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Walnut Creek Magazine

Bay Area Restaurateurs Expand to Walnut Creek

Sep 10, 2021 02:46PM ● By Harper Klein

If you thought you wouldn’t see any restaurant openings anytime soon, we've got news for you. Bay Area restauranteurs are expanding to Walnut Creek and bringing with them diverse cuisines and global flavors. 

In one of the fastest pivot projects downtown, a new xiao long bao—aka soup dumplings—spot opened in the former on Main Street. Locals are lining up at Dumpling Hours for everything from boiled shrimp dumplings to Dan Dan noodles.

Speaking of quick shifts, Onigilly is slated to open its sixth gourmet rice ball eatery in the recently closed De Afghanan Kabob House on Locust Street. The portable seaweed wraps are made from scratch and stuffed with fresh fillings. 

NOW OPEN: Look for Japanese rice and udon noodle bowls topped with delicious things like wagu beef, katsudon, and tempura at Bay Area fast casual Kokolo Donburi & Bar at 1251 S. California Boulevard in the former Baja Fresh location next to Habit Burger. Small plates include fried chicken and gyoza with sake and beer on tap. 

Walnut Creek’s sweet boba tea and mochi donut offerings will expand in the coming weeks with the arrival of Bober Tea in Plaza Escuela and Third Culture Bakery’s Matcha Café at 1310 S. California

Salad sensation sweetgreen is opening in the vacant Maximillian Fur store on Locust. And just down the street, look for Mediterranean favorite, Nick the Greek coming to Plaza Escuela with tasty meat gyros blanketed in tzatiki and accompanied with fries.  

The iconic Main Street eatery, Mel's Diner, closed last month. It will re-emerge with a new look and menu before the end of the year as World Famous Hot Boys

Loyalists were heartbroken when chef Peter Chastain closed Prima Ristorante, but quickly emerged at Via del Corso in Berkeley. Since we’re sharing good news, Prima Vini Wine Merchants opened a second location in Dublin. Other than the Prima sign coming down, progress on the new Table 7 and Killiney Kopitiam Singaporean eateries is moving slowly. Taking the former Bombay space next door is Mediterranean restaurant Sultan’s Kebab which is now open. 

If you need a taco fix, the list of Walnut Creek taquerias continues to grow. While we’re waiting for Albany’s 5 Tacos and Beer to open its Locust Street location, two more Mexican restaurants popped up. On Geary Road, Que Onda Taco Bar took over the former Freebirds Burrito space with a Chipotle-style food bar and Concord’s popular Taqueria La Plaza moved to Palos Verdes Mall where it’s getting rave reviews. In other news, one of the city's oldest taco spots, La Fogata, announced it has closed its doors for good.

An upscale French Italian bistro has snagged the recently closed Burma Unique restaurant space on Broadway. A second location for Mountain View’s La Fontaine is expected to open this fall.

Got food news? Email us at [email protected].

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