2023 Restaurant Round-Up
2023 was a big year for new restaurants in San Leandro. No less than 16 new eateries opened last year, many of them to great accolades, and many of them after quite a bit of anticipation.
Among the most anticipated restaurants were Ike’s Sandwiches and Nick the Greek in Downtown San Leandro. Nick the Greek opened at 1509 E. 14th Street in May, offering staple Greek fast food options in a newly renovated space in the former Luke’s Grill spot. The iconic sandwich franchise Ike’s Love and Sandwiches opened in December, occupying the former Allphin’s Jewelers space at 155 Parrott Street.
On the north side of town, Habibi’s Birria has brought its unique “Mexiterranean” concept of Halal Mexican and Mediterranean dishes to 403 Lewis Avenue, adjacent to Koolfi Creamery. Both of these food destinations have been warmly embraced by the local neighborhood.
Another surprise treat is Sheng Kee Bakery Cafe, which opened in November at Marina Faire shopping center (13700 Doolittle Drive), offering delectable Asian-inspired baked goods. Sheng Kee’s baked goods are less sweet than other places and include pastries, cookies, small pies, buns, and whole cakes. Customers can also enjoy coffee, milk tea, and traditional leaf teas.
Another restaurant that made the news was the reopening of the iconic Ricky’s Sports Theater and Grill in the Bay Fair area at 15028 Hesperian Boulevard. Rickey’s Sports Lounge has reopened with new ownership, a reinvention of the concept, and a slight variation on the name hopes to begin a new era of hosting sports fans, and continuing as a home for Raider Nation. Learn more about their comeback here.
Also in Downtown, the breakfast giant IHOP opened in the former Sizzler space at Davis and E. 14th Streets (201 Davis Street), Joe’s Pho opened its second San Leandro location at 1305 Washington Avenue, and Zenti Bistro opened at Creekside Plaza (500 Davis Street) after the departure of Papaito Rotisserie and Antigua Coffee Shop.
In 2019, Micro-Enterprise Home Kitchen Operation businesses (MEHKOs) became an official type of retail establishment, and San Leandro is home to two: GrilleeQ, and ibringdasmoke, both of whom have earned high praise on Yelp.
At Marina Square, iconic burger franchise Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened its first San Leandro location this year, offering “250,000 ways to customize a burger.”
Taking over Canton Express’s spot at 14799 Washington Avenue, Aoi Teriyaki & Ramen has earned stellar Yelp ratings for its no-frills ramen shop. At 2089 E. 14th Street, A1 Pho has replaced Pho La Sen, offering a similar menu with friendly service.
Last year, Golden Bay Banquet opened at 14736 E. 14th Street, replacing King Kong Dim Sum. Golden Bay offers authentic dim sum at affordable prices and with commendable service.
If you like smoothies, boba, milk tea, or Mexican Ice Cream, you may want to try United Paleteria y Neveria, which opened its second San Leandro location at 14278 E. 14th Street in November.
At 14660 Washington Avenue, Vietnamese restaurant Pho Thin Ha Noi opened in October of last year. A self-service restaurant, Pho Thin Ha Noi uses a kiosk for orders and payment, and diners pick up their orders when called, and stash their used trays when done.
San Leandro has a rich history of diverse restaurants and while every year sees a respectable addition of new eateries, 2023 has been particularly fruitful. San Leandrans are lucky to have such varied and plentiful options. Here’s to a delicious 2024!