Cauldron to bubble up from SoCal
Orange County-founded Cauldron, which is busy expanding to San Diego, is also franchising to head north to the Bay Area, where it will open five shops for photogenic, frozen-to-order ice cream in Santa Clara County. The first is opening in San Jose, with Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara next. Cauldron makes its ice cream in a fashion similar to SF’s Smitten, with liquid nitrogen, then dolls it up in shapes like flowers and packs it into the popular bubble waffle cones it calls “puffles.”
Primo Patio Cafe is closing after 25 years
Long-running outdoor Caribbean restaurant Primo Patio Cafe (214 Townsend between 3rd and 4th Streets) is closing Friday, December 22. The culprit is a usual suspect: High rent. The business has worked hard for years to keep up with it, but at $10 a plate for jerk chicken or red snapper, it’s not sustainable to continue any longer, owners say.
Longtime Alley Bar pianist Rob Dibble has died
Popular Oakland bar The Alley is remembering its well-loved piano player Rob Dibble, who has died after decades as a fixture at the bar, accompanying singers on the keys. “He kept The Alley, as well as the Great American Songbook alive by playing night-after-night, song-after-song, with singer-after-singer for the better part of 50 plus years,” a representative of the bar wrote in a Facebook remembrance yesterday.
Goat Hill Pizza’s return to Potrero
Closed for renovations this summer, Goat Hill Pizza has been quietly back open on Potrero Hill for a couple of months. The business is now shouting the news from the top of a proverbial mountain, encouraging diners to order delivery through its new website. Potrero neighbors of the 1975-founded business, which operates branches in SoMa and West Portal, are pouring back in for their usual all-you-can-eat-pizza Mondays, though some have lamented the physical changes to the space, including the removal of a popular salad bar. According to the restaurant, serious structural work could no longer be ignored, despite the charms of the aging facility, and the new setup helps sustain the business with an emphasis on delivery.
Mexican Cantina Del Sol will replace Cafe Eugene in Albany
Albany’s restaurant group 1100 Albany Group (The Star, Little Star Pizza) are pivoting on their Solano Avenue business Cafe Eugene, a Pacific Northwest-inspired restaurant whose last day will be NYE. They’ll soon replace the business with a Mexican restaurant from chef Luis Rodriguez, previously executive chef at Picante in Berkeley.