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Sprouts & Shutters: Lamorinda and County Business Roundup

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

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

Not sure whether you feel like Chinese or Vietnamese for lunch? You can have both at Moraga’s new Basil Asian Restaurant. Not to be confused with Lafayette's old Basil Leaf restaurant, he new “Asian fusion” eatery, which serves dishes ranging from Kung Pao chicken to bowls of Pho, recently replaced Red Chopstick across from the Rheem Valley Center.

Good news for Lafayette parents: Montclair’s Tulip Grove relocated its upscale baby and kid boutique to Lafayette on Aug. 25. The new Tulip, which replaced Red Wagon on Mt. Diablo Boulevard, sells specialty clothes for babies and kids plus stocks diaper bags, toys, strollers, carriers and more. Learn more at Tulip-Lafayette.com.

A new ice cream shop in Walnut Creek takes you way beyond traditional vanilla and chocolate. Guanatos Ice Cream, which opened this spring in the Countrywood Shopping Center on Bancroft, dishes up playful flavors like tequila, avocado, corn and, coming this fall, sweet yam and Irish cream. The new dessert place has already amassed a lengthy fan base on Yelp. Check out the flavor menu at guanatosicecream.com.

Sichuan House opened recently on Treat Boulevard in Walnut Creek. The new restaurant, run by an owner of Pleasant Hill’s popular Sichuan Fortune House, serves classic Sichuan cuisine plus many unusual specialties such as Pickled Mustard Green & Fish Fillet Soup and Dry-Cooked Crispy Vegetarian Eel (yes, you read that right—vegetarian eel). Browse more dishes on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

After 10 years baking cakes and other sweet treats, closed on Friday. Read about the closure in Patch’s .

Now you don’t have to wait for farmers’ markets to enjoy Slow Hand BBQ BBQ ribs or pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. Owner and Pleasant Hill resident Dan Feng opened his Slow Hand BBQ restaurant July 25 in Smokin Oakie’s BBQ’s old space on Oak Park Boulevard in Pleasant Hill. Slow Hand BBQ still serves its southern specialties at both the Walnut Creek and Concord farmers weekly markets.

Let Pleasant Hill wine and dine you during the Wine Walk this Friday, Sept. 7. You can sample wine and appetizers at participating downtown businesses while enjoying the season’s final free concert. The Fundamentals perform R&B, rock, pop and soul tunes beginning at 6:30 on the stage between Sweet Tomatoes and Jack’s Restaurant. The Wine Walk runs from 5:30 – 8 p.m. and costs $20 (includes wine glass). To purchase wine walk tickets call 925-687-0700.

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que is shooting for a Thanksgiving week opening in Concord’s Sunvalley Shopping Center, according to center spokesperson Kim Trupiano. The barbecue joint chain may have started in California, but its designed to make you feel like you’re deep in the south: Lucille’s Smokehouse resembles a “southern roadhouse” and serves southern dishes like pan-blackened catfish, Southern fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and New Orleans gumbo. It also offers three styles of barbecued ribs. Preview the menu at lucillesbbq.com.

Concord’s Ale Industries craft brewery just released its new A.I. Evolution beer, reusing wine barrels to create its latest specialty brew. Why “Evolution”? According to the brewery, the barrel-fermented beer is “constantly evolving through blending with new and complementary batches.” The new A.I. Evolution, Generation One, for example, is an English Strong Brown with a subtle oak character and malty, toasty finish. Generation Two is set for an end of September release. For a list of bar and restaurants serving Ale Industries beers and to view Tap Room hours, visit aleindustries.com.

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

  • and in Walnut Creek
  • and in Lamorinda
  • and in Pleasant Hill
  • and in Concord

Curious about new businesses opening elsewhere in the East Bay? Find out in Patch’s .

Know of a restaurant or shop opening or closing? Please send me a news tip at patchsprouts@gmail.com.

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

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