Archive for the ‘Dining’ Category

Local man opens Mexican restaurant with family, names it for his grandfather

Monday, June 20th, 2022

Patrons enjoy the food at the new El Burro Veloz Taco Bar in Antioch. Photos by Allen D. Payton.

El Burro Veloz Taco Bar opens near Walmart

By Allen D. Payton

El Burro Veloz Taco Bar, owned by Ivan Barron, is a new Mexican restaurant located in the Williamson Ranch Plaza near Walmart and Fellowship Church at 4815 Lone Tree Way.

It’s named after his grandfather’s nickname, Veloz. Ivan shared how his grandmother used to make and sell food from her front yard in Mexico but couldn’t get it delivered to the workers at a nearby manufacturing plant who only had a half-hour lunch break. So, his grandpa said, “The burro veloz will help”. Literally translated the “fast donkey”, grandpa was referring to himself on his bicycle, and he delivered the fresh food.

Ivan’s mother, sister and brother all work with him at the restaurant. They too started making tacos at home, but in their backyard. It’s their first restaurant venture.

Stop by today and try some authentic, fresh, Mexican tacos, gorditas, burritos, quesadillas, tortas and more. Plus, some horchata, jamaica or other refreshing, fruity drink. They’re open Mon-Wed 10:30 AM to 9 PM, Thurs-Sat 10:30 AM to 10 PM and closed Sundays.

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Grand Opening of La Michoacana Plus Ice Cream Parlor in Antioch Saturday

Friday, June 17th, 2022

The new La Michoacana Plus Ice Cream Parlor in Antioch was full of customers inside on Monday night, June 6, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Located in the Cielo Shopping Center at 18th and A Streets in Antioch, the new La Michoacana Plus Ice Cream Parlor will celebrate it’s grand opening on Saturday, June 18. Owner Kareem Muthana and crew will be there to welcome you!
The following invitation was posted on their Facebook page:
🎉GRAND OPENING🎊 of our New location in📍ANTIOCH, CA. 🎉 The AUTHENTIC and unmatched FLAVOR OF MEXICO of #lamichoacanaplus came to stay!! 😋 !!️ ️ WE INVITE YOU to just celebrate our GRAND OPENING 🎉🥳 and take advantage of our GRAND SPECIAL 😍 next , Saturday June 18th from ⏰ ten in the morning, we will have MUSIC, GIFTS AND FUN for everyone. ✌🏼
🗓 Saturday 18 January
⏰ 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

The line of customers was out the door at the new La Michoacana Plus Ice Cream Parlor in Antioch on Monday night, June 6, 2022.

If you can’t read Spanish then be sure to bring someone with you who does or download a translation app on your phone because the menu is in Spanish!
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Chelsea sushi restaurant opens in Antioch’s Rivertown Dining District

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Chelsea is located at 625 W. 2nd Street across from El Campanil Theatre. Photo courtesy of Kathy Cabrera.

“I’m happy to be a part of Rivertown and want to make it better” – owner Sam Lee.

By Allen D. Payton

Chelsea sushi restaurant is now open in the Rivertown Dining District in Antioch’s historic downtown. It’s the

second of two locations for owner Sam Lee. The first one is located in downtown Brentwood. The restaurants are named for his daughter.

Lee previously owned Enishi Kitchen in Brentwood but he sold it four years ago, he shared. He’s been in the restaurant business for over 20 years having started out as a dishwasher and busboy.

Asked why he opened in Antioch’s downtown Rivertown Lee said, “my dream has been to open a community restaurant and I love the downtown culture of every city.”

Sushi rolls are the primary dish with their “Chelsea Special”. They also serve a “SF Giants” roll and vegetarian rolls. Lee said he’s still working on developing an Antioch roll and a Rivertown roll.

They also serve sushi which includes rice and sashimi which is raw fish, plus teriyaki entrees, noodles and appetizers including a “Spoonful of Happiness” and “Mango Papaya Salad”.

Chelsea’s Shiso TarTa dish. Photo: Chelsea

Chelsea is another restaurant brought to Rivertown by Sean McCauley.

“Sam is another ‘A’ operator that has entered the Rivertown Dining District. The key to our success down there is not just to get restaurants but proven entrepreneurs,” building owner McCauley said. “He is one of those quality operators that we handpicked.”

“I’m excited to have him part of the Rivertown community,” he added.

Located at 625 W. 2nd Street (in the former coin shop location) the restaurant’s temporary hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 4:30-9:00 pm. They’re closed Sunday and Monday.

