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July Food & Drink Updates: Five Guys Coming; Touch of Soul to former Monster Pho Space; Amazon Fresh?

3 mins read

Some noteworthy food & drink news in and around Emeryville since our last update in June. We also recently reported on a flurry of Bay Street activity including the planned opening of a Philz Coffee.

Touch of Soul moving into former Monster Pho Space

The Emeryville Monster Pho, who have been closed for two years, recently listed the location for sale on LoopNet for $100,000. Monster Pho continues its growth in other cities and recently opened a SoMa Food Court location in SF. Their delicious Pho is still available at their Oakland 40th Street location and through delivery.

The good news is that the space will not be vacant much longer and will soon be occupied by nearby Touch of Soul on San Pablo Avenue. Touch of Soul have been operating in Emeryville since 2011 serving traditional soul food and southern homemade comfort food.

They are expected to move to their new location on August 25 and host a Grand Re-opening event on September 2.


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Five Guys
Photo: Google Maps

Five Guys to Former Taco Bell Space

Burger lovers will soon have another option in Emeryville that already includes Super Duper, Shake Shack and a host of other independent restaurants.

The City of Emeryville’s recent progress report noted a tenant improvement at the former Taco Bell space at the East Bay Bridge Shopping Center. The space has been vacant since the Taco Bell abruptly closed at the end of 2021.

The East Coast founded Burger Chain began opening locations in California in 2009 and is frequently compared to In-N-Out for their simple menu and quality service.


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Their “regular” burger comes with two, smashed patties and costs $9.99. They also offer 15 different toppings at no charge, seasoned “Cajun” style fries and complimentary roasted in-shell peanuts.

No timeline for their opening has been provided.


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Photo: Sarah Belle Lin

Minnie Bell’s to Open Full Service SF Restaurant

Emeryville-born Minnie Bell’s Soul Food Movement, known for their Rosemary Fried Chicken and gooey Mac & Cheese, will be opening a full service restaurant as first reported by The SF Chronicle.

Minnie Bell’s began as a temporary kiosk at the Public Market that was in partnership with La Cocina, a nonprofit dedicated to helping female food entrepreneurs. At the conclusion of her temporary lease, she signed a multi-year lease at another stall.

Founder Fernay McPherson frequently expressed her desire to open a Fillmore location where she grew up and honor the history of the neighborhood as an epicenter for Black culture in the city.

The 2,000 square foot location will accommodate 48 diners as well as some outdoor seating. The larger space will allow Fernay to expand her menu including fried oyster mushrooms and roasted chicken with cornbread. They will also serve beer and sparkling wines from Black and woman-owned wineries.

They are expected to open later this year.

Amazon Fresh to Bay Street?

Speculation on what Grocery Store will open at Bay Street continues to be a hot topic within Emeryville. The odds on favorites have been either Whole Foods or Sprouts based on the rapid growth of these two grocers.


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One insider has asserted “with 90% certainty” that the store will be an Amazon Fresh. Amazon of course owns Whole Foods but distinguishes their Fresh stores with their Just Walk Out technology that links payment to a customer’s Amazon account. The technology speeds up check-out and also combats shoplifting by requiring a membership to enter similar to a club store. They also save on labor costs without checkers or registers.

Amazon Fresh has been undergoing some growing pains lately with the layoff of hundreds of workers recently announced. Southern California has several Amazon Fresh locations but the opening of three locations in the Sacramento area have been mysteriously delayed.

After some construction delays, progress on the building has resumed and is estimated at 80% completion and expected to be complete this year.

It’s important to reaffirm that no official statement has been made by either Bay Street or Amazon so this remains an educated guess.

MISC: Honor Construction Begins, Hidden Spot Ownership Change, Hot Italian Returns

Construction on the renovation of Honor Kitchen has finally began after a long delay. They closed at the end of 2022 and were expected to open by Spring. After inquiries, it was determined that there were permitting delays. Honor is owned by the Chalet Restaurant Group who also run the Ocean and Park Chalet restaurants in SF and Lake Chalet in Oakland.

Fans of Hot Italian Pizza, who abruptly shuttered their Public Market restaurant in 2020, can now order their pizzas through door dash. They made the announcement through their facebook page stating “your support and love for our handcrafted pies have fueled our passion, and it’s time to bring that passion back to life!”

A reader has pointed out a change of ownership for the kitchen at Hometown Heroes Bar to a “M.A.D Spot LLC”. Their kitchen has been run by Hidden Spot since the Likha filipino popup ended in 2019. M.A.D Spot do not appear to have a website or any social channels. We reached out to Hometown Heroes without response.

As reported in our last update, Secrets of Tiger will be taking over the Jasmine Blossom space on Hollis. They have not made a website public but are rumored to open in early August.


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8/4 Update: Secrets of Tiger has announced their Soft Opening date on August 9 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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