It’s no secret that rents are extremely high in California. Rents are high in the Bay Area, especially, and Walnut Creek is no exception. For how crazy home rents can be, commercial rent prices are even worse! That’s why we’re seeing so much turnover in bars and restaurants in downtown Walnut Creek.
It seems like we see 10 new restaurants per month popping up downtown which keeps my blog interesting. And when those come in, something must go. Some are so short-lived, we hardly even have time to try them before they disappear!
One especially pricey area is the corner of Locust and Cypress. Sauced has taken over for Pyramid Alehouse, Sunol Ridge came and went incredibly quickly, Lark Creek Cafe is closed, and new places like Urban Alley and Gotts are popping up every time we turn around. Not to mention, the place where Chili’s was a long time ago, which most recently was Caffe Stella, is clearly too expensive for anyone to come in and stay. Not to mention Crogan’s shut down, too, which may be a blessing.
That entire intersection is constantly changing, and it’s happening all over the place in downtown Walnut Creek. I know people who have moved out of Walnut Creek, and every time they come back (even if it’s only been a few months), they say certain parts of downtown are unrecognizable. Even Walnut Creek mainstay Vic Stewart’s is going to be replaced by retail!
This has both good and bad effects for Walnut Creek residents. As more fancy, expensive stores go in downtown, they will raise their prices to afford their own rents. More out-of-town shoppers will clog up downtown, too. But, those of us who do live here will benefit from having more amazing new restaurants and bars to try!
I recently tried one of the new restaurants in Walnut Creek, Limon, and it did not disappoint! It’s situated on Locust St., next to Vitality Bowl. I have now been for both lunch and dinner; both times I ate some great food, and right before the Warren Miller movie, fantastic pisco sours!
The vibe is like many new restaurants in Walnut Creek: a nice, hip atmosphere, slightly overpriced, but it delivered on results. The roasted chicken and ceviche are their signature dishes and the Pisco sours do not disappoint.
In our rush to get to the movie, we sat at the bar and shared a half chicken, green beans and we just had to have the truffle macaroni and cheese. My only complaint is when we left, my clothes smelled smoky like cooked food.
Overall, I really enjoyed Limon, especially those pisco sours! They have an extensive bar and a fabulous selection of Tequila. A handful of restaurants have recently closed (Lark Creek, Sunol Ridge and Vic Stewart’s), making Limon a great option for a nice dinner. There are two locations in San Francisco, one in Burlingame, and one opening in Hawaii this year.
I give Limon 5 out of 5 Mt. Diablo’s.
There’s a new sushi place in town, and I tried it recently – it did not disappoint! It is hard to break into the sushi game in the Bay Area these days, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my meal along with the sake at IKOI, which is located across from La Scala.
The sushi itself was very fresh, though it took a while to get the second roll I ordered. It’s so new, there’s still a coffee logo on the floor of the restaurant from the previous tenants!
We ordered the small plate sampler with ceviche and “Hamachi Love,” all unique and deliciously fresh. Though they don’t have a large selection of rolls, the select few are quality and tasteful. I found the information about their chef and co-owner on the website really interesting, too: Chef Koji has been cooking for 40 years and trained under famed sushi master Chef Hiroshi Hiyama. He has worked in acclaimed restaurants in Japan before opening the first of three restaurants he now has in the Bay Area.
Apparently, “Ikoi,” means “rest and relaxation” in Japanese, which is perfect. I felt very satisfied and happy after eating there. I’d definitely recommend Ikoi to any sushi fans out there in Walnut Creek! It gets 4 out of 5 Mt. Diablo’s from me only due to the delay in getting the second roll. If it was on quality of sushi alone, it would be a 5+!
I recently helped Maria and Kehl find a new home as they were relocating to the Bay Area! It was an awesome process working with two California newbies, and I couldn’t be happier for them.
They left Houston just in the nick of time, but what has struck them most is how friendly people are here. Initially, they did not want to be in the downtown area of Martinez, but still wanted to be close to the Shell refinery. They ended up staying three months in an AirBNB in downtown Martinez and came to love the proximity to work, the easy and quick access to open space and all the fun things Martinez has to offer. It is a changing downtown area as the city is incorporating more events and family-friendly activities. Even their lender came to their signing – thanks, Sean!
Check out this nice Zillow review they left me:
You could be next! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to buy or sell a home in the East Bay!
According to ABC7, the new In-N-Out location Walnut Creekians have been salivating over might be in trouble.
Apparently, a community near the proposed site (N. Main St. at Second Ave.) of the new location is trying to stop the construction because of the expected long drive-thru line that will cause traffic and late night noise.
The city has not taken a stance yet, and the owner of the property already has it zoned for a restaurant, so it may very well still happen. Would In-N-Out have a restaurant without the drive-thru window? If so, how will In-N-Out feed all the folks who don’t want to leave their cars to eat their fast food?
Anyway, the local community rightly likes its quiet, peaceful street and think there is already a plethora of fast food restaurants nearby, making In-N-Out unnecessary. My son will be bummed, I for one am indifferent. They are not my favorite, the patty is too small…stay tuned for future blogs on our areas burger locals.
This would look great on N. Main St. Just saying.In all seriousness, it looks like the city will plan a few public hearings after they review the proposal again. It remains to be seen if the local community will have their way, or if residents of Walnut Creek will be able to save themselves 10 minutes of driving on 680 (in either direction…) for those juicy burgers.
For what it’s worth, the anti-In-N-Out petition on Change.org has about 10 times as many signatures as the pro-In-N-Out petition. At least our town gets involved.
My son Jackson and I tried Broderick recently. And as much as I loved Hubcaps, which formerly occupied the space there, I have to say Broderick was slightly disappointing.
I used to go to Hubcaps for burgers before movies, and it was a Walnut Creek classic. But it definitely needed a remodel, so when the owners shut it down with the intent of rebranding as Broderick, I was pretty excited.
There’s a definite decor and lighting change, and a better bar-sitting situation if you want to watch a game while eating. The casual atmosphere is nice, and updated compared to its predecessor. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as the positives went.
Jackson ordered a burger and I ordered a fried chicken sandwich. I had visions of the fried chicken you get at Tender Greens, however, I got a thickly, breaded, heavily-seasoned coating that separated from my chicken. Jackson’s burger was ordered medium but only had a tiny bit of pink in the middle – and was dry.
This may sound like a funny complaint, but we also had so many fries on our plates that there was no room to put ketchup. Speaking of the fries, they had weird seasoning on them. The sriracha-mayo doused my chicken sandwich and made the whole situation sloppy and hard to eat.
The huge pickles on the sandwiches were good, and the artisan buns were great. They do have brunch there and the wait staff was attentive, but did not ask us about our meal. The food just wasn’t special and it cost $38 for two burgers, fries and a beer.
Overall, I give it 2 Mt. Diablo’s out of 5.
Pyramid Alehouse was a long-standing favorite in downtown Walnut Creek, but has recently given way to a new barbecue joint called Sauced.
The owners are cousins (one raised in Pleasanton, one in the South) and imported everything from the South – from the wood used in the restaurant to the menu and drinks. Their goal is to bring authentic BBQ to Northern California, but they did not bring southern pricing to the table.
Where the old Pyramid brewery tanks were is now a huge, open bar and that seating area looks massive with the new layout. They do trivia on Tuesday and Bingo on Wednesday each week, and the dining area also has plenty of space for big groups.
I had the brisket which was served with apple coleslaw (very good) and a slice of corn bread with whole kernel corn (authentic and tasty) plus two drinks. It was rich and I had a food coma for a few hours, but maybe the drinks attributed to the feeling.
The food and ambiance is good; my son ordered a Cubana, which includes a fried pickle in it and two sides, the cost $20. The BBQ I have had outside of Austin, TX would cost much less and is just as good, but we can’t all go to Austin for some down-home BBQ and I am sure our rents are much higher, thus Sauced is local and may be the next best thing if you are hunkering for BBQ.
They do have a great bar area, tons of mico-brews to choose from and a daily happy hour. It is a great place to gather with friends and enjoy a game. Pyramid left some pretty big shoes to fill, considering its popularity, so time will tell if Sauced can keep the seats filled. I do hope they continue the live music on the patio in the summer and would love to hear what you think and if you know of any other great BBQ spots!
Tucked between the brand new parking structure and the side of Macy’s in the fancy new Broadway Plaza is another fashionable restaurant: a friendly hostess, tables scattered everywhere, a kitchen and a cozy patio with extra seating.
And soon enough, this spot will be teeming with Walnut Creek foodies trying to get a reservation.
True Food Kitchen, which was founded in 2008 in Phoenix, has now spread to six states and will be opening up locations in five more over the next couple years.
The reason for its success, I presume, is the trend towards healthy whole food! They say “it’s honest food that tastes really good,” and it really does.
Most of the menu consists of meals that are made up of healthy ingredients to make you feel good. They try to make everything organic and locally sourced because they believe one can eat healthily and sustainably and still have a delicious meal.
I have now visited a couple of times and had two really great meals with friends. One time, I split the roasted Brussels sprouts appetizer, and I ordered the albacore tataki starter and a grapefruit martini, which was delicious!
The second time I went was with a paleo foodie! We split the spaghetti squash casserole and the roasted Brussels sprouts; it was like eating lasagna without the meat. However, she did inquire about the gluten-free pizza and found the crust was made with potato and tapioca – which are not really the best options if someone is really focused on truly clean eating.
The good news is there are a lot of great-tasting gluten-free options and you can decide for yourself. It is a large space and, of course, there was a long lunch wait of almost 50 minutes over the weekend. Both times I sat on the patio as it does not seem as loud. As we walked through the dining room, many tables were empty, so they still need to work on seating and flow.
I would love to hear your thoughts on True Food Kitchen!
Good luck reading this blog and not drooling everywhere. In the most recent issue of Walnut Creek Magazine, they laid out a long list of new restaurants coming to town. Here is a quick run down of twelve new places to eat.
As part of Walnut Creek’s transition from sleepy suburb to must-see Capitol of the East Bay, the already thriving restaurant scene is getting another injection of new, hip hot spots.
First, let’s talk about pizza. As if we weren’t already spoiled by good pizza joints in Walnut Creek, MOD Pizza is moving into The Orchards, Slice House – from the world-famous Tony’s in San Francisco – will set up shop right below Teleferic and Rooftop, and Pizza My Heart will snag Project Pie’s old space on California.
The artist formerly known as Pyramid is going to be (highly-anticipated BBQ joint) Sauced, McCovey’s is turning into brunch king Momo’s, and the Hubcaps team is transforming their space into Broderick Roadhouse.
Lemonade, a SoCal chain that serves fresh California cuisine, is coming to the old La Boulange space, and the aforementioned Rooftop is already enjoying a swell of crowds every night to dine and drink under the stars.
Looking for comfort food among all the fancy feasting joints? Hops & Scotch on Treat Blvd. will bring a restaurant and bar with mac n’ cheese, chicken strips, fried cheese curds and more.
And just to pile on top of the never-ending sushi craze, Kona Grill will enter at The Agora on Main, and also offer burgers and pasta.
Lastly, look for Limon Rotisserie and Lokanta Mediterranean Grill & Bar on Locust St.
Whew … just in time for summer dining!