Oakland is poised to have an incredible year of launching new restaurants. What's particularly exciting is that many of these forthcoming ventures that have come across our radar share an ethos of local sourcing -- and, in most cases, hyper-local sourcing. 2013 will be pivotal in reinforcing an idea of East Bay cuisine that is distinct unto itself. Here are five restaurants we're anticipating:
5. The Cook and Her Farmer (930 Clay)
This combo wine bar, cafe, and oyster bar is headed to Swan's Market in Old Oakland. Diablo expects a spring opening and points out that it will have neighbors like the recently opened Caribbean joint Miss Ollie's and (later this year) Rosamunde Sausage Grill.
4. Township (1545 Broadway)
Urban farmer Abeni Ramsay (watch her in action in this charming video for PBS series Food Forward) will grow as much of the produce as possible for her forthcoming restaurant, housed in a 100-year-old warehouse space. Her farms are right in Oakland as well as in Capay Valley. She's hoping for an April opening, but you can visit her in the meantime at her City Girl Farm and Garden Supply (1740 San Pablo).
3. Tribune Tavern (409 13th St.)
Chop Bar owner Chris Pastena spearheads this 150-seat restaurant inside the landmark Tribune Tower. The kitchen will be making their own cheese, bread, and charcuterie and the bar features 12 local wines and 12 local beers on tap as well as a full wine list with over 100 California wines. Projected opening is mid-March.
2. Lungomare (1 Broadway)
Pastena is also behind this Northern Italian restaurant that has taken over the former Miss Pearl's Jam House in Jack London Square. Apparently, the region has similar climate patterns as Oakland does, but extensive heated outdoor seating will insure that diners can enjoy the waterfront views (and pretend they're in Europe, even for just a moment) all year long. The grand opening is scheduled for February 7.
1. Duende (468 19th St.)
Former Oliveto chef Paul Canales has created an 80-seat space not only for his Spanish-inspired food, but for live music, art, and wine retail sales. Eater reports that, pending final inspections, the restaurant is set to open next week.