, the People Party, returns to The New Parish (579 18th St) tomorrow night. Swan’s Market (907 Washington St) is hosting a party for the Pop-Up Hood this evening from 6 to 9, and the Oakland Symphony performs Carmina Burana at the Paramount Theater (2201 Broadway) tonight.

Enjoy this sunny winter weekend!

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