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The Restaurateur Behind Oakland’s Xolo Is Opening a New Taqueria Called La Esquinita

Plus, a fintech company opens an exclusive lounge, and more Bay Area food intel

Thomas Schnetz, the restaurateur behind Xolo, Dona Tomas, Tacubaya and Flora, will open a new restaurant in Rockridge.
Dona Tomas
Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

A new taqueria is coming to the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, with a familiar East Bay restaurateur name attached: Thomas Schnetz of Xolo and, formerly, Tacubaya says he’s opening a new restaurant called La Esquinita at 5400 College Avenue, located in the former Filippo’s space. Starting the restaurant with him are two longtime employees, Jorge Rosales and Juan Zarate, Jr., who have both worked with Schnetz’s at other restaurants including Xolo, Tacubaya, Doña Tomas, and Flora in the past.

It won’t be a redux of Schnetz’s other restaurants, he promises, but there will be a little bit of overlap in that this new space will also offer tacos and burritos. But, with this restaurant, he says the team is hoping to offer items such as albondigas tacos, fish tacos with salsa Veracruzana, and homemade chorizo with papas — although that menu is still in the process of being finalized. If everything goes smoothly, the restaurant will open in late May or June.

Eat BBQ for charity

Not everyone needs an excuse to eat barbecue, but if you’re looking for one, BBQ Without Borders is holding a one-night fundraiser with live music and locally-known chefs at the Oakland Museum of California on Saturday, May 13. The Mercury News has the details, and chefs Rounak Dumra of Wah Jee Wah restaurant, Lilian Duran of Clandestina Cocina, and Tadayuki Furui of now-shuttered Family Cafe, will all contribute their own versions of barbecue for this event. Tickets are now available, and proceeds will go toward No Immigrants No Spice’s Resilience Fund.

Chick-fil-A set to open in Emeryville

The favorite (yet reviled) fast food chain built on chicken sandwiches is opening in a prime spot in Emeryville on Thursday, April 27, the E’ville Eye reports. The E’ville Eye captured some of the opposition to the chain as patrons continue to question Chick-fil-A’s business owner over previous donations to groups that opposed same-sex marriage and practiced conversion therapy.

Expensify opens an exclusive 16th-floor bar

Look, we’re not really sure why a fintech firm would open a bar either, but Expensify is going for it, and with some aplomb: Enter this 16th-floor lounge that Expensify’s website denotes as “a ‘high-end airport lounge’ meets a vibrant ‘co-working space.’” The lounge has already been open to Expensify employees for a bit, but as of Monday, April 24 is now available to clients and guests, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Expect complimentary snacks, coffee, cocktails, and — wait for it — a daily sunset Champagne sabering.