Chelsea will hold their Grand Opening on Tuesday, April 26.

“I’m happy to be a part of Rivertown and want to make it better,” Lee added.

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Fire closes down long-time Antioch restaurant The Red Caboose Monday morning

Monday, March 21st, 2022

The Red Caboose is still standing but fire damaged the back side of the building including the office and kitchen on Monday, March 21, 2022. Photos: Allen D. Payton (left & all other except for, right) The Red Caboose

Initial investigation shows it started outside; an Antioch landmark since the late 1960’s

The fire damaged the ceiling and roof over the bar area.

By Allen D. Payton

An early morning fire burned much of the kitchen, office, and other parts of The Red Caboose restaurant in Antioch causing it to close down, Monday. A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page Monday morning by Judy Pence, who with her husband own the restaurant, but not the building alerted the public to the tragedy. The restaurant is located at the end of Fulton Shipyard Road next to the old Antioch boat launch, Rodger’s Point and the former Tommy’s Harbor.

“Well, I don’t even know what to say. We got the call at 4:00 am. The Red Caboose Restaurant is gone. Needless to say…. We will be closed until further notice,” she wrote.

According to ConFire PIO Steve Hill, it was a single alarm fire. ConFire was called at 3:26 AM. “We got on scene pretty quickly,” he said. “It was in the kitchen area. It’s under investigation. The preliminary investigation says it does appear the fire started on the exterior. When we got there the kitchen was fully engulfed in flames.” Hill said he will provide more details later once the investigation is concluded.

Damage to the office.

“The fire started outside and went through the wall in the office off the parking lot,” John Pence stated.  “It destroyed the kitchen. But unlike a lot of restaurant fires it didn’t start in the kitchen.”

Asked if most of the building is still standing, he said, “yes”.

“The deep fryer, the charbroiler, the flat top and the stove are still fine. So, it wasn’t a kitchen fire,” he pointed out during a tour of the damage to the restaurant. “The fire appeared to have started behind the office and then run up along the eaves to the kitchen.”

Asked if they’re going to rebuild, Pence said they own the restaurant but not the building. The building is owned by the Boccio family in Antioch.

Restaurant owner John Pence points out there was no damage to some of the kitchen equipment.

When asked if she plans to rebuild, building owner Phyllis Boccio said, “I haven’t even thought about it. My daughter has been down there for about an hour, and I’ll know more when she gets back.”

Both Boccio’s daughter Nancie Boccio and son, Dr. Jim Boccio, Jr. were on scene of the restaurant, Monday morning.

Asked how long the restaurant had been open, Jim said their parents bought the building in the late 1960’s. It had previously been a bar, he shared.

They said their dad, Jim Boccio, Sr. who passed away in 2020, brought the caboose up from Southern California and added it onto the then-existing building.

3/22/22 UPDATE: In a post on The Red Caboose Facebook page, Tuesday morning, restaurant owners John and Judy Pence shared the following message:

“Good Morning. John and I want to thank everyone in this amazing community for all the kind (mostly 😊) words, support and encouragement. The Red Caboose is so much more than us. It is community, friendship, a place to come and get away, be you, hang out, eat good food, and mostly, have fun. We have strived over the last few years to make it a welcoming and homey place. Our staff is the best and we couldn’t have done it without them. To say they are heart broken is an understatement. There have been suggestions to start a go-fund me to help rebuild, but honestly it is too early to know what is going to happen. There is still much to be done with the insurance and a lot will depend on what the landlord decides to do. Please bear with us as we sift through what’s left, deal with the insurance and just try to get a grasp on things.

Again we are so thankful for the support from our friends, patrons, and the community as a whole.
Much Love, John and Judy Pence”
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Antioch Rivertown Veterans Lions club to host Mardi Gras Crab Feed Saturday, March 12

Saturday, March 5th, 2022

Follow the Antioch Rivertown Veterans Lions club on their Facebook page.

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Contra Costa reaches 80% vaccinated, lifts mandates for restaurants, gyms, theaters

Monday, February 7th, 2022

Photo source: CDC

Retiring Health Officer, staff never showed percentage of COVID cases that originated at those businesses, but still issued order in September

Average daily number of new cases have likely peaked, countywide hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also in decline

With 80% of all county residents now fully vaccinated, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, lifted its health order requiring certain businesses, including restaurants, gyms, bars and theaters, to verify the vaccination status or recent negative test results of customers. So, there is no longer a need to show your papers at those businesses. (For details see the Rescinding Order)

Although neither former county Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano nor county health staff could ever provide documentation showing the percentage of COVID cases in the county from patrons of restaurants, bars, gyms or theaters, he issued an order as of Sept.  22, 2021 requiring those businesses to verify that indoor customers were fully vaccinated, or had tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous three days. His order also included a requirement for workers in indoor areas of those businesses to show proof of full vaccination or test weekly. (See related article)

Farnitano is retiring from his position, next month and Contra Costa County Director of Public Health Dr. Ori Tzvieli is now serving as acting county health officer, as part of the transition.

