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Walnut Creek Magazine

Walnut Creek Restaurant News: Openings, Closings & Coming Attractions

Jan 12, 2023 02:58PM ● By Harper Klein

In 2021 we saw Walnut Creek restaurants make a strong comeback, aided by the city’s flexible outdoor dining policy and the opening of new eateries like the wildly popular Dumpling Hours and French-Italian bistro La Fontaine. While 2022 started off slowly, spring ushered in the Latin-Caribbean hot spot Lita and spicy chicken sando sensation World Famous Hot Boys. The El Charro1947 Mexican restaurant on Broadway rebranded to Bar Camino, and after a short stint as Onigilly, Fremont favorite De Afghanan Kabob House returned to its original home on Locust Street.  

De Afghanan Kabob House


And many more openings—healthy salad chain sweetgreen, fast-casual Med food eateries Nick the Greek and The Kebab Shop, East Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Ygnacio Plaza, Plucked Chicken at The Orchards, Buon Vino wine bar downtown, plus Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Taqueria El Jardin, and Crumbl Cookies in Rossmoor Shopping Center, and a new place for pastries, European Delights, at Citrus Marketplace.


We closed the chapter on 2022 with some notable openings. Chef Daniele Carsano transformed his 54 Mint trattoria into the hit Roman style pinseria Montescaro (pictured above) with partner Chef Gianluca Legrottaglie. Similar to pizza, pinsa is a crispy flatbread with a soft inside and creative combinations like sausage, burrata, and artichokes on top. An extensive wine and cocktail list, as well as pasta and steak, also grace the menu.

Elia Walnut Creek restaurant interior


Pleasanton-based Elia opened a second location on Locust Street serving fresh, seasonal Greek flavors. The space is as vibrant as the cocktails poured from behind the bar. Lunch and dinner begin with a range of mezethes—Greek classics like tzatziki and spanakopita, plus grilled octopus and roasted prawns in elevated presentations. Keeping with the authentic theme is a filet mignon souvlaki, grilled kefthedes, moussaka, and a whole sea bass.  


Walnut Creek is patiently waiting for Danny Meyer’s popular burger mega-chain to open on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. After multiple delays, the Shake Shack smash patties, epic sauce, and crinkle-cut fries are coming to town any day now. The restaurant also serves grilled hot dogs, crispy chicken sandwiches, frozen custard shakes, and other sweet treats. 


Regency Center’s Ygnacio Plaza scored exciting new tenants. Mendocino Farms is bringing gourmet sandwiches and farm-fresh salads to the former Chase Bank building, across the street from Heather Farm Park. 

Korean-style chicken and waffles, eggs Benedict, and French Toast top the list of San Jose's go-to spot for sweet and savory breakfast and lunch options. Coming soon to Walnut Creek, The Breakfast Club at Midtown is taking the former Yalla space at Ygnacio Plaza.  

Businesses that have been in the works for months, and in some cases years, are nearing their debuts. From modern Indonesian cuisine at SanDai to Italian pizza and pasta at Melo’s to Mexican food at 5 Tacos & Beers, several new Walnut Creek restaurants are opening this spring.


Just a year after opening at Broadway Plaza, in a recent social media post Sakimoto Sushi Lounge announced it had closed. “As many of you know it's been a very difficult year due to the Broadway Plaza street closure and the major gym construction. We found a new location on Main Street. More details to follow once we sign the lease.” 

After fourteen years at The Mercer, The Counter ended its Walnut Creek burger legacy in a Facebook post, “We are nearing the end of our lease. Unfortunately, rising costs and prohibitive future occupancy costs, have made it impractical to continue.” And on Main Street, Guava Island Eats and Expect Asian also shut their doors. 

More change is anticipated over the next few months when 35-year-old Casper’s Hot Dogs closes at Newell Plaza and PF Chang’s China Bistro closes at Broadway Plaza.

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