New year, new restaurant and bar openings to look forward to from wine country to the South Bay. While the pandemic and its impact on staffing and the supply chain continue to have a rippling impact on the hospitality industry, many much-anticipated and long-awaited projects continue to inch closer to completion. In just the first few weeks of 2022, the Bay Area stands to gain a Korean deli with made-in-house banchan and tofu; a fried chicken spot from one of the East Bay’s breakout star chefs; and a new destination for Russian cuisine in Noe Valley.
Beyond that, we’re eagerly anticipating the debut of a plant-based restaurant and wine bar in charming downtown Healdsburg, chef Nigel Jones’ community-minded Calabash coming to Oakland, and the debut of Cafe Ohlone’s new home on the UC Berkeley campus. Here are the most anticipated Bay Area restaurants of 2022.
It’s been a long time coming but Steve Joo appears to be just weeks away from debuting his hotly anticipated Korean deli Joodooboo in Oakland with an expected opening on January 12. Over the holidays, presales began for both banchan and tofu — but don’t fret if you missed the boat, there will be more monthly subscriptions available soon, according to the shop’s Instagram. Once open, there will be a few tables available for those who want to enjoy a meal of a protein, rice or soup, banchan, and kimchi on-site, Joo told Eater SF last fall. 4201 Market Street, Oakland.
Matt Horn has been pushing to get the doors open to his sophomore restaurant since last year, and now the fried chicken-focused soul food restaurant is just weeks away from opening. Drawing inspiration from old-school chicken shacks in the South, Kowbird will star bone-in buttermilk fried chicken along with classic sides like mac ’n cheese, green beans, slaw, and cabbage. 1733 Peralta Street, Oakland.
Birch & Rye
Russian cuisine lands in Noe Valley when Moscow-born chef Anya El-Wattar brings Birch & Rye to fruition. The modern restaurant will offer Georgia’s iconic dish, khachapuri, plus “‘elevated versions’ of potato salad, borscht, stroganoff, and other ‘modern Russian’ specialties,” Eater SF reported late last year. El-Wattar formerly cooked at Greens and will oversee the kitchen. 1320 Castro Street, San Francisco.
Heyday Pub & Bottle Club
Future Bars, the brains behind well-appointed Bay Area bars including the dark and swank speakeasy Bourbon & Branch and tiki oasis Pagan Idol, has another trick up its sleeve: Heyday Pub & Bottle Club will bring a touch of nostalgia to the Union Square Theater District with cocktails and pub fare inspired by the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. More details are coming soon but for now we know chef Matt Lowe (Saison) is consulting on the food, balanced by cocktails from General Manager Jayson Wilde (Bourbon & Branch, Bottle & Barlow, Raised by Wolves). 555 Geary Street, San Francisco.
Kyle and Katina Connaughton, the power couple behind Healdsburg’s Michelin-starred SingleThread, locked in much of the Little Saint leadership team in late 2021, tapping Akeel Shah, former SingleThread Service Director, as General Manager and bringing back SHED’s former Chef de Cuisine Bryan Oliver in the same role. The grand vision is for the landmark 10,000-square-foot space to house a 100 percent plant-based restaurant, cafe, and wine shop, plus an art gallery and performance space highlighting local artists. And with star designer Ken Fulk on board as creative director the project’s sure to open in style. 25 North Street, Healdsburg.
Chef Nigel Jones (Kingston 11) continues to battle permitting delays as he moves toward opening Calabash, his three-in-one restaurant created in partnership with fellow chef-owners Azalina Eusope (Mahila) and Hanif Sadr (Komaaj). The casual restaurant, located on the ground floor of the Alta Waverly apartments in Oakland, will be part market and part restaurant offering both grab-and-go meals and menus built around all three chefs’ cuisines — Jamaican, Malaysian, and Persian. Jones expects to have the space complete in the coming weeks, with an opening soon after. 2302 Valdez Street, Oakland.
Wholesaler Water2Table has been bringing the freshest sustainable seafood to many of San Francisco’s best restaurants for years, even pivoting to offer home delivery during the pandemic. But in the coming months, husband-and-wife team Joe and Andi Conte will expand with Seven Fishes, a full-service family-style restaurant dedicated to local seafood, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in December. They’ve yet to announce who will develop the menu as executive chef, but expect both prix-fixe and a la carte options. The restaurant will take over the former Locanda space in the Mission. 557 Valencia Street, San Francisco.
After closing at its previous location in March 2020, Cafe Ohlone will make its long-awaited return this spring at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology on the UC Berkeley campus. Partners Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino spent much of last year thoughtfully reimagining the space to be “uniquely Ohlone” with the results including a courtyard filled with native plants and art. According to the Cafe Ohlone website, the weekly offerings will include a Wednesday tea hour with locally gathered tea and small bites, a Thursday lunch tasting featuring seasonal Ohlone foods, and intimate dinners under the stars. On Sundays, look forward to multi-course brunch including both “old-time” and contemporary Ohlone offerings. Hearst Museum of Anthropology on the UC Berkeley campus.
Chef Anthony Salguero’s California-Salvadoran pop-up Popoca landed a permanent home in July last year, Berkeleyside reported. Salguero and partner Brandi Brown, former co-owner of Filipino bar and restaurant FOB Kitchen, plan to bring an all-day cafe to Oakland’s Dimond District, serving Central American pastries and coffee during daylight hours, then transitioning to a sit-down experience at night. In the after-hours, the space will once again flip into a drinking destination with a full cocktail menu and small bar bites. 3525 Fruitvale Avenue, Oakland.
Italian food hall and market Eataly will open its first Northern California outpost in 2022 inside Westfield Valley Fair mall. Details remain scant about what exactly to expect at the 51,000-square-foot Italian food mecca — but Eataly locations are known for both their mix of single-focus restaurants (think, pasta-focused Il Pastaio and seafood-driven Il Pesce) and numerous counters where shoppers can pick up everything from cheese and rotisserie-roasted chicken to fresh cannoli and focaccia. 2855 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Santa Clara.
As reported last year, breakout Bay Area bagel star Emily Winston purchased a sprawling industrial building in West Berkeley with plans to build out a second retail outpost and bagel factory for her fast-growing business. Winston, a self-taught bagel maker, has come a long way from baking in her Alameda kitchen and says the expansion will allow her to bring Boichik’s shiny East Coast-style bagels to more retail outposts throughout the Bay Area, plus expand the Boichik product line. Construction on the factory will likely take about a year but Winston plans to open the retail store as soon as possible. 1225 Sixth Street, Berkeley.
Update: January 4th, 2022, 3:22 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect that Anya El-Wattar is the only chef involved with Birch & Rye.