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Walnut Creek Magazine

WHAT'S IN STORE: New Retailers and Restaurants

Apr 15, 2021 03:06PM ● By Harper Klein
Downtown Next
Cities across the Bay Area are contemplating what to do next with the temporary outdoor dining footprints on public streets that kept restaurants and bars in business during the pandemic. Walnut Creek’s economic development team extended the city’s “Rebound Program” to August 31, 2021, but beyond then it is unclear how the city will move forward. Weigh in with your thoughts and opinions on this survey from the City of Walnut Creek by April 27. 

"Things are a long way from back to normal yet,” said one restaurant owner.“We know that without restaurants and bars outdoors, our city would be dead.”

Not so long ago in pre-pandemic times, restaurants and bars had to go through a tedious permitting process and pay hefty fees to place a few tables or chairs on the sidewalk or build a parklet. On May 4, the Walnut Creek City Council will consider recommendations from city staff and take public comment on a path forward that makes programmatic adjustments to ensure equity and includes feedback from businesses impacted by limited meter parking and closed streets.

New Businesses Coming to Town
It’s a testament to Walnut Creek’s growing cache’ in the real estate world that so many furniture brands have chosen to open here. American furniture chain, Ethan Allen, leased the vacant
H & M space at Liberty Plaza, joining the growing mix of interior design stores for shoppers downtown. Main Street is getting a new barbecue spot—Diablo Grills is opening in the former Joseph A. Banks building. And just down the block, Hawaiian Mercantile opened a new shop. National health club chain, Planet Fitness, is rumored to have leased the 19,044-square-foot Cost Plus World Market space at Olympia Place on the corner of Mt. Diablo and California.
Restaurant & Bar Buzz
Now that coronavirus restrictions are easing up, many bars and restaurants are coming out of hibernation. A sign on the window at Bierhaus publicizes plans for the German-style gastropub to reemerge in May. Galpao Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse, which never pivoted to outdoor dining or takeout, has reopened on Bonanza Street. Meat lovers can find 17 different cuts carved tableside with a range of sides and salads.  The wine is flowing once more at Buono Vino. Just in time to celebrate seven years, the dynamic duo, Dan and Katie, made it through the pandemic with membership-driven bottle sales and a tasting patio outback.

After years with extraordinarily little Mexican food, Taqueria Limon 3 joins the ever-growing list of Walnut Creek eateries catering to the taco crowd. Now open at Olympia Place in the former Chicken & Waffles space, the fast-casual spot will soon be joined by Five Tacos & Beers on Locust Street. Pinole build-your-own taco favorite Que Onda Taco Shop is opening a second location at Sprouts Marketplace in early April, the East Bay Times reports.

Cool cocktails, small plates, and Bahn mis are on the menu at ExpectAsian, a new fusion eatery on Main Street with outdoor dining on the mini plaza. The owners of Manakish Oven are rumored to have extravagant plans to remodel the former Chilis space on Locust Street into Ostro, an Italian restaurant and rooftop bar.

Walnut Creek has no shortage of burger joints, but when we announced on Instagram that Shake Shack is coming to town, devotees of the fast-food chain went crazy. Mabey it’s the secret sauce, melty American cheese, griddled patties, and pillowy rolls that make it a cult favorite.

54 Mint’s Danielle Cortsano opened a casual Italian snack spot, Casa Barotti, on College in Oakland. The “spizzicheria" is getting rave reviews for pizza by the slice, focaccia, and arancini.

Longtime fans of Prima Ristorante can look forward to the triumphant return of Chef Peter Chastain at Via Del Corso in Berkeley. Chastain is bringing beloved Corso back with two longtime Prima staffers, Chef Massimo Orlando and general manager Marco Penitenti. Meanwhile, Table at 7 leased the former Prima space on Main Street. Born out of a partnership with Singapore’s Kopitiam Killiney and Oakland Chef Nora Haron the innovative menu will have a Indonesian/Singaporean flair and include Haron’s signature dishes. Ayana Retail brokered the deal.

we just found out that a new restaurateur leased the Prima space. And no it’s not Italian food, stay tuned.

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