More pita, falafel, and hummus for California
South Bay-based SAJJ Mediterranean is set to rapidly grow its empire. SAJJ, which currently has seven fast-casual restaurants and two food trucks, just announced three new locations in development: San Jose, which will be the second location in the city, at 579 Coleman Avenue, Suite 60; San Ramon, the first in the East Bay, at 162 Sunset Drive; and Irvine, which will be the second in Orange County, at 6636 Irvine Center Drive. These restaurants should open in December, early 2019, and November 1, respectively. There are also plans to open 15 new locations by the end of 2019, and soon after that, to expand outside of California.
New izakaya in Berkeley
Ijo Izakaya is now open at 1463 Shattuck Avenue, the former Toyo Japanese Restaurant space. Ijo renovated the previously no-frills restaurant, adding a pale wood bar, shelves for sake, and a generally clean, minimalistic feel. Ijo offers a short sushi menu as well as a number of small plates like takoyaki (fried octopus balls) and kakuni (braised pork belly with boiled egg).
A quick switch in the Castro
Sofia Cafe quietly closed its doors after two years at 3463 16th Street. According to Hoodline, it should reopen in mid-October as Gai, a casual restaurant specializing in chicken and rice plates.
Big names coming to SF
In October, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco is hosting a few chef talks with some of the biggest names in the food world, including René Redzepi of noma and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi, who will both be town celebrating new books.