Love Lafayette: That's the city's slogan, and it's especially easy to do these days. Rustic Tavern just opened, The Cooperage is heading into the old Petar's spot and San Francisco's Roam Artisan Burgers is grabbing a spot nearby. Love Lafayette indeed!
Three Lark Creek alums have just opened Rustic Tavern in the former Roya's space, with cocktails by consulting mixologist Manny Hinojosa and food -- organic and locally sourced from Niman Ranch, Mary's and the like -- by executive chef Gary Rust. We can't wait to try the crab cakes, fried cod sandwiches and rhubarb napoleon. Details: 3576 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Expect retro American roadhouse fare -- New York steaks, rotisserie chicken and vintage cocktails -- when The Cooperage American Grille opens late this summer. It's helmed by Andrew McCormick, from San Francisco's City Tavern, and chef Erik Hopfinger, a "Top Chef" alum who has worked at San Francisco's Spoon, Waterfront and, most recently, Jake's. Details: www.thecooperagelafayette.com.
And San Francisco's Roam will be taking over the A.G. Ferrari space across the street this fall, say co-owners Josh Spiegelman and Lynn Gorfinkle. Roam's burgers and killer shakes, which we sampled at last summer's SF Chefs fest with great delight, elevate that classic fare with pasture-raised meat, locally sourced produce and some insanely tasty flavor combinations. Russet, sweet potato and zucchini onion fries with truffle-Parmesan topping, anyone? Or a Blue Bottle Coffee shake? Details: www.roamburgers.com.
Tomo's Japanese: There's no such thing as too much sushi -- and if you can swing the cuisine in a vegetarian and vegan direction, too, clearly you need to open a place in Berkeley. That's exactly what former Yoshi's chef Tomo Owada is doing with his new Tomo's Japanese Cuisine. The izakaya menu runs the gamut from locally sourced seafood to handmade tofu and Napa cabbage rolls stuffed with spinach. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Details: 2026 San Pablo Ave.; www.tomosjapanesecuisine.com.
Send your restaurant tips to food editor Jackie Burrell, firstname.lastname@example.org.