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Walnut Creek Magazine

Restaurant Scene

Jun 01, 2017 08:59PM ● By Cale Finta


Big and small, a host of new restaurants are opening and others are getting makeovers. Here’s the latest scoop on the local food world.

A big dining room, weekend brunch, new dishes, and waited table service are all part of owner Bahman Tehrani’s ambitious plans to expand LETTUCE.  (Pro Home Systems moved one door down to make way for the project.)

The fresh food wizards at MAIN STREET KITCHEN are at it again, this time working on roomier digs—by doubling the size of their current restaurant—and adding a new line-up of items to the menu.

Plans for downtown’s buzzy food hall project, THE FOUNDRY, are taking shape. While no specifics yet on food purveyors, developer Brian Hirahara says he’s checking out different spins around the country. Given his track record at 1500 Mt. Diablo, Sasa and Va de Vi, we have no doubt he will deliver in style.

Kamikaze fries, short ribs bowls and Zen tacos, oh my. The Japanese-Korean chain KOJA KITCHEN opened its first Contra Costa County outpost in the former Citra Grill space on Olympic Boulevard.

After an eight month hiatus, Salvatore is back as BENVENUTI (which means ‘welcome’ in Italian.) The classic trattoria menu features local favorites, like lasagna and gnocchi, along with some new seasonal fare.

Bad news for IN-N-OUT BURGER fans…Hall Equities Group pulled the plug on the project at 2nd and Main. Citing neighbors’ “concerns and anxiety," as the reason on the company’s website. “We will come forward with a new application for the site in the near future," said CEO Mark Hall. "Our next proposal may not be the most dynamic, or high profile, but it will be a low-impact good neighbor."

Speaking of burgers, BURGER LOUNGE unleased its latest location in The Orchards. Grass-fed burgers (only $7.99) come topped with organic grilled onions and white cheddar cheese. They also do poultry, fish and veggie burgers. 

Southern California-based OKE POKE is opening next to Mr. Lucky’s on Locust Street. The classic Hawaiian dish mixes up customized bowls of raw fish, noodles, veggies, and tasty sauces.


Japanese street food is coming to the Avalon on Treat. Tonli Kitchen (from the owners of the popular food truck) will be dishing up dumplings, gyoza, ramen and curry. Arigatō!

We were crushed when Le Bistro, followed by Ottavio, closed their doors. Now a French-Vietnamese restaurant, LA SEN BISTRO, is opening in the same spot. Classics like escargot, steak tartare and salad nicoise, get a modern twist. Bon apetit!

Exciting news for coffee lovers. PHILZ COFFEE is opening a café in the CVS plaza on California Street. Famous for brewing “one cup at a time”, coffee is blended to each customer’s tastes. We can’t wait to find out what all the buzz is about!

Going to a boba tea café is an adventure. You choose your base, flavors, and toppings. The combinations are endless—and so are the number of tea spots opening downtown. T4 Tea for U on Main Street makes number four.

A new jazz lounge, IMPULSE ROOM, opened downtown in late April catering to the ‘upscale 21 and over crowd’ with live performances and dancing Tuesday-Saturday nights. Between 5:30-7:30pm, the $18 cover charge comes with a catered complimentary buffet.As previously reported, joining the downtown culinary scene this summer are three new hot spots: LOKANTA, (Mediterranean) and LIMON ROTISSERIE (Peruvian) on Locust, and GOTT’S ROADSIDE (American) on Main Street. Plus, Westcoast fish house PACIFIC CATCH is not far behind

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