A few food & drink announcements since our last update in November including the highly anticipated grand opening of Five Guys, the sad closure of two Public Market favorites, the latest addition to the Bay Street Dining Terrace and an update on Delirama Jr. slated to open next to Wolfhound.
Five Guys Grand Opening
The Emeryville Five Guys will soon host their Grand Opening after signing a lease about a year ago. The east coast founded burger chain will occupy the former Taco Bell Space between Nordstrom Rack and Home Depot.
They had initially anticipated opening at the end of 2023 but have experienced a variety of permitting delays. The latest delay is with their fire alarm permit which has required some modifications from the previous tenant.
Franchise owners James Kahn and his brother Billal now operate 10 Five Guys Burger locations in the greater Bay Area including six in Contra Costa County. This will be their first in Alameda County where they were both raised.
James noted they had explored other locations in Emeryville before settling on this spot. “It has a lot of parking, good egress and we expect a good lunchtime crowd.” The space of course has no drive-through but Five Guys partners with delivery services like Door Dash and Uber Eats.
“We’re excited to put our footprint down here in Emeryville and we’re already looking to expand to other neighboring cities,” Kahn noted. “Every time we’re working, folks peak in and ask when we’re gonna open,” Kahn noted. “I think we’re going to have a great reception by the community!”
Five Guys is tentatively scheduled to open on February 29 with an outside chance, if everything goes perfectly, to open February 22. They will likely hold a two day soft opening with limited hours and menu items.
2/29 UPDATE: The Emeryville Five Guys Grand Opening is being held up by fire alarm permitting. “We were told timeline is 2-3 weeks and is done by an outside firm so don’t really have a way to get updates until permit is approved and ready to be issued.”
Shiba Ramen & The Periodic Table Shutter
The Periodic Table and Shiba Ramen abruptly announced they would cease operations at The Public Market. Their final days of operation were February 4th & 5th respectively.
The food stalls are adjacent to each other and both operated by proprietor Jake Freed and his wife Hiroko.
Many patrons expressed sadness when shared on social media and that the Ramen was among their favorites. “No! That spicy ramen was my favorite,” noted one regular whose sentiments seemed to be echoed by many others.
Shiba was among the first new tenants to sign a lease at the renovated Public Market after they were acquired by City Center Realty Partners in 2013.
In 2017, Jake & Hiroko opened The Periodic Table, a small taproom that also served Japanese Whiskies.
At the time, there was a lot of momentum behind the Marketplace with a New Seasons grocery store coming in and plans to develop the two vacant parcels across Shellmound St. As we know, New Seasons pulled out and development on the adjacent parcels has stalled.
Then the pandemic hit in early 2020.
Both Shiba locations survived the initial Pandemic but foot traffic was slow to return to downtown Oakland and they opted to close in 2022. “We were doing probably about 10% of what we were pre-pandemic,” noted Freed whose day-job is in law.
Freed was more optimistic about his Emeryville business returning to pre-pandemic levels but the lunch crowds that helped sustain his restaurant plateaued.
Inflation on ingredients has also been a killer necessitating noticeable menu price increases.
“Neither of us as owners were taking a salary. After taxes, labor, ingredients and rent, there was nothing left. Despite some rent concessions by The Public Market during the pandemic, the economics were no longer working,” Freed lamented. “We’re sad to leave Emeryville! I spent three nights a week there with my family for years,” noting that his son still takes lessons at the nearby Guitar Center.
“We are out of the restaurant business,” Freed noted when asked if he might ever resurrect Shiba or TPT. “Certainly we’d never say never. We could imagine trying to reboot The Periodic Table in a more suitable location for that concept at some point in the future, but it’s hard to imagine doing another standalone ramen shop.”
Delirama Jr. Pivoting?
Delirama, renowned for their house-made Pastrami, announced the surprise closure of their Berkeley location on January 23 through instagram. “The truth is that what I was trying to do was impossible and the longer I did it the more apparent it became,” Owner Cash Caris lamented in the post. “Running a business should be first and foremost about making a profit but for me it’s wasn’t about the money as much as it was about my love for the craft.”
The abrupt closure caused concern that this would impact their highly anticipated North Oakland location, slated to be named “Delirama Jr.”
Caris explained that he’s still under lease with the North Oakland location next to The Wolfhound but it may not open as Delirama Jr. as originally intended. “It might not be called Delirama or Delirama Jr, [and it] might not serve pastrami,” Caris noted. “But it will be a restaurant!”
The unnamed restaurant and Wolfhound will be connected via an internal window and there are plans to serve breakfast and fresh-brewed coffee to patrons of both establishments.
ICYMI: Saucy Asian Grand Opening
Saucy Asian is the latest food establishment to open in Bay Street’s revamped upstairs “Dining Terrace.” They are located between Barnes & Noble and the AMC ticketing window.
They held their grand opening on January 13 giving out free bowls to the first 100 guests. A line formed around the corner to take advantage of the offer.
Menu items include poke bowls and a variety of California-inspired fusion burritos and tacos and unique blends of sauces and flavors from kimchi-chipotle aioli and homemade gochujang sauce to Korean styled pickled jalapeños and fried rice cake (ddeokbokki) drizzled with gochujang aioli.
Hour of operation:
M-F: 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
S & S: 12-8 p.m.