A few weeks ago, I was helping an older resident schedule her vaccine. She hadn’t been out of her house since March 2020, except when she felt safe enough to go to a drive-through for dinner.
I told her about one of my favorite new restaurants, the Asian-owned Spinning Bones on Park Street near San Jose Avenue, with their delicious roasted meats, bold flavors and amazing side dishes. During the pandemic, they opened The Boneyard in the lot across the street for physically distanced outdoor dining.
She told me she misses hearing about new places that have opened up, so I’ve dedicated this space to doing just that. Keep reading to learn about some of the wonderful new eateries that have opened during the pandemic.
Opened in 2021
Karibu Wine Lounge by Wachira (1419 Park St.) features Wachira Wines from the Black- and women-owned winery along with an assortment of other great but underserved wines from makers of color, women and locals. Opening first as a parklet with outdoor wine tastings, Karibu just opened their beautiful lounge space in March.
Ding Tea (1342 Park St.) opened in February and brings Taiwanese tea culture to Alameda, including milk teas, slushes, fruit juices, fresh teas, fruit yogurts and coffee drinks.
Elaine’s Gourmet Chinese (2520 Santa Clara Ave.) opened in February and is friendly, locally-owned and committed to providing the best-tasting Szechuan Chinese cuisine with the freshest ingredients.
Shanvi Indian Kitchen (2536 Santa Clara Ave.) opened inside the Good 2 Go Liquor & Curry in February and serves a delicious hot bar with fresh Indian food all day, every day.
Sushi & More (1245 Park St.) opened in January, featuring Japanese cuisine as a quick meal concept, with fresh, healthy and delicious favorites including udon, ramen, bento boxes, sushi rolls and sashimi.
Opened in 2020
Alley & Vine (1332 Park Street #D) opened in December with creative dishes and craft cocktails available for takeout and delivery only. Now the farm-to-table restaurant is open indoors and outdoors and showcases California cuisine prepared with locally sourced produce, fresh seafood, and sustainably raised meats.
Highwire Coffee Roasters (1234 Park St.) opened its small storefront in November and is dedicated to organic farming, sustainable practices and creating a balanced cup of coffee.
Alameda Comedy Club (2431 Central Ave.) was on track to open indoors last May, but as the pandemic worsened the owners instead transformed their parking lot into an outdoor showroom with a heated patio, full bar and selection of good food. The live comedy shows feature nationally-touring headliners as well as Bay Area talent.
The Preacher’s Daughter Wine Bar & Cafe (1629 Park St.) is a women- and minority-owned and managed business that opened in September with takeout only and soon added sidewalk and parklet seating. The restaurant, wine bar and cafe now offer indoor options as well, with sandwiches, salads, pastries, Old World wines, craft beer and third-wave espresso.
Bhan Mae Vane (1511 Webster St.) opened just as the shelter-in-place order took effect in March 2020. Inspired by their mother’s recipes, sisters and owners Bebe Lach (the chef) and Thip Tran use local and seasonal ingredients to create a unique twist on modern Lao cuisine.
Kokoro Donburi (1518 Park St.) also opened last March and offers nutritious rice bowls influenced by variations of donburis originating from different regions of Japan and carefully prepared with traditional homemade ingredients.
Canasta Kitchen (1544 Webster St.) opened in January and takes pride in their simple, consistent, flavorful Latin cuisine, using the freshest ingredients in their street tacos, burritos, ceviche and more. Says owner Ivan Tellez, “Canasta is special to me for many reasons but mainly because our special ingredient — just like our ancestors’ — is love.”
Signal Coffee Roasters Flagship (1536 Webster St.) is Alameda-owned and operated with a love for delicious coffee. I switched over to Signal during the pandemic (free local delivery!) and cannot wait to check out their outdoor patio space with a limited but quality menu. Located close to the farmers market, Alameda Point and the beach, Signal Coffee roasts and delivers exceptional single-origin and carefully curated blends and uses biodegradable packaging.
Coffee Cultures (1926 Park St.) serves world-famous Counter Culture Coffee, Straus Soft Serve, Five Mountains Tea, Starter Bakery and other locally sourced products. From owner Jason Paul: “I was raised in Alameda, it’s in my blood. I can’t think of a place I’d be more proud to have a coffee bar.”
Enjoy all these wonderful new places, masked and distanced, that have opened with care during the pandemic. Be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them. This year has been very challenging, but having the support of the community and hearing kind words can mean the world to someone!
Sarah Henry is a public information officer for the city of Alameda. She can be reached at 510-747-4714 or [email protected].