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Alameda Marketplace: Ching Hua out, East End Pizza in

Ruth Lafler Dec 4, 2012 07:12 PM

Apparently the owner of Ching Hua has had it on the market (in Chinese newspapers) for a while, with no takers. Meanwhile, East End is having trouble keeping up with demand in its limited space. So Paul Manousos is partnering with Jacob Alioto (chef at Luka's) to take over the Ching Hua space, including the full liquor license.

Not surprisingly, they'll be expanding the menu to non-pizza offerings, including cocktails and bar snacks. They'll also be broadening their pizza offerings to include a 10-inch size (yay!) in addition to their standard 14-inch.

The owner of Ching Hua, who still has two other restaurants, is said to be planning a Japanese place on Piedmont Avenue.

I didn't ask Paul about the timeline -- I think we all know it's impossible to predict how smoothly a transition like this will go, and I don't know how much redecorating they're planning. I think I heard words like "casual" and "tavern" which would mean a pretty significant redo of the sleek, Asian-modern Ching Hua space.

  1. The Dive Jul 15, 2013 10:36 AM

    We went for lunch on Saturday. Still a few kinks in the service. (E.g., Never got the pea soup we ordered, hard to order to another round of wine, etc.). But the pizza was excellent (got the Mousetrap with proscuitto). Also enjoyed the well-dressed romaine salad and cheese plate. Wish it was a bit more kid-friendly, at least for lunch, being pizza and Alameda. But definitely one of the better pies around.

    1. p
      Pius Avocado III Jun 26, 2013 06:07 PM

      Four of us went last night, and I can happily report that the pizza quality is the same as before- in fact better than my last two visits at the smaller operation, which lacked the nicely-spotted crust I'd enjoyed until then.

      Cocktails were OK; execution wasn't quite there for the $10 price point, which was fine as I switched to beer for the pies. Short wine list w/ 5 or 6 reds, all by the glass or bottle. I didn't think to ask about corkage, which for my taste would be a better choice given the selection on offer.

      Small plates and dessert were less successful than the pizza. Angnolotti was just three small angnolotti atop eggplant puree, which only served to muddle the flavor- and at $12 for 3 bites, extremely overpriced. The pork belly was more successful, with succulent meat in a pool of lentil puree, but again, $12 for 3-4 small bites.

      The strawberry shortcake was too much shortcake and whipped cream, not enough strawberries. We left a good 1/3-1/2 of each of the former. I forget the toll on that one.

      Service was casual and efficient; we wanted for nothing at any time.

      We'll be back for the pizza, and will find out if the salads are a better accompaniment than the small plates. It's great to have beverage options and better seating than at the prior locale.

      1. Ruth Lafler Jun 5, 2013 07:49 PM

        Soft opening tonight. Still working some kinks out but looks promising.

        1. s
          shanghaikid Dec 4, 2012 08:58 PM

          re:japanese place on piedmont
          -the kutobuki spot has been undergoing remodeling for quite awhile. is this the spot?

          1 Reply
          1. re: shanghaikid
            Ruth Lafler Dec 4, 2012 09:07 PM

            I don't know!

          2. hhc Dec 4, 2012 08:37 PM

            Sounds great, please let us know when East End Pizza is open in the new spot.

            3 Replies
            1. re: hhc
              Ruth Lafler Jan 28, 2013 10:06 AM

              The liquor license transfer notice period was over in early January. This morning there was paper over the windows saying "wood-fired pizza & new american fare" and "craft beers, classic cocktails, fine wines." And happy hour! I'm super excited! I may plant myself at the bar and never leave!

               
               
              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                Ruth Lafler Feb 7, 2013 02:47 PM

                Talked to Paul last night. He's hoping to open in early April.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  Ruth Lafler May 23, 2013 11:25 AM

                  Update from their Facebook page: "last call for pizza at our spot inside the Marketplace is THIS FRIDAY, 5/24! We'll be closing over the Memorial Day weekend to get ready on the corner. Stay tuned for updates."

            2. vincentlo Dec 4, 2012 07:20 PM

              Some of the Chinese dishes at Ching Hua were *exceptionally* bad, e.g., the inedible XLB. For such a pretty place, they could have done *much* better. I used to jog shirtless outside this place, and families inside would stare at me. :-p

              4 Replies
              1. re: vincentlo
                Ruth Lafler Dec 4, 2012 07:34 PM

                Yeah, this is all good news to me. The only thing I liked at Ching Hua was the mojito (why the Chinese restaurant makes a better mojito than the Cuban restaurant down the street remains a mystery).

                1. re: vincentlo
                  s
                  shanghaikid Dec 4, 2012 08:55 PM

                  the "happy hour" food menu was awful. all previosuly frozen food items.

                  1. re: shanghaikid
                    vincentlo Dec 5, 2012 12:33 AM

                    Agree, but frozen stuff can actually be decent. I stock the best frozen dumplings and XLB from different restaurants and Chinese grocery stores, and they all taste decent when cooked properly. So why can't Ching Hua and a million other mediocre Chinese restaurants do the same?!

                    1. re: vincentlo
                      s
                      shanghaikid Dec 5, 2012 07:13 AM

                      properly improper training or the higher ups don't want the fry cooks to know all the cooking secrets.

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