It looks like the folks at Cesar will be opening a new set of doors on Piedmont Avenue, taking over the space that was previously occupied by Le Boulanger (4039 Piedmont Avenue). The Inside Scoop reported this a while back, but I heard the news first from a bay area restaurant veteran over Thanksgiving Dinner. A much cooler way, I think we'll all agree, to find out about such things.
While I'm a big fan of the signature Cesar Martini and also their Salt Cod, I was just as excited to find out that Gregoire --another North Berkeley mainstay-- is opening up a space on Piedmont. After opening his first location back in 2003, Gregoire Jacquet (the owner and chef) quickly became a neighborhood fixture. Handing out biscuits to passing dogs and barking French greetings to everyone who stopped by. When we lived around the corner, we ate there most weeks - maintaining a perilously tall stack of their stylish take-out boxes in the corner of our studio apartment.
I'm also curious to see what will come of the space on Lakeshore previously occupied by Albertsons. The liquidation sale at the Lakeshore Albertsons got underway on Christmas Eve, and seems to be just about done. Probably too much to hope for our own Market Hall on Lakeshore, though I've always thought the neighbohood was just one butcher away from being rock solid.
Speaking of butchers, I'm also hearing rumblings of a shake-up at Niman Ranch. A curious refusal to meet customer demand for festive cuts of cow and lamb over the holidays, new CEO, that kind of thing.