New Richmond restaurant, Bubbaloo Cafe, set for grand opening Monday

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A new restaurant down the street from Craneway Pavilion is about to have its grand opening on Monday.

Bubbaloo Cafe at 1402 Marina Way South recently had a soft launch with a limited menu but plans to unveil its full menu on grand opening day.

The gorgeous, sleekly-designed restaurant mimics the industrial, ever-changing feel of the area. It is the latest venture from the family that brought the popular Pho Saigon Noodle & Grill to the Bay Area, with locations in El Sobrante, Newark, Oakland and Vallejo.

Photo courtesy of Bubbaloo Cafe
Photo courtesy of Bubbaloo Cafe

Bubbaloo Cafe co-owners Candice Ngyuen and Giovanni Gelera aim to offer a diverse and affordable menu that still highlights the Vietnamese cuisine that has made Ngyuen’s culinary family a success in the Bay Area. One of the more popular menu items includes the family’s signature Grilled Pork Banh Mi sandwich. The restaurant offers a number of unique hot sandwich options for about $8 or $9.

Here’s the limited soft-launch menu:

bubbaloomenu.1-27The restaurant prides itself on staying local, using longtime Richmond bakery Maggiora Baking Company and Oakland- based roaster Mr. Espresso.

Along with offering affordable meals for a growing number of businesses in the area, Bubbaloo Cafe has access to a waterfront conference space where it hopes to hold acoustic music and spoken word events.

That conference space belongs to TopLine, a new, large business accelerator program that can tap Bubbaloo Cafe for catering services. Since the beginning, TopLine founder Allan Young has expressed a desire to hold both business conferences and community events in the space. In July, teens from Richmond and San Pablo were tapped to create murals at TopLine as part of a free summer art class.

Bubbaloo Cafe is separated from the TopLine conference space by these doors:

bubalooconference.1-27Nguyen shares Young’s desire to make the Marina Bay South location a truly local community hangout. Her business has applied for a beer and wine license and expanded hours in the hope of holding community gatherings. The restaurant has plenty of parking options and space to do so.

The promise of a new Richmond ferry terminal near Craneway, along with continued improvements along the waterfront such as the Bay Trail, fuels even more optimism at Bubbaloo Café and other area businesses.

The Bubbaloo Cafe kitchen.
The Bubbaloo Cafe kitchen.

Andrea Bailey, community engagement manager for Chevron Richmond, said the food was a “huge hit” among her colleagues who visited during the soft launch.

“I know that you have made some instant loyal patrons in our Chevron employees,” Bailey told Nguyen.

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