Town Crier: Oakland ranked high in new foodie poll

MONTCLARION: August 28, 2015

Finally, foodies are leaving their hearts in San Francisco and coming to Oakland. A new poll by and USA Today has Oakland ranked seventh in the nation’s best food destinations. San Francisco was nominated by readers — but didn’t make the cut.

Over the past few years, Oakland has been emerging as a culinary hotspot, partly because chefs are looking for lower rents and new markets (for example, Chow Haus in Montclair and Clove and Hoof on Broadway). The city’s Oakland Restaurant Week, held in January, is touted as one of the Bay Area’s best, and soon there’ll be more news about Oakland’s Urban Wine Trail that blends local vintners with the city’s urban landscape.

The other top destinations include my hometown of Minneapolis and the southern hot spots of Asheville, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; and Raleigh, North Carolina. The whole thing makes me want to have a plate of cheese grits, which luckily I can get at any number of Oakland eateries.

Hot topics: Bobcats and mountain lions caught my eye on the neighborhood listserv, Nextdoor. Keep a watch on your children and pets, says one post by a person who says there’ve been two reports of bobcat sightings from neighbors on Homewood Drive. Both sightings were in the middle of the day.

after-school option: All over town, parents are thrilled to have kids back in school again. But what do they do after class is dismissed? Montclair’s CRUfit on Medau Place is offering one solution — with afternoon fitness classes for youths who aren’t playing team sports. My neighbor’s 12-year-old son likes to ride his bike to CRUfit and work out with friends in the padded training room and spin theater. It’s a good option for tweens and teens who might otherwise be “hanging out” in Montclair Village.

That’s Amore: Ask any kid “What’s your favorite food?” and you’ll probably get the answer — “Pizza.” That’s why it’s so sweet that Red Boy’s Joseph Radwan teaches pizza making at the Redwood Road restaurant to groups of Oakland school kids. And yes, that includes stretching, tossing and saucing. Joseph himself can toss and turn the dough a couple of times but remembers a former employee who could even twirl it behind his back.

Celebrity sighting: Some like it hot. A’s center fielder Billy Burns was spotted recently at Mexican restaurant El Agavero in Montclair Village. He’s said to be a super-nice guy and graciously signed autographs as he was waiting for his takeout.

And speaking of celebs, anyone remember the 1950s? The hunky Tab Hunter was No. 1 at the box office and on the music charts. All these years later, he’ll be the guest star at opening night of Lamorinda’s 18th annual California Independent Film Festival. His appearance is followed by a screening of “Tab Hunter Confidential” — the story of the real Tab Hunter (spoiler alert — he’s gay). For more information, go to

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at


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