Nothing prepared Luke Tsai for “how truly excellent the food at 2207” would be, the EaterSF editor wrote in a Dec. 27 article. But it wasn’t necessarily Tsai’s best culinary experience of the year in Richmond.
In an EaterSF post published three days later, Tsai wrote that he “can’t stop thinking about his first bite” of the quesabirra taco by El Garage, the popular family-owned pop-up that began serving tacos from their driveway in Richmond. After El Garage announced last month that it would soon open in a permanent spot in the city, it earned a spot, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, among “the most anticipated Bay Area restaurants of 2020.”
Tsai is not alone in his excitement over an apparent emergent Richmond food scene. Sarah Han, editor at Berkeleyside Nosh, which aptly covers East Bay food, listed Richmond among the cities that “seem to be having a moment.” Berkeleyside Nosh was among the publications recently serving hat tips to Raymond’s Pizzeria in Point Richmond, whose owners are former professional skateboarder Brad Staba and Nathan Trivers of The Up & Under, as well as El Tucán, which just opened in the former Pup Hut site and serves Tijuana-style tacos.
Speaking of tacos: five Richmond eateries were recently named on an EaterSF list called, “22 Destination-Worthy Tacos in the East Bay.” That article prompted Richmond Mayor Tom Butt to launch “Tacos with Tom” where he chats with his constituents while trying “some of the best tacos our city has to offer.” The first such event took place at La Selva Taqueria at 1049 23rd St. on Dec. 20.
With restaurateurs catching on to Richmond’s recent growth and relative affordability in the high-cost Bay Area, the city is gaining more attention for its culinary hotspots. The Standard’s features writer, Kathy Chouteau, has been quite busy covering her city’s food scene. In 2019, she tried, and commended, a number of Richmond’s favorites: New Soul Café, The Artisan Kitchen & Café, El Agave Azul, Café Gran Milan, Anh, and Bubbaloo Cafe. Chouteau did not forget to stop by longtime favorites like Caspers Hotdogs and Andy’s Donuts.
In addition to popping up, new eateries are lighting up once-dormant corridors in Richmond. Last year, the Richmond Food Hall opened in the groundfloor of the BART parking garage and is home to Roux’s southern-style cuisine and Red Bay Coffee. The Food Hall shares space with CoBiz Richmond, a new co-working space and incubator launched by Chevron’s $10 million eQuip Richmond Initiative that is expected to add incentive for eateries to open near the transit center. According to the Chronicle, El Garage plans to establish its first permanent restaurant at 1428 MacDonald Ave., across from the BART station.
Is all this talk of food making you thirsty? Try the Bo Pils at East Brother Beer Company. Last year, the Richmond brewery’s Bohemian-style Pilsner won silver at the 33rd Great American Beer Festival, the nation’s largest beer competition, and gold at the California Craft Brewer’s Cup.
Meanwhile, the relatively new Armistice Brewing in Marina Bay continues its success, expanding its tap room last year. Point Richmond Social Club, by the owner of Catahoula Coffee on San Pablo Avenue, also opened to serve coffee, beer on tap, and food. Point Richmond, always known as a good spot for quality restaurants, invited a backyard renovation at its popular art-friendly café, Kaleidoscope Coffee, and around the corner, right next door to Raymond’s Pizza, is the new, highly regarded Maya Taqueria.
There’s much to look forward to in the food scene in 2020. Lara’s Fine Dining, for example, is set to open any day now in an updated restaurant on the Marina Bay waterfront that formerly housed Salute’s. Also opening soon is the Factory Bar, which celebrated its groundbreaking last summer on a property next door to El Tucan, the former Pup Hut site.
The list of new and existing gems appears to be growing. Would you agree? What destination-worthy food spots have we missed in this report? Let us know in the comments!