The Original Red Onion

The Original Red Onion
4783 Appian Way
El Sobrante, CA 94803
(510) 964-427

The Original Red Onion, located at 4783 Appian Way, has a long history within El Sobrante.  Current owner Ming first purchased the business in 1980.

Born in Malaysia, Ming followed a long road to get into the restaurant business. At 9 years old his family sent him to Hong Kong to school.  Then after a few years in Hong Kong, he moved to Chinatown in San Francisco in December of 1970. San Francisco is where Ming began to learn about the restaurant business.  As he gained experience, he was was offered a job managing El Toro Loco, a taqueria on Fisherman’s Wharf.  After two years the owner’s lease was up and the business closed.  Ming still visited with the owner who lived in El Cerrito.

Then Ming learned of a Fosters Freeze in San Pablo that was for sale.  He bought that business in 1977.  And then in 1979 he bought another Fosters Freeze in Pinole.  He bought the Original Red Onion in 1980 and a miniature golf course the same year.

Ming is very happy to be in El Sobrante.  He likes the people and he has future plans to make the Red Onion more “family friendly.”  Now, when you sit at the counter, you may be sitting next to someone but are not able to see them. He will be upgrading the seating. He wants people to be able to eat and talk comfortably to each other.

We are happy to have the Original Red Onion Hamburger shop as February’s Business of the Month.

Grand Opening with Chamber Board Members

Photos by Bob Sharp

Four Corners Pizza

Four Corners Pizza, Pasta and Bar is our business of the month for October. You may have noticed the new paint on the building. We noticed. But what many have not noticed is the new ownership. Dev and Veena have been running the restaurant for the past year.

Both originally from Nepal, Dev and Veena have been in the hospitality industry for many years. And their “hands on” experience has taken them around the world to 8 countries. From Abu Dhabi at the Kempinski Emirates Palace to San Francisco’s Ritz Carlton, making people feel pampered and comfortable by providing the finest personal service you’d experience in a luxurious hotel is their goal.

Much of the food on the menu is familiar but the menu has been simplified so making meal decisions is easier. When asked what has changed since the he took over, Dev said in one word, “ambiance.” The tables now have table cloths, and the atmosphere is more a dining experience than a pizza place. And there is live entertainment once a week. The bar is well stocked with premium spirits. Dev brings his experience in bartending to the table by offering specialty craft cocktails that complement Italian cuisine. A “manhattan” for instance is made with Antica Formula and Michters straight rye. Add to that Transatlantic bitters all aged in an oak barrel and you have a masterpiece. Even the cherries are infused with