Downtown Berkeley will soon be home to a fast-casual burger joint: Owner Hugh Groman, a Berkeley-based chef and caterer, is set to open Phil's Sliders in the space vacated by New China Express at 2024 Shattuck Avenue. Groman, who named the restaurant after his father, said he's keeping the menu small and simple: "I wanted to create a place that used what I've learned in the food business to create something really, really simple," he said. The thirty-seat restaurant's menu will, of course, focus around the eponymous sliders, $2 mini-burgers that Groman's been making for years with his catering business and which he says are "really really good." Beyond that, Phil's will offer a vegetarian portabella slider, tater tot-esque potato puffs, a poppy-seed coleslaw with a vegan option, and a rotating menu of house-made sodas and baked goods. All the produce will be organic, and the beef will come from Marin Sun Farms. Phil's will be open until midnight Thursday through Saturday, making it a much-needed addition to downtown Berkeley's late-night dining offerings, and Groman said he's aiming to start service in early June.
Chez Panisse Chef Stepping Down
Longtime Chez Panisse chef David Tanis will be leaving the uber-famous restaurant later this year to write a food column for The New York Times. Tanis, who's been working at Chez Panisse for about 25 years now, splits his time between Berkeley and Paris, swapping six-month postings as the restaurant's head chef with Jean-Pierre Moulle. After his current such stint, he'll leave for good. At press time, Alice Waters had yet to announce a replacement for Tanis.
Kroger-owned grocery chain Foods Co. will soon start construction on three new supermarkets, all in historically underserved Oakland neighborhoods. The first, a 72,000-square-footer in East Oakland's Foothill Square Shopping Center, is set to open early next year; the other two — one in West Oakland, and another at the corner of 66th Avenue and San Leandro Street near the Oakland Coliseum — will follow .... Berkeley's eVe has revamped its patio space, just in time for summer .... Oakland's Plum debuted its weekend brunch this Saturday .... And, finally, the folks behind Outside Lands announced the three-day festival's food and drink lineup earlier this week. There'll be nearly forty local restaurants selling food of various cuisines, and about thirty vintners will be selling wine. The festival goes down August 12-14 in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.