Some downtown restaurant news: new openings and a liquor license violation for one happening spot

Just in time for the holidays:

–Vanessa’s Bistro 2, at 1329 N. Main Street, is open, in the former Tokyo Lobby spot. It bills itself as “Vietnamese tapas with a French twist.” Some selections from the menu: Spicy Atlantic salmon tartare, vodka molasses marinated pork loin, and Dijon mustard and black peppercorn marinated rack of lamb with sweet potato croquette (with a port wine, bing cherry reduction).
–The other new “modern” Vietnamese restaurant in downtown, Eleve Restaurant, does not yet look open, though it looks awfully close. It is in the stylishy renovated two-story 6,000-square-foot building at the corner of North Main Street and Civic Drive.

–The other new Asian restaurant coming to town–and on Main Street and with a small plates focus–is Sasa. It will serve what is known as Izakaya Japanese cuisine, which is drinks and food in a “casual” but sophisticated atmosphere. Sasa is to go into the historic 1910 brick front building that long ago housed the Walnut Creek Meat Market. The building is being renovated to house dining indoors and out.

–And more new Asian on Main: The sign on the former San Franciscan says that the Modern China Cafe will be opening in that spot “soon.”
–I’ve also heard from a friend that the popular Alamo delicatessen, the Brass Bear, has also opened on North Main. The Brass Bear has been a “mainstay” in Alamo for around 30 years.

–Over on Locust Street, the spot that once housed the Ephesus kebob lounge, and then a place called Class, now has a new sign atop it. It is now calling itself “Lift.” Huh? Well, if nothing else, the business needs to fix that splintered woodwork that hangs over its door. And maybe work on its, uh, curbside appeal.
–The Persian-food fan husband of a friend is absolutely excited about the opening of Alborz on Mt. Diablo Boulevard, in the former location for Tin’s Tea House.

–Finally reporting this hiccup for popular restaurateur Tony Dudum of 1515 Restaurant and Lounge. I remember noticing from a City Council agenda report that agents with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control had paid a visit to 1515 on July 23. The police noted that the ABC found that 1515 was serving liquor past its closing time of 12:30 a.m. Ironically, Tony Dudum and his dad Jack Dudum were, at that exact time, filing an appeal with the city to have their hours for serving alcohol extended past 12:30 a.m. They wanted to stay open until 1:45 a.m. The City Council in September gave them an extra half hour. Well, according to state ABC records, 1515 Restaurant had its liquor license “suspended” for 15 days; but in lieu of a suspension of serving alcohol, 1515 agreed to pay a fine of $3,000.

In an e-mail to me, Tony Dudum explains that “there was an honest misunderstanding between the city, the ABC, and myself. I am in excellent standing with all agencies.”

25 thoughts on “Some downtown restaurant news: new openings and a liquor license violation for one happening spot

  1. I keep hoping a new, unique restaurant will come in that will make me excited to go out downtown again, but these all seem to be very similar and WC already has Vietnamese food…


  2. I'm with Masterlock. I was getting bored just reading the list of new Asian-fusion-tapas restaurants.

    Can someone tell me why there isn't an Ethiopian restaurant around here? I crave those wonderful stews and curries a lot. It would be nice to not have to drive into Berkeley or Oakland.


  3. I ate at Vanessa's Bistro 2 last week. It is nice inside, but dark. Hard to see that it is open from outside, good thing there was a sign.

    Food…was OK. We ordered 6 dishes and liked 3 of them. Tuna and Salmon Poke, Spicy Atlantic Tartare and Green Papaya salad. Salt and Pepper Calamari was a small portion and lame. The coating was thick and not crunchy. We couldn't tell what kind of protein was in the Chicken spring rolls. 3 tiny ones for a hefty price. The steak sandwich was missing the spicy onions, which was the draw for us. It was boring without it. Wine, 4 oz for $7.50. I would rather pay $9 or $10 for a real glass.

    $55 for lunch plus tip. Doubt I would go back.

    Anon at 743am…you are lame.


  4. Up3rd…

    Just went to the parade on Main in September. It's called the Walnut Festival Parade.

    Family eateries… Stadium Pub, Hubcaps, San Francisco Creamery, Stanfords, the new deli, Cheese Cake, Buckhorn, the Bistro near Ross, La Fogata — Still family oriented but you need both to make it fun, like when I get a baby sitter!

    These new places sound interesting. I hope they don't miss the mark on the price point.



  5. You can eat at Skips in Concord – but don't dine around 4pm when the cash and grab guy grabs the money. Saw the post on Claycord. Bummer.


  6. It's always a misunderstanding with Dudum's.

    How about Omar Samhan's birthday party? Was it a misunderstanding then, when about 15 freshman athletes from Saint Mary's were being served? Did you think the drinking age was 18, and forgot that it's actually 21?


