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Oakland Eats: Alcohol-free 'dry bar' opens in Pill Hill; vegan burger truck hits Lake Merritt; more

Here's what you need to know about Oakland's food scene this week. In this edition: an alcohol-free bar debuts in Pill Hill, Lake Merritt gets a new vegan burger truck, and a Piedmont Avenue favorite is officially kicking off crab season.

Opening

Pill Hill

Bizzy's Dry Bar (2930 Telegraph Ave.)

Black Spring Coffee will play host to Bizzy's Dry Bar in the evenings. | Photo: Erich V./Yelp

Café and roastery Black Spring Coffee is getting a new co-tenant: an alcohol-free bar, Bizzy's Dry Bar.

According to its website, Bizzy's "offers a non-alcohol environment to a growing community of people looking for a much-needed alternative to the traditional bar scene."

Such spaces have grown increasingly popular with both alcoholics in recovery and those who simply prefer not to drink; Austin and New York City also have them.

In addition to dealcoholized wine and non-alcoholic beer, Bizzy's serves some clever twists on cocktails, like the "Blackberry Beret," made with nonalcoholic Seedlip liqueur, a blackberry shrub, and sparkling water. Hot toddies and a "hack and Coke" feature nonalcoholic whiskey. 

There are also "shots" of healthy juices like lemon-ginger-cayenne and carrot-turmeric, which can be paired with a "beer": ginger, root, or Lagunitas' alcohol-free Hoppy Refresher. Snacks include a pickle plate, peanut-butter filled pretzels or cheese puffs.

A few drinks at Bizzy's do contain trace amounts of alcohol — Angostura bitters are made with it, and some nonalcoholic beers have 0.5% alcohol. But you won't find any truly alcoholic beverages.

For now, Bizzy's takes over from Black Spring at 6 p.m. Thursday through Monday, remaining open until midnight. Owners Jesska Hughes and Michelle Hill told KQED that they're eventually planning to add other bar accoutrements, like DJ nights, karaoke and trivia.

Lake Merritt

Malibu's Burgers (at or around Lake Merritt)

Last week, vegan food truck Malibu's Burgers popped up for the first time at Eastshore Park, with plans to become a regular afternoon fixture around Lake Merritt.

Malibu's serves three different vegan burgers — two Impossible, one Beyond Meat — alongside french fries, tater tots and a bean salad.

The truck also offers four different vegan shake options: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and cookies & cream. 

Look for the truck near Lake Merritt in the afternoon, from Wednesday to Monday. For exact dates and locations, keep an eye on Malibu's Instagram and Facebook stories.

Special Event

Piedmont Avenue

Crab Sunday at Homestead (4029 Piedmont Ave.)

Photo: Alexis Y./Yelp

With the local Dungeness crab season delayed by a month to protect migrating whales, Homestead was forced to push back its popular "Crab Sundays."

But now, "after our November debacle, we are so happy to make this dinner a reality," the restaurant announced in its newsletter. Crab will be on the menu this Sunday, January 26, and next Sunday, February 2.

The set menu for the evening will be crab bisque, butter lettuce salad and a grilled Dungeness crab with garlicky potatoes, escarole and carrots. For dessert, there's salted caramel cheesecake.

Seats for the dinners are filling up quickly; diners can reserve online or call Homestead at (510) 420-6962.


Have you noticed a new addition to (or subtraction from) Oakland's food landscape? Text a tip and a horizontal photo to (415) 200-3233, and we'll look into it.

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