Archive for the ‘Dining’ Category

Contra Costa moving into Orange Tier Wednesday opening churches, restaurants, theaters to 50%, gyms to 25%

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021


The State of California announced today that Contra Costa County will be able to move into the less restrictive Orange Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Wednesday, April 7.

Contra Costa County currently has a COVID case-rate of 4.9 cases per 100,000 people and an overall testing-rate positivity of 1.8% (and 3% for the health equity metric). COVID-related hospitalizations are down to their lowest point since October. Meanwhile, nearly 500,000 county residents are at least partially vaccinated.

It has been five months since the last time the county qualified for the Orange Tier.

“This is great news for our community,” said Diane Burgis, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. “The last few months have been difficult for everyone and it’s nice to see us make more progress in the fight against COVID.”

Contra Costa Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said people should not let down their guard yet. He noted that case rates have plateaued recently, suggesting a slowdown in the recovery. “We are still in a pandemic and people should continue to act accordingly: Keep wearing masks in public and get vaccinated as soon as you can. I still strongly recommend people to avoid most indoor activities with people outside of their own household until they are fully vaccinated,” Dr. Farnitano said.

Last week, Contra Costa extended vaccine eligibility to everyone ages 16 and over who lives, works or goes to school in the county. Currently, people between the ages of 16-49 must schedule appointments through Contra Costa Health Services at or by calling 833-829-2626. Other healthcare providers, including the state’s MyTurn system, do not yet offer vaccine to people below the age of 50.

Starting Wednesday, April 7 several business sectors and community services can reopen or expand capacity:

  • Places of worship: 50% maximum capacity
  • Restaurants: 50% maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer
  • Gyms, fitness centers and studios (including at hotels): 25% maximum capacity and indoor pools are permitted; Indoor hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms continue to be closed
  • Movie Theaters: 50% maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer encouraged
  • Amusement parks: Overall park capacity and indoor capacity will be limited to 25%, including indoor dining.
  • Bars: Outdoors with modifications; no meals required to be served
  • Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries: Indoors at 25% maximum capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; no meals required to be served
  • Family entertainment centers: Indoors for naturally distanced activities like bowling, escape rooms, and billiards; 25% maximum capacity
  • Outdoor sports and live performances with fans/attendees: Up to 33% and with advanced reservations only. Concession sales will be primarily in-seat (no concourse sales). Designated indoor seated dining area capacity will be limited to 25%. Attendance will be limited to in-state spectators and guests must attest their reserved seats are only for one household.
  • Retail: Open indoors with modifications and food courts permitted with indoor dining restrictions

Contra Costa County must remain in the Orange Tier for at least three weeks before moving into the next, less restrictive yellow tier.


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Get your Family Meals To Go from Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

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Contra Costa will move to Red Tier on Sunday, allows indoor dining, reopening gyms

Friday, March 12th, 2021

County shows steady improvement since Winter COVID-19 spike; schools can reopen without submitting a safety plan

COVID-19 is spreading slower in Contra Costa than during a post-holiday peak a few weeks ago, allowing some business and community activities to resume in the county for the first time since November.

The average daily number of new cases in Contra Costa has fallen enough that California today moved the county from the purple tier to the red tier of its Blueprint for a Safer Economy, effective Sunday, March 14.

Contra Costa was poised to enter red tier on Wednesday next week, but will transition a few days earlier after the state met a goal of administering 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in high-risk, economically disadvantaged communities on Friday. That triggered a relaxation of the blueprint’s requirements.

“It is encouraging to see our data moving in the right direction, and it’s a testament to the hard work Contra Costa residents have put in to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County’s health officer. “But it is important that we make healthy choices to keep up our momentum. This pandemic is not over yet.”

Contra Costa has more tools to protect against COVID-19 than it did last fall, including safe, effective vaccine. So far more than 250,000 county residents have received a dose – about one quarter of the population.

More groups of Californians will become eligible for vaccine on Monday, March 15, including public transit workers, people in congregate living situations and people who have health conditions that put them at high risk of serious illness from a COVID-19 infection. Visit for more information.

Vaccine, along with physical distancing, face coverings, avoiding close contact with people who are not housemates, hand hygiene and regular testing are all healthy choices that protect against COVID-19 and that have helped reduce transmission of the virus since January.

In early January, nearly 50 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population were identified every day in Contra Costa, during the worst part of the most recent surge. On Friday, the county’s adjusted per-capita case rate was 6.7, qualifying for reduced state health order restrictions, including:

  • Restaurants, gyms, dance studios and museums may resume indoor operation, following state health guidelines.
  • Indoor retail stores and shopping malls may increase their maximum occupancy and grocery stores may operate at fully capacity.
  • Small private gatherings may be held indoors, following state health guidance.
  • Colleges and other higher education institutions may reopen indoor lectures, following state health guidance.
  • Elementary and secondary schools can reopen for in-person learning without submitting a safety plan to Contra Costa Health Services.

For details and sector-specific health guidance, visit Contra Costa also updated its county health orders so they do not create additional restrictions to business or community activities.

Contra Costa met other state criteria for returning to the red tier weeks ago, with the average daily percentage of COVID-19 tests that return positive in the county below 8 percent (2.4 percent on Friday). The average daily percentage of positive tests in disproportionately impacted neighborhoods identified through the state’s health equity metric was 4.3 percent.

For Contra Costa data and COVID-19 health information, visit


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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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