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Sprouts & Shutters: Flip for Fun in Lafayette

Here’s your biweekly roundup of retail, restaurant and other business news and happenings in Walnut Creek and Central Contra Costa.

Wondering what new businesses are opening and changing in your town? Our biweekly “Sprouts & Shutters” column highlights restaurant, retail and other business news in Lafayette, Orinda and Moraga — and Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek and Concord.

Looking for some indoor activities for the kids now that the cool weather has arrived? Lafayette’s new Flip-N-Fun Gymnastics, which opened last month, offers beginning gymnastics and movement classes for children ages 2 – 6. The classes feature bright, colorful mats and equipment designed for younger kids. The new gym shares space with the new Lamorinda Theatre Academy, which opened in June above Lamorinda Music on Lafayette Circle. The new academy features both dance and acting studios plus offers voice and music lessons and even yoga classes. Learn more about the two new businesses at flipnfungym.webstarts.com and lamorindatheatreacademy.com.

Over in Orinda, the children’s shoe store Tiny Feet closed its shop at the Orinda Theatre Square.

Lafayette’s La Boulange now offers catering. Learn more here on Patch.

Several local restaurants gained some food awards recently. Lafayette's Artisan Bistro and Chevalier made the coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand list of restaurants that offer "excellence on a budget." And Diablo's Food Awards went to Artisan Bistro, Chevalier and Metro in Lafayette, and Prima Ristorante, Eleve, Ottavio Osteria, Corners Tavern, Va De Vi in Walnut Creek. See the full lists at michelintravel.com/michelin-selection/san-francisco-2012 and diablomag.com/Diablo-Magazine/November-2012.

The women’s boutique Brandy Melville opened Oct. 20 in its new, much larger location on North Main in Walnut Creek across from Starbucks. Brandy Melville, an “original Italian brand inspired by L.A. lifestyle,” claims Paris Hilton, the Kardashians and Lindsay Lohan among the brand’s fans and runs stores in Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, New York City and other major cities. It opened its first Northern California store late last year next to the Cheesecake Factory before relocating to this new space in the former Rochester Big & Tall. To learn more about Brandy Melville and browse selections go to brandymelvilleusa.com.

Walnut Creek gets its second Habit Burger Grill on Halloween. The new burger joint opens Wednesday on Geary Road near the new Sprouts Farmers Market. The other location is on South California Boulevard. Read more in earlier Patch coverage.

Sample cuisine from top East Bay restaurants and taste local wines, beers and custom cocktails during Gourmet East Bay 2012 this Saturday from  7 – 10 p.m. at Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza. Va de Vi, Havana, Esin, Metro Lafayette and Sasa are just of the nearly thirty participating restaurants. You’ll also find Wente, Hannah Nicole, Grgich Hills and Ale Industries. Proceeds from a raffle and silent auction benefit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and Project Open Hand. The annual event usually sells out, so get your tickets soon at gourmeteastbay12.eventbrite.com.

The owners of Berkeley’s award-winning La Rose Bistro are moving their popular California-French cuisine to Concord. At their new La Sen Bistro, You’ll find the same duck confit, salmon in saffron sauce, lamb racks, escargot and other dishes that earned La Rose recognition in the Michelin Guide and the Zagat survey. The new eatery opens this Thursday on Salvio Street in SushiYa’s old space. Learn more at lasenbistro.com.

Southern California’s popular Lazy Dog Café plans to open its first Northern California restaurant in Concord next September. Lazy Dog Café isn’t just family-friendly—it’s dog-friendly, too. While Fido lounges by your table on the patio, hoping you drop a few morsels, you can dine on an eclectic array of dishes such as brick-oven pizzas, pot roast, spicy fried chicken “lollipops” and Carolina pulled-pork sandwiches. The full-service restaurant also features craft beer, cocktails and flat-screens. Lazy Dog Café will move into the space currently occupied by El Torito, expected to close early next year. Learn more at lazydogcafe.com.

Kmart will close its 40-year-old store at Pleasant Hill’s DVC Plaza Shopping Center. No date has been set for the closure. Read more about the closure here in earlier Patch coverage.

The Pleasant Hill, Concord, Hispanic and Martinez chambers of commerce invite the community to the annual Business Expo to get to know local businesses and learn more about what they offer. The expo takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel this Thursday, Nov. 1, from 4 – 7 p.m. The event is free to the public. Learn more at pleasanthillchamber.com/business-expo-2012.php.

Opening Update: Pizza My Way, previewed in the last column, is now open in Pleasant Hill on Contra Costa Boulevard next to Subway.

Want to find out what else is opening in the East Bay? Sprouts & Shutters now covers 21 cities on 18 Patch sites. Read the latest columns for the Tri-Valley, Berkeley/Oakland and Milpitas/Tri-City communities.

Did you miss Patch's last retail and restaurant roundup? Read about these and more in our last Sprouts & Shutters column:  

  • Yan's Restaurant and Susie Cakes update in Lamorinda
  • Mixed Grain and Accent European closing in Walnut Creek
  • Wence's Restaurant and Pizza My Way inPleasant Hill
  • Fresh and Gail in Concord

Know of a business opening or closing in Lamorinda, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill or Concord? Please tell Patch about it for a future Sprouts & Shutters column. Simply add it to this short form. Or send me a news tip at patchsprouts@gmail.com.

For more local business news, follow Patch on Twitter@EBayPatchBiz.

About this column: A biweekly roundup of retail, restaurant and other business news in the Central Contra Costa area.

Don't Tell Me What To Do October 29, 2012 at 05:40 PM
My family tried Susie Cakes on Saturday, its grand opening. Wonderful. Coconut cupcake, a slice of red velvet cake, and banana pudding were shared amongst us all. All were terrific. It's closed on Sundays, but I'll be stopping by today to pick up some items for a work meeting. If you like sweets, definitely give it a try.
Claire October 29, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I don't know what focus group decided Lafayette is the new nexus of bakeryville, but I will mention that the recently opened and locally owned Cake. in La Fiesta Square (where Teacake used to be) is pretty terrific too. Their coconut macroons are amazing and every day she has something special, like caramel apples or wine poached pears. Lamorinda waistlines are certainly in for a test with all these delicious options!
Trissy October 29, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I like how Lafayette finally got a cupcake shop five years after the trend hit it's apex.
Claire October 29, 2012 at 10:37 PM
That may be, but neither of the bakeries mentioned above are "cupcake shops".
Don't Tell Me What To Do October 30, 2012 at 04:44 AM
I've tried it and it's quite good, too. I feel kinda bad for that location, tho. It's one of the few stores in that complex that is not visible from either Mt. Diablo Blvd or Moraga Rd. I'm wondering if that's what hurt the last bakery in that location. I hope the owners of the new store are able to overcome that and gain some popularity by word of mouth. Susie's location definitely has the better visibility, but I'm sure the rent reflects that fact. I hope both bakeries are here to stay and wish them many years of success. I have noticed that both use an ipad for their cash register. All this new fangled technology. Leaves oldies like me in the dust.
Don't Tell Me What To Do October 30, 2012 at 04:46 AM
So true! I tried a wonderful bread pudding from Cake and banana pudding from Susies. Both were spectacular.

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