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Despite Community Pushback, Popular Berkeley Tapas Bar César Will Close July 23

Plus, legendary local restaurateur Willie Ng expands all the way to Elk Grove and more food news

Cesar restaurant in Berkeley, located at 1515 Shattuck Ave. Photo By LIZ HAFALIA/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Following several months of drama, 24-year-old East Bay restaurant and bar César announced this week it will close for good on July 23, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Spanish tapas bar is located at 1515 Shattuck Avenue, next door to legendary Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse, which has been subleasing space to César for the past two-and-half-or-so decades. In January, however, Berkeleyside broke the news that Chez Panisse declined to renew César’s lease in order to take over the space and open a new restaurant and bar.

Almost immediately, neighbors and César fans voiced opposition to Chez Panisse’s expansion plans; a petition titled Save César Berkeley has gained more than 4,000 signatures to date. But as the Chronicle points out, July 23 won’t be the end of César’s legacy. Not only does the restaurant operate a sister business Bar César at 4039 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, but the owners also appear to be on the hunt for a new location to reopen — though they’re not sharing any details at this point.

Legendary Bay Area dim sum dynasty expands to Elk Grove

The Palette Group — as in the restaurant group behind legendary Bay Area dim sum destinations Palette Tea House, Dragon Beaux, and Koi Palace — is expanding east, all the way to the soon-to-open Sky River Casino in Elk Grove. According to a press release, the casino will feature a restaurant and bar called the Market, which will bring a dozen food and beverage options under one roof. So far the impressive lineup includes the Palette Group’s Dragon Beaux, plus Koi Palace Express and FUKURO By KRU, a new restaurant from the well-regarded Sacramento chef behind Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine, Fish Face Poke Bar, and Kodaiko Ramen and Bar.

Gourmet popcorn shop to open in Hayes Valley

Hayes Valley is getting a new snack option in the quirkily named Fluff Nugget, which will take over the space at 432 Octavia Street, near Linden. According to a press release, the gourmet popcorn shop comes from the folks behind Vino Volo wine bar with made-to-order popcorn served in cones “with handy tongs and loaded with fresh toppings.” The flavors do sound intriguing: Chorizo & Cheddar, Strawberry Meringue, and Chocolate Aztec Chili, plus seasonal options like Pistachio Pesto.

Cones of popcorn from Fluff Nugget. Brittany Hosea-Small

Massive new Embarcadero restaurant is now open

And by the way: Terrene, the “massive restaurant” inside the new 1 Hotel San Francisco on the Embarcadero opened earlier this month. As the Chronicle reported earlier this year, it boasts an impressive 221 seats including an outdoor patio. Executive Chef Scott Koranda aims to highlight “local, fresh, organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients,” per the restaurant’s website.

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