  7. Yet another Vietnamese restaurant?
    A new one is opening on Newell also. BORING……..I was looking for a new restaurant to buy a gift certificate for my in-laws but I guess I'll go to Danville. (They enjoyed Katy's Creek last year) Oh, don't go to the Mexican restaurant in Alamo (by CVS) My friend's entire family became seriously ill last week.


  8. SMC staff- How soon we forget! The Dudom's like to run their business using the philosophy of guaranteed results with little punishment. Their thinking is that it is better to ignore the rules and say I'm sorry than to ask for permission and be denied. It appears that it continues to be a successful business practice.


  9. A good Mexican place would be wonderful, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

    Is there any word on what is going to go into the spot where Chili's was?


  10. Tony Dudum is a St. Mary;s alum. So maybe that explains the special favor to the St. Mary's freshman athletes?

    And what's up with the Dudum's little taxi cab problem?


  11. Many of the “family” places to eat are at the peripheral shopping centers. That makes a lot of sense because it is very easy to park or walk from neighborhoods and pretty safe to herd children around.

    Rocco's, Mary's Pizza Shack, Daphne's are three of many that come to mind. Hey if you're old-fashioned, Marie Callender's, George's Giant Hamburger and Buttercup Grill are still around downtown. In Palos Verdes center, we even have a neat Polish place(Chopin Cafe) and a new Thai place called Do Sit that are quiet and inviting.

    Don't worry about there being too many ethnic restaurants of one variety – the marketplace takes care of that for you!


  12. Annon 5:22how do you know it George's Giant Hamburger? I have been looking at this sign for years and can't figure out whether it is as you say or whether it might be Giant George's Hamburger?


  13. I am so sick of this Asian fusion food as well. At one time it added variety, now everything new is Asian. Boring.

    A question: Has there ever been a successful business located at 1829Mount Diablo Blvd? Over the past 10years, there must have been 4 eateries in that spot and they all failed.


  14. Anons 5:54 (& 5:59 in part):

    So sorry I used the wrong name for the hamburger place whose name incuded George and Giant in some order that you persomally require.

    This blog site is so inundated with grinches that I am getting depressed. It seems like if new residents did not arrive in town at least fifty years ago we are not welcome by some old-timers. So, it's not OK to have Asian food even if they help bring sales tax revenue to town?

    If you don't want me to patronize the aforesaid hamburger place, I am sure that you will make up for it by visiting them more often yourself. Just let me know and I will stop by to tell them I cannot do business there anymore.

    Evolvingly irritable Anon 5:22pm

    PS – Is there anything new in town in the last few (50-150) years that you actually DO LIKE?


  15. Anon 7:05 I didn't mean to offend you, I actually love the sign which after all is ambiguous and could either mean real giant hamburgers or in the alternative a giant chef's rather tiny hamburgers.

    So my point was really meant tongue in cheek ….. I actually totally agreed with your point that there are plenty of choices including places fit for children. may I add to your list the San Francisco Creamery, Fuddruckers, Black Bear Diner, the Hickory Pit and I'm sure there are plenty more.

    My personal taste leans more towards the asian places and I do look forward to check the new ones out, and if they deliver good food
    at a reasonable price, I'm sure they will survive …..


  16. Anon 7:28,
    Sorry I used you as a target for my frustration.
    Thanks for adding all of those other family locations to the mix. I was trying to remember Black Bear (founded in Shasta) but their affordable portions are so big that I got sleepy and forgot their name after visiting there.
    Please add Hickory Pit to my list of good places for lovers of the traditional restaurants.
    Once again, thanks for your thoughts and my apologies for blasting off! It's my observation that there is a tremendous variety in the Asian cuisine available. They are not cookie-cutter, typically. I will never forget the hide-bound relatives from the east coast saying “Oh, I don't care for Chinese (Vietnamese, Mexican,etc.) food.” Well, that means more for me to explore! I agree that we could use some more opportunities in Central & S.A. cuisine including New Mexico please. Also Cambodian, French, Spanish, and especially Canadian! Just kidding about the last one except for Canada Goose from Heather Farm roasted to perfection and served with local organic greens and roasted root vegetables. Add an exuberant Merlot or Syrah and we are there.
    Happy New Year to all,
    Anon 7:05


  17. My husband and I went to eat at Chilis around Halloween and found it closed. We went to the Pyramid Alehouse (the food was mediocre) instead. Our server told me that the Chili's landlord raised their rent, and chili's moved out. If that's true, all I can say is what a lame-ass landlord.

    Skips in Clayton is OK. The pizza is okay and the kids like the video games and play area. Honestly, I haven't found any restaurant around here that I would consider excellent or exceptional. If I want good, authentic food at a decent prices, I go to Berkeley or Oakland and surrounding areas.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s