This morning's liquor licenses bring us the news of Little Star Pizza owner John Guhl laying claim to a spot with a full liquor license on Oakland's Grand Avenue. It's the space currently occupied by Milano Ristorante at 3425 Grand, so that restaurant looks not long for this world. We should note that the DBA this time is The Star, perhaps because a full bar will be involved, but it's not clear that that will be the name of the new restaurant. Guhl and partner Brian Sadigursky opened their first on what was then a very quiet stretch of Divisadero in 2004, opening a second a two years later at Mission and 15th, and later expanding to Albany.*
The mini-chain specializes in deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza as well as thin crust, both with cornmeal-based crusts that set them apart from other Bay Area deep-dish operations (Zachary's, Patxi's). Many pizza fiends (ourselves included) rank them high among Bay Area pizza spots, and both the Mission and Divis locations consistently have lengthy waits at prime time.
Umami Burger, which is actually an L.A. brand, may be next.
And this is generally shaping up to be another boom year for East Bay food in general, with Duende and Ramen Shop having just opened after the New Year, and at least seven more notable openings in the works.
We'll update you with more details on The Star, like the cocktail program and an opening timeframe, as soon as we learn them.
Update: The Scoop clarifies that partners Guhl and Sadigursky have divided up the company, with Sadigursky still owning the Divisadero location, and Guhl the Mission and Albany location. This new location will be the first Guhl is opening without Sadigursky, and thus the new name, The Star.
The Star - 3425 Grand Avenu Oakland - Opening date TBA
* This post has been corrected to show that Guhl and Sadigursky no longer own all three Little Star locations together, but have divided the ownership.