North Beach loses another classic
Albona Ristorante Istriano is closing at the end of the year, and with it goes San Francisco’s only restaurant specializing in the cuisine of Istria, a peninsula currently shared by Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy. Albona first opened in 1988, and it’s the latest in a string of longtime North Beach restaurants calling it quits, including Caffe Roma and Caffe Delucchi.
No more balls
After just seven months in business, the Hayes Valley post of the Meatball Bar has quietly closed. The restaurant served meatball dishes from around the world — and fans can still order them at the Meatball Bar’s original Financial District location, which remains open for now. The owners told Eater SF that they’re refocusing their efforts on their Doppio Zero restaurants.
Italian cafe swap
Downtown Berkeley cafe Piq — with its large patio and Italian baked goods — abruptly closed over the Thanksgiving holiday. But there are already plans for a new Italian cafe to take its place: Fabrizio Cercatore, co-owner of Emeryville pizza spot Hot Italian, the Passione Pizza crust company, and upcoming restaurant Emporio Passione, will open Passione Caffe as soon as next week at 91 Shattuck Square. It’ll serve coffee, light bites, pastas, and pizzas, and turn into an Italian wine bar at night.
Everything you need for a perfect picnic
This coming spring, East Bay farmers market stand Picnic is opening a brick-and-mortar at 862 San Pablo Avenue in Albany. The 1,000-square-foot space, which formerly housed Four Corners Cafe, will sell rotisserie chicken, porchetta, charcuterie, salads, fresh pastas, pickles, and other grab-and-go items. There are also plans to host weekly butchery classes in an open kitchen.
Drink beer for fire relief
Just because the smoke has cleared from the air doesn’t mean Bay Area businesses have stopped supporting Camp Fire relief efforts. Breweries, in particular, are rallying around Sierra Nevada’s efforts. Berkeley’s Trumer Brewery, for example, donated $100,000 to the Chico brewery’s fire relief fund. And San Francisco Brewing Co. is brewing Sierra Nevada’s Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the fund. More than 400 breweries across the nation are brewing that IPA today, and it’ll hit taps next month. San Francisco Brewing is hosting a fundraiser tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. to kick off the IPA production, with a portion of the food and beverage sales going to the Chico State Wildcats Rise Fire Recovery Fund.