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Nov. 2023 Food & Drink Updates: Jamba Closes; Five Guys Grand Opening Date; Watergate Market Becoming “Randy’s”; Prizefighter Bottle Shop Opens

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Some recent Food & Drink updates throughout Emeryville including some progress on Five Guys and Honor Kitchen.

We also recently published a wrap up of a second wave of Bay Street openings happening during the month. Pippal Regional Indian is the most recent restaurant to open their doors joining Flores, Fogo de Chão and Philz Coffee. Next in line are Saucy Asian, Copper & Malt, Mumu Hotpot and of course the highly anticipated but still unnamed grocery store.

Progress on the construction of the mysterious grocery store recently revealed a familiar grey and bright green color palette buoying our speculation that the store will be an Amazon Fresh.

There are currently 18 Amazon Fresh stores in Southern California but none in the Bay Area. Emeryville’s central location might make a convenient “hub” to expand Amazon Fresh’s online ordering and delivery model.

10/21 Update: The developer has asserted that the grocery store will not be an Amazon Fresh in an interview with The SF Business Times and declined to state what tenant would be moving in and the timeline for opening.

Construction workers progressing on the facade of the building (Photo: Jordan Potier).

Photo: bimbi_reginald_x via instagram

CLOSED: Powell Street Plaza Jamba

The Jamba Juice at the Powell Street Plaza abruptly closed on November 1st.

A sign posted on the window instructed customers to visit either their Berkeley or El Cerrito locations. The Oakland City Center location also recently closed.

The central coast founded chain that was once headquartered in Emeryville but moved their operation to Frisco, Texas in 2016. In 2018, they were acquired by Focus Brands.


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Watergate Market becoming “Randy’s”

Owners of the Peninsula’s aging Watergate Shopping Center are hoping to reinvigorate it and have recently instituted a change in ownership at the Watergate Market. The shopping center has also seen the recent departure of Roba’s and a Subway Franchise.

Signage for “Randy’s” was recently installed honoring longtime market employee “Randy the Butcher” McPherson who has operated the deli since 1991. Randy’s sandwiches (referred to by his loyal customers as “randwiches”) were likely the best thing about the market as well as his Wednesday Barbecue.

Randy McPherson has been a familiar face behind the deli counter at Watergate Market for over 30 years.

Randy will maintain purchasing for the market and also has other improvements in store including wine tastings and live acoustic music in their compact “Liquor Wonderland” section.


Five Guys Grand Opening Date Set

The E’ville Eye broke the news back in July that the former Taco Bell space would become a Five Guys Burger and readers have been eager to know “when!”

Progress on the facade of the building has not dramatically progressed but contractors have actively been remodeling the interior.

They are anticipating opening on December 15 according to franchise operators Billal and James Kahn if everything goes smoothly.

12/5 Update: Five Guys is now targeting early 2024 for their grand opening. “We still have not received permitting for our exterior signage,” provided franchise owner James Khan who said this was their only hold up. “Opening right after the new year would be the new target.


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OPEN: Prizefighter Bottle Shop

Prizefighter owners have opened the connected bottle shop they announced about a year ago.


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Husband & wife team Dylan O’Brien and Polly Hancock own and run the popular Prizefighter Bar and Hancock is also co-owner of the nearby New Florence Salon on 65th Street.

Their Bottle Shop offers a variety of premium spirits, bar tools and a growing selection of chilled premixed cocktails and craft beers.

Husband & wife team Dylan O’Brien and Polly Hancock.

Emery & 40th Starbucks Employees seek Unionization

Some employees of the East Bay Bridge Shopping Center Starbucks (store 615) are looking to unionize.

In a letter addressed to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan, 15 workers expressed their desire for “democracy within our workplace” through union representation.

“With our store being known as a ‘high incident store’, we are constantly finding ourselves understaffed and left feeling unfit to properly solve problems we are faced with,” they explained in the letter.

Employees at the location will need to hold a formal vote with a majority voting in favor of unionization to move forward.

More than 360 Starbucks stores have unionized since 2021 representing about 2% of the 16,000 stores in the U.S.


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Starbucks has launched a campaign to counter unionization efforts on their website one.starbucks.com listing what they consider the drawbacks of unionization.


Steady Progress at Honor Kitchen

Honor Kitchen closed nearly a year ago posting a sign saying they anticipated reopening by “Spring 2023.” Permitting delays pushed this date back and construction on their renovated space didn’t kick off until last May.

Progress has been steady since then and framing for their new outdoor patio space is coming to life.

One casualty of the renovation was the removal of part of the greenway mural painted by artist Joey Rose. Rose is hopeful that Honor will commission a restoration of the mural upon completion of construction but notes that discussions with them were preliminary.

Honor representatives were reluctant to provide a new date for reopening but their new target is “Spring of 2024.”

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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.

1 Comment

  1. I’m not surprised that the Jamba Juice closed. The stores themselves are OK (a bit overpriced, IMHO) but the telephone customer service is among the worst in the entire industry. If you ever have a problem at one of the stores, no one at Jamba is interested in making things right. A very poor business model, if you ask me.

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