New venture: The two-year wait for fans of chef Jeffrey Stout is about to end. He's close to opening his comeback restaurant, Orchard City Kitchen, in a comeback center, Campbell's Pruneyard. The man who led Alexander's Steakhouse of Cupertino to a Michelin star rating for three consecutive years says he looked at about 100 spaces before settling on the former Hobee's location. Construction crews took it down to the beams for a major renovation. Why here? "Campbell has a buzz about it," he says, and he likes "the history, the roots" of the Pruneyard.

Chef Jeffrey Stout, who earned three Michelin stars for Alexander’s Steakhouse, will open Orchard city Kitchen in Campbell’s Pruneyard this
Chef Jeffrey Stout, who earned three Michelin stars for Alexander's Steakhouse, will open Orchard city Kitchen in Campbell's Pruneyard this fall. (Jacqueline Ramseyer/Staff archives)

But $62 dry-aged T-bones are not part of his 2014 vision. He's planning a menu of creative small plates drawing from all the world's cuisines. Most dishes will run $6 to $20. As he sees it, "If there is an offering of uni, wagyu, truffles, duck, game or other, then why not enjoy it in a pair of shorts and flip-flops rather than having to wait for that business dinner?"

Speaking of business dinners, Alexander's Steakhouse lost its Michelin star after parting ways with Stout.


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DIY pizza: First it was Pieology, the build-your-own thin-crust pizza spot in the Pleasant Hill Plaza on Monument Boulevard. Next up for Central Contra Costa County pizza lovers is Project Pie in Walnut Creek. Founded by pizza entrepreneur James Markham (formerly of Pieology, actually), this franchise chain offers a do-it-yourself model (not unlike Berkeley's Build Pizzeria) where customers can craft their own thin-crust pies from various ingredients and watch it get fired up in a high-temperature stone hearth oven in minutes.

Salads and desserts are also on the menu. Project Pie will be taking over the old AAA space in Plaza Escuela at the corner of South California Boulevard and Botelho Drive. No word yet on an opening date, but you can check out the menu at www.projectpie.com.

Loose leaves: The Toronto-born contemporary tea shop, Davids Tea, has expanded from Burlingame to a second Peninsula location, in Palo Alto. You can buy any of the 150-plus varieties to take home or get a freshly brewed cup (hot or cold) in the shop; most are certified organic and kosher. Besides traditional estate teas, Davids specializes in innovative combos. Goji Pop, for example, is a red fruit infusion studded with goji berries. North African Mint is flavored with fennel and black pepper. Soon to come: soothing fall and winter blends. Details: 318 University Ave., Palo Alto; www.davidstea.com.

BBQ back in Lafayette: Moraga resident Dave Roberson will open Bonehead's Texas BBQ in October in the Mt. Diablo Boulevard space that formerly housed Lafayette's beloved Bo's Barbecue. Roberson has been catering for seven years across California, but this is his first restaurant.

According to the website, Roberson uses rubs on his brisket, pulled pork and other meats that soak in for up to 72 hours before the meats are placed in the smoker. He uses wood-fired smokers only -- no gas or charcoal. Fans of his catering will be pleased to see all of the meats on the menu though he is going to scale back on side dishes, sticking to Dang Fresh Cole Slaw, Granny's Famous Tater Salad and other basics. Don't worry. You can still get the peach cobbler. Details: boneheadsbbq.com.

Spartan BBQ: The East Bay's popular Kinder's BBQ is making a foray into Santa Clara County. This season, Kinder's will sell its smoked meats -- ball tip sandwiches, yum -- at San Jose State's Spartan football games. Find Kinder's on the north concourse at Spartan Stadium.

Send your tips to jyadegaran@bayareanewsgroup.com and lzavoral@mercurynews.com.