Testing data show COVID-19 transmission, fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant, remains high in Contra Costa, but that the average daily number of new cases have likely peaked, and countywide hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also begun to decline.

“We believe now is the right time to loosen a requirement that made a lot of sense last summer, when a different variant of COVID-19 was dominant and there was less community immunity,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, acting Contra Costa County Health Officer. “But by no means are we back to normal. There are still many more cases of COVID-19 in our community now than there were in mid-December, so we need to continue to take precautions when we go out.”

The best protection against COVID-19 infections, and serious illness from infections, is to be fully vaccinated and up to date with a booster dose whenever eligible.

“We deeply appreciate everyone who has chosen to vaccinate. You have made yourselves, your loved ones, and the entire community safer,” Contra Costa Health Director Anna Roth said. “If you are eligible and you have not gotten your booster, it is really important that you get one. People who get boosted are significantly safer from serious COVID-19.”

County data show that the daily COVID-19 case rate for Contra Costa residents who received booster doses is more than three times lower than that of unvaccinated people, and about nine times more effective at preventing hospitalization due to the virus.

On Thursday, Contra Costa reached a new milestone, with 80% of all county residents now fully vaccinated. So far, 48.4% of eligible residents have received booster doses.

The verification order, which took effect last September, applied to businesses where people remove face coverings to eat or drink indoors, such as restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, and to gyms and other indoor fitness facilities, including yoga and dance studios, where patrons breathe more heavily due to exercise.

The order required these businesses to verify that indoor customers were fully vaccinated, or had tested negative for COVID-19 within the past three days. It also included a requirement for workers in indoor areas of these businesses to show proof of full vaccination or test weekly.

Though the county requirement may be lifted, private businesses may choose to implement their own verification requirements to better protect customers and staff, and CCHS encourages them to consider doing so as a safest practice during the pandemic.

Other state and countywide health orders remain in effect, including workplace vaccine verification requirements for healthcare workers, first responders and congregate care workers, and a requirement for most people to wear face coverings in most indoor public spaces.

Current state health orders still require proof of vaccination or a recent, negative test result in certain situations, including when visiting hospitals or long-term care facilities, or attending indoor “mega events” of 500 or more people.

Visit for updates regarding Contra Costa County health orders and the county’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.


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Contra Costa Supervisors put Health Services Chief on hot seat over 13 COVID rule violating restaurants

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

“The time has come to shut down those establishments that don’t obey the code.” – District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff

“There are no Omicron variant cases yet in our county.” – CC Health Services Director Anna Roth

Approve East County Groundwater Plan; approve $95.5 million for new West County Reentry Treatment & Housing Facility

By Daniel Borsuk

A defensive Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth faced criticism from county Supervisors, especially emanating from District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff on why 13 restaurants remain open in defiance of county COVID-19 health orders. As of Sept. 22, by order of the county’s Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other entertainment venues must require patrons show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test in order to enter. (See related article)

“There is no change in enforcement,” Roth said at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. As of November, 99 percent of restaurants in the county are compliant. We have 13 outstanding cases.”

But Roth’s statement did not satisfy Mitchoff, the supervisor who initially unveiled the code enforcement issue with the county health services.

“The time has come to shut down those establishments that don’t obey the code,” Mitchoff said. “We have done the education. We’ve done the warning.”

None of the owners of the 13 restaurants spoke at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. Lumpy’s Diner in Antioch, and MJ’s Downtown Café are among eating establishments that the county has tagged as out of compliance of COVID-19 health code.

One of the 13 restaurants on the county’s red tag list, the In-n-Out in Pleasant Hill has been closed for indoor dining health code violations.

District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg came to the defense of Roth and her department’s code enforcement division commenting, “I think you’re doing an outstanding job out there. The volume of people out there who are out of compliance is small. I enjoy eating inside a restaurant. I understand the stress,”

In the meantime, Roth reported that while 75.6 percent of Contra Costa County residents are fully vaccinated, twenty-seven persons are hospitalized in county hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms One patient dies daily on average from COVID-19 symptoms, she noted.

“There are no Omicron variant cases yet in our county,” said Roth.

In an interview for a KRON4 news report, County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said, “We don’t just jump right in there with a fine at the get go. We give the businesses the opportunity. Because our goal is to get to compliance for people to follow the order. Our goal isn’t to issue a bunch of fines.” The report also shared that Farnitano said only four restaurants in the county have been fined.

East County Groundwater Sustainability Plan Approved

Supervisors also approved the East Contra Costa Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan on a 5-0 vote. The $1.4 million groundwater study applies to the cities of Antioch and Brentwood, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, Diablo Water District, Discovery Bay Community Services and East Contra Costa Irrigation District.

Even under drought like conditions, the plan found, “Groundwater conditions in the ECC Subbasin are favorable and reflect stability over the past 30 years or more. Using various analogies, the Subbasin can be described as generally full through various water-year types, including drought and is in good “health.” The favorable conditions are in part due to surface water availability that represents the largest sources of supply for municipal and agricultural uses in the Subbasin.”

Ryan Hernandez of the Department of Conservation and Planning said if the board of supervisors did not adopt the ECC-GSP, the county would be in violation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which would result in the State Water Resources Board intervening in local groundwater management.

Rendering of the entrance of the West County Re-entry Treatment and Housing Facility. Source: Contra Costa County

$95.5 Million West County Detention Facility Expansion Plan Approved

Supervisors unanimously approved a $95.5 million design-build contract with Montana-based contractor Sletten Construction Company to design and build five secure housing units, a medical treatment center, reentry program space and building, and visitation facilities at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond. It will be known as the West County Re-entry Treatment and Housing Facility. WRTH presentation CCCBOS120721

One of the objectives of the project is to reduce overcrowding by 128 inmate beds to 288 high-security inmate beds in five housing units. Ninety-six beds will still be mental health treatment beds.

Possible Relocation of Marsh Creek Shooting Range

In a related matter, supervisors approved as a consent item a report on the future use and potential relocation of the shooting range at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility possibly to the Concord Naval Weapon Station. At the low-security detention facility inmates learn wood making skills and other basic education skills.

Used also as a training facility for the Office of the Sheriff and law enforcement agencies from Contra Costa County and surrounding counties, the Marsh Creek Range Facility generates revenue for the county. The range will bring about $113,000 for fiscal year 2021-2022, wrote County Administrator Monica Nino in her report to the supervisors.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.


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Sneak Peek: Monica’s Riverview to finally open in Antioch next week

Tuesday, November 16th, 2021

Monica’s Riverview entrance, sign and glass enclosed banquet room.

The latest addition to the new Rivertown Dining District

By Allen Payton

Finally! After much anticipation, the long-awaited Monica’s Riverview is opening. The restaurant is located on the dock over the water at the end of I Street at the former site of the Riverview Lodge. (See related article)

It took eight months to get the equipment in due to the supply chain backup. But now they’re done and ready to open. They’re expecting to open the week of Thanksgiving as they’re finalizing their fire inspection.

Indoors they’ve pretty much left it the way you’ll remember it, only better. You’ll see the tables, booths and full service bar, as well as banquet room but with some serious upgrades.

Monica’s Riverview will offer outdoor dining and a full service bar.

Outdoors the new and improved Riverview has plenty of seating for COVID compliance.

Plus, they will have a bakery for tasty sweets like cinnamon rolls, pecan rolls, cookies, cakes and pies. It will also serve as the place for to go orders.

Monica’s Riverview will include a Bakery & Sweet Shoppe.

The barista bar will serve coffee from local roaster Big House Beans.

Another new feature at Monica’s Riverview is they will be open for daily breakfast – the only restaurant in Rivertown to offer it. If you’ve eaten at their Livermore location, you’ll know it’s delicious.

As expected for an on the water restaurant, they will offer a variety of seafood items on their Evening Menu.

“You’ll be sure to enjoy the awesome views of the river, too,” said owner Monica Barajas. Thus the name, Riverview. Get it?

Antioch will now have two of the largest waterfront restaurants in the entire Delta.

An old photo of the Riverview Lodge greets patrons inside the restaurant.

“It will be the next restaurant in the new Rivertown Dining District which is open for business,” said developer Sean McCauley. “We’re looking for more quality restaurateurs to locate in Antioch’s historic downtown.”

Keeping the history and tradition alive as one of the oldest restaurants in Antioch and the region, Monica’s Riverview will prove to be the new destination for food, entertainment and fun with friends and family in East County.

Did I mention they’re serving breakfast?

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