Orinda Restaurants Spice up the Town

Table 24

David Beal and Hannah Tennant

Orinda is home to a myriad of restaurants with many distinctive, little-known quirks.  For your reading and dining pleasure, Mirador has sifted through the stories of some of Orinda’s favorite restaurants, and prepared a dish of delicious facts for you.

Republic of Cake:
Previous jobs of ROC owners: Chih-Chung Fang studied molecular biology in college, and Peter McNiff used to work in telecommunications.
Biggest mishaps: Mixture explosions! (courtesy of Miramonte alum Emily Hinkamp ‘10).
What offends some customers: A lack of red velvet cake, and too many obscure ingredients.

La Piazza:
Their favorite dish: A tie between the penne abiata and the tequila pizza.
Funniest happening: There is a mirror on one end of La Piazza that many people mistake for a door…
Favorite Orinda restaurant: Their neighbor, Yu Sushi.

Table 24:
Most interesting thing on their tables: A deck of Trivial Pursuit cards for added entertainment.
Meaning of name: Highway 24 inspired the name of Table 24.  The owners feel that when you hit Highway 24, you’re home.
Most amusing thing that happens in their restaurant: Some children sleep through the entire meal, from the time their parents carry them through the door to when they’re dragged out.

Turquoise Mediterranean Grill:
Whom they’ve had to kick out: Belligerent customers and unsupervised minors who break things.
Petra 2.0?: Similar cuisine, but they have a completely different menu.
What they spend the most money on: Garlic

Petra:
How long they’ve been in Orinda: Fifteen years
Their favorite dish on the menu: Troy Salad
Their favorite Orinda restaurant: La Piazza

Trattoria Lupetti:
Meaning of name: “Tavern of baby wolves.”  The restaurant is named after Romulus and Remus, because they specialize in Roman cuisine.
Ingredients?: All their ingredients come from organic vendors. Every one of their dishes has olive oil, garlic and parsley.
Famous people who go there: Giorgio Tavecchio, the Cal kicker, used to work there and still does on occasion. St. Mary’s basketball coach Randy Bennett is a regular.

Gepetto’s:
Favorite sandwich: Hot ham and swiss sandwich or the chicken brie pesto sandwich (bickering employees couldn’t decide).
Favorite Orinda restaurant: Lava Pit
Coolest former employee: LaFunk. By day, Gepetto’s food prepper. By night, a fly DJ.

Casa Orinda:
How long they’ve been in Orinda: Since 1932; workers on the Caldecott Tunnel opened it. They are the oldest restaurant in the East Bay.
Most scandalous historical fact: One of the original owners was murdered, lots of gambling used to take place, and the upstairs used to be a brothel.
Most used ingredient: Chicken (for their famous fried chicken).

Europa:
Their favorite Orinda restaurant: Nation’s
The strangest thing to happen in their kitchen: “One time I locked someone in the freezer,” said an employee.
What they spend the most money on: Corned Beef