Assemble in Richmond: A few months back, we told you about the exciting changes taking place at Richmond's Craneway Pavilion, where the BoilerHouse had closed down. Richard Mazzera, a Chez Panisse alum and cofounder of Cesar, and his wife, general manager Terumi Shibata-Mazzera, were turning the warehouse-chic space into a New American eatery called Assemble, a nod to the former Ford assembly plant site. The place quietly opened for lunch in mid-March with a starter menu that includes seafood, burgers and gourmet sandwiches for the Monday through Saturday crowd. Dinner service will start this spring, as soon as they get up and running to full capacity -- and those spectacular views bode well for lazy weekend brunches to come. Details: 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond; http://assemblerestaurant.com.
Farewell arias: The much beloved Caffe Venezia is singing its swan song with a little help from the stars of the West Edge Opera. Join them as they bid a fond, operatic farewell to this Berkeley institution April 9 at Venezia Opera Night. Cover charge is $15, and you'll need reservations -- call 510-849-4681 or go to www.caffevenezia.com.
Meanwhile, we hear from our colleagues at Berkeleyside that Venezia devotee Joel DiGiorgio will be opening a pizza-centric "California craftshouse" restaurant called Monarch Trading Co. in that space this summer.
Coming soon-ish: Ground has not even broken yet on this restaurant venture, but we're already excited. Plans are under way for a grand new retail/restaurant building in downtown Walnut Creek, just a Prada handbag's throw from Neiman Marcus. The plan includes a three-level restaurant with a ground-floor bar and lounge and rooftop dining. No word yet on who the culinary tenant will be, but we're hoping Pat Kuleto is on speed dial.
Send your Bay Area restaurant tips to food editor Jackie Burrell, firstname.lastname@example.org.