Hometown Heroes Sports Bar, Likha Filipino-American Kitchen Soft Opening

Published On May 21, 2018 | By Rob Arias | Food & Drink, In the Neighborhood, Local Businesses

Just in time for another Warriors playoff run, a new sports bar is coming to Emeryville’s Triangle neighborhood. Just as exciting is that they will be incorporating the innovative Filipino influenced bar fare of Likha Kitchen. Likha has previously been operating as a rotating food pop-up.

Hometown Heroes announced that they’d be taking over the former Propaganda space on the corner of 40th and Adeline back in March. Since then, they’ve been diligently working on tweaks to the space.

“The one thing we liked about this space was we didn’t have to do much,” noted De’Andre Smith who is one of four main partners in the venture. “We added some TV’s, expanded the liquor selection, added some new furniture …”

Members of HH’s ownership group including De’Andre Smith (far right). “What’s my favorite word?” is of course a lyric from East Oakland Native Too Short’s 2006 hit “Blow the Whistle”.

Former patrons of Propaganda will recognize the bar and dining space layout. Hometown Heroes has incorporated some of their own personality including a wall of classic vinyl records and sports themed poster art. Hometown Heroes also hopes to take better advantage of the spots’ patio area in the coming summer months.

HH has not finalized its Beer & Cocktails menu but expect a list of classic and signature cocktails as well as craft beers. Smith also notes that HH will rotate various musical ‘tribute nights’ profiling favorite artists like Prince and Drake.

While Hometown Heroes’ South City location has more of a SF team influence, the Emeryville location will have more of an East Bay theme with decor reflective of our side of the bay including the A’s, Raiders and of course Warriors. They’ll also sell local themed merchandise.

Smith noted there’s been a huge welcoming by the neighborhood so far “A lot of neighbors have popped by and we’ve invited them in. It seems everyone is pretty excited about us!”

Likha’s Jan Dela Paz and Bobby Punla.

Likha Filipino-American Kitchen

Probably getting the most buzz about the venture is what’s happening in the kitchen. Likha is the partnership of Oakland’s Ramen Shop alumni Jan Dela Paz and Bobby Punla. Punla being born and raised in nearby Richmond and Dela Paz born in the Philippines. “He told me about his pop-up and we bonded over our heritage,” noted Punla. “We ended up hitting it off.”

Likha translates as “to create” in Tagalog. Their mission, according to their website, is to share their culture through delicious, fresh food using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.

Filipino food has never quite caught on the same way other Southeast Asian cuisines have including Thai and Vietnamese. Dela Paz and Punla are hoping to help change that by exposing the unfamiliar with Filipino flavors and staples beyond lumpia. While the flavors will draft off “traditional” Filipino recipes, the items will be fused with french techniques and American favorites like their spam sliders shown below.

Jan & Bobby note that most of their fare will be catered to a sports bar crowd with smaller finger foods. “It’s all about adjusting, adapting,” added Dela Paz. “We’re learning!”

In addition to the items listed above on their soft-opening menu, they’ve teased others on their Facebook page include chicken adobo fried rice, chicharron with adobo spices and lechon kawali with chicken liver mousse. They will also be incorporating vegetarian options.

“Spam Sliders” are among the menu items that Likha will serve (Source: Likha Facebook Page).

Jan & Bobby acknowledged how supportive the Ramen Shop owners were in helping promote and encourage their venture. “They were really supportive. They pushed us,” said Punla.

They are hoping to continue building awareness of their cuisine with their hearts set on eventually opening a full-service restaurant preferably in the East Bay.

Hometown Heroes will have sporadic hours initially mostly coinciding with game days. The Grand Opening with regular hours and a full menu is expected to be June 1st.


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About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

One Response to Hometown Heroes Sports Bar, Likha Filipino-American Kitchen Soft Opening

  1. Phil Epstein says:

    Nice, looking forward to both of these! Thanks for the informative article, good pictures and layout

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