Archive for the ‘Dining’ Category

Enjoy The Red Caboose Restaurant’s latest special and outdoor dining, again!

Monday, February 1st, 2021

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Monica’s at Riverview to open in May, helps establish Waterfront Dining District in downtown Antioch

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Old sign and new entrance to Monica’s Riverview restaurant on Antioch’s waterfront.

Improvements include new entrance, two outdoor patios, bakery and sandwich shop; will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner

By Allen Payton

The much-anticipated re-opening of the former Riverview Lodge is still in process, with the reconstruction by building owners Sean McCauley and Ron Harrison, and their crew. Renamed Monica’s at Riverview, the restaurant sits on the dock over the water at the foot of I Street in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown. It has been getting both a serious facelift and major upgrades inside.

It’s named for Monica Barajas, the former partner of MJ’s Café & Bakery in downtown Brentwood and owner of Monica’s Livermore, who, with partner Robert Bonner, will be the new operators.

Construction Foreman Tim Finklea shows the river side patio, bar windows and entrance.

“Robert and I met through my ex-business partner. He was an integral part of that venture starting, having us cater his daughter’s wedding,” Barajas shared. “Then following that, conversations started about opening a restaurant, after I’d had a business plan in my mind to open an all-day breakfast place.”

Bar area with roll up windows on the river side, room from a band and roll-up door to the front patio.

“We opened MJ’s in 2010 at the end of the horrible economic crash,” she said. “I worked there for seven years and Robert was a customer who came in literally, every day. He suggested we open a place in Livermore, and I thought it was a great idea. So, we did.”

Second Location in Antioch

Front patio.

“We wanted to open this business model, elsewhere. So, we were excited when Sean and Ron talked to us about opening a location in Antioch,” she continued. “What we can bring to Antioch is not just good food, but a place to get away from home and have a good experience. We will have live music and are planning on bringing events to the pier, as well.”

But not everything is changing as the “Old Riverview” style and some menu items will remain.

“There will be some nods to the old recipes in our dinner menu, including three items that are Riverview Lodge classics,” Barajas shared. “But we’ll be bringing much of the same menu from our current location.”

Check out Monica’s Livermore website to see their menu of breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert items of made-from-scratch recipes, as well as their variety of beverages, including local wines. See more on their Facebook page.

Just like before, the new Riverview will include a dining room, bar and banquet room, and is retaining some of the original wood paneling to keep the “lodge” look.

Construction crew member Justin Pereira works on the subfloor.

Working since late last summer, the crew has “put in 19 piers for the foundation of the deck,” according to construction foreman Tim Finklea. “Also new joists, subfloor, new girders, new beams and four new ADA restrooms, as well.”

There was an 11-inch sag in the ceiling which they raised up with the beams and the floor was caving in, too, Finklea explained. One of the crew, Justin Pereira was down in a hole in the floor (through which the river could be seen below) working on the subfloor, Tuesday afternoon.

“There will be $40,000 in new windows,” Finklea added.

New and Improved!

The improvements to the iconic restaurant include front and back patios for outdoor dining, room in the bar area for a band to perform, a roll-up door to the back patio and roll-up windows to the front patio for service to the outdoor granite bar that will be installed. It will also include a bakery and sandwich shop with a separate entrance.

Entrance to new bakery and sandwich shop.

“Ron and I are excited to procure such a good operator for the iconic Riverview Lodge. Monica will bring to the new waterfront dining district a fresh and much needed experience,” McCauley said. “We now have two of the largest and most sought-after restaurants on the Delta, coming to the Antioch Waterfront Dining District. They will not only attract Far East County patrons, but we will be a more regional draw for great food and atmosphere.

This is the food establishment that McCauley and Harrison’s have brought to Antioch’s downtown, having purchased the former Humphrey’s on the Delta location, and under the leadership of Randy and Lynn Tei, turned it into Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill, as well as Guadalajara Taqueria, and Chill Tea & Coffee.

The pair expects to also open Chelsea’s, a sushi and Ramen house, with a current location in Brentwood, in the former coin shop on W. 2nd Street in April. Then the pair currently have three more restaurants planned to open in the Waterfront Dining District in the summer or fall of 2021.

Dining room and new main entrance inside.

Grand Opening Planned for May

Hopefully by May the COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted for at least, outdoor dining, if not indoor dining, as well and a grand opening celebration for Monica’s Riverview can be held.

“Robert and I want to be part of giving Antioch what they deserve, which is a vital downtown district,” Barajas added.

Look for more information about Monica’s at Riverview, soon on social media.

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New Mexican restaurant to open in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Humberto Madrigal owner of La Plazuela inside his San Pablo location. Screenshot of YouTube video on April 14, 2014.

In the former Southern Café and Bases Loaded location; the plan is to open Dec. 31.

By Allen Payton

A new Mexican restaurant will be opening in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown, soon. In the former Southern Café and Bases Loaded Location at 400 G street, owner Humberto Madrigal will be opening La Plazuela Restaurant and Bar, the second of two locations.

According to a 2014 interview on YouTube, his first location is in San Pablo and Madrigal has owned it since 2004. He has been involved in the community of San Pablo, including serving for eight years as the head of the merchants’ association.

Madrigal grew up in Mexico and owns a home with land in San Pablo, where he has cows, chickens, goats and a stallion named “Guapo”, like he had in his home country. Madrigal started working at a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley, as well as in construction.

The restaurant offers traditional Mexican cuisine and includes a variety of seafood dishes, as well. See the menu for La Plazuela’s San Pablo location by clicking, here. At the Antioch location “the menu will be 90% the same,” Madrigal shared. “But we’ll also offer fresh tortillas and different kinds of soup.”

“We won’t have regular entertainment, just for special occasions, like Mother’s Day,” he continued. “It’s going to be a family style restaurant.”

Asked when he plans to open, Madrigal said, “Due to COVID-19 it’s kind of difficult, right now. But we’re planning to open the last day of the year to start fresh, next year.”

They’ll offer take-out orders and outdoor dining, for now.

“We have a nice patio with a stereo bar,” he added.

Terry Karp, the first owner of the building and Bases Loaded, said he sold the building a few years ago to Phillip Belle, the owner of Southern Café, who in turn sold it to Madrigal, last month.

“Can’t wait to go there,” Karp said about La Plazuela.

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Order your Thanksgiving Turkey-To-Go from Lone Tree Golf & Event Center

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

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Get your Football Bundle “To-Go” from Champions Bar & Grill at Lone Tree Golf & Event Center

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

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Contra Costa advances in COVID-19 Reopening Plan – churches, indoor dining now at 50% capacity

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Indoor swimming pools can reopen; bars can reopen outdoors; live entertainment for up to 50 people (requires pre-approval), more

By Contra Costa Health Services

More businesses and community activities can reopen beginning today in Contra Costa after the county’s data indicators for COVID-19 transmission showed improvement in October.

California today reassigned Contra Costa to the less-restrictive orange tier of its Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowing for larger local gatherings for indoor worship services and dining, and the reopening of indoor pools, bars and bowling alleys.

But health officials caution that it is now more important than ever to follow the state health guidance for physical distancing and use of face coverings, to keep everyone safe and healthy during the holiday season and to avoid a return to the red tier.

Contra Costa’s adjusted per-capita case rate – the average daily number of new COVID-19 cases identified in the county per 100,000 population – stood at 3.7 on Tuesday, just qualifying the county to move into the orange tier.

The average daily percentage of COVID-19 tests that return positive in the county is 1.9%, with 4.9% or lower qualifying for the orange tier. That number for census tracts identified by the state’s health equity metric was 3.9% today, with 5.2% required for the orange tier.

Counties in the orange tier can allow:

  • Worship services and other cultural activities indoors at 50% occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer;
  • Indoor dining at 50% occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer;
  • Indoor swimming pools;
  • Bars and other businesses that sell alcohol without meals to open for outdoor operation;
  • Family entertainment centers to open indoors for “naturally distanced” activities, such as bowling alleys, escape rooms and climbing-wall gyms, at 25% occupancy;
  • Cardrooms to open indoors at 25% occupancy;
  • Small amusement parks to open at 25% of occupancy or 500 people, whichever is fewer;
  • Professional sports venues to open at 20% occupancy;
  • Live entertainment to open with no more than 50 people, if approved by the Health Officer.

The county will remain in the orange tier for at least two weeks. The state could move Contra Costa into the less-restrictive yellow tier, or the more restrictive red tier, if its metrics qualify for one of those tiers for two consecutive weeks. The state updates the official numbers every Tuesday.

To reduce the spread of the virus in Contra Costa County, and to continue its progress toward reopening, county leaders urge the public to get tested for COVID-19 regularly, including people who have no symptoms of illness.

Contra Costa would not have qualified for the orange tier this week had it not tested more residents than the state average. California adjusts the case rates of high-testing counties downward to reflect their work controlling the virus. Without that adjustment, Contra Costa’s per-capita case rate this week would have been 4.1, which would not qualify for the orange tier.

Following the heath guidance for physical distancing and face coverings, practicing good hand hygiene and staying home when you feel sick are also key to continuing Contra Costa’s progress against the pandemic.

About 3,500 people get tested every day for COVID-19 in Contra Costa. By ramping up to test at least 4,500 daily, the county can more quickly notify those infected – particularly people with the virus who do not have symptoms – to prevent outbreaks and better protect community members at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 because of their age or health.

Contra Costa recommends that workers in jobs that bring them in frequent contact with the public, including all essential workers, consider a COVID-19 test every 30 days. Anyone who has symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing should also consider a test.

Call 1-844-421-0804 to schedule a fast, free COVID-19 test in Contra Costa, or visit to schedule online.


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District 1 council candidate Soliz proposes emergency ordinance to support Antioch restaurants

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Dear Editor:

The following letter was sent to our mayor and councilmembers in time for their next meeting, Tuesday night.

Mayor and Councilmembers:

In an effort to support and assist our restaurant owners in Antioch, I am proposing the City Council immediately adopt an emergency ordinance to support our small business restauranteurs.  How?

I am proposing that the City limit the amount that third party food delivery companies can charge our restaurants to 15% of the sales amounts.  Currently, food delivery services can charge as much as 30% to provide this service to people ordering from our restaurants.  This temporary measure will help support our local restaurants, cost the City zero to adopt and implement and help during this pandemic time as some people continue to order food delivered to them, instead of venturing out for pick up.

Large conglomerate restaurants can usually negotiate a smaller delivery charge, but our local business owners are at the mercy of the delivery firms, and their high charges.  Our local small restaurants are often dealing with a 20% to 30% charge

Longevity for this ordinance?  Why not have the ordinance terminate when the City Council and County lifts emergency orders related to the pandemic.  Restoration of normalcy seems vague at this point, and the ordinance to support our restaurants should not terminate prematurely.

This is a quick way to support our restaurants in Antioch.  As we approach the fall and winter, we need to be proactive in supporting our business community.  I am available to share my research with you, and expect our City leaders to be responsive in helping our small businesses, restaurants in particular.

Manny Soliz, Jr.

Former Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember

Current candidate Antioch City Council District 1

P.S. I also support waiving late fees on Antioch business licenses, this year to help all businesses in our city.


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Meet candidates for Antioch mayor and city council at The Red Caboose each Saturday Sept 19-Oct 17

Monday, September 14th, 2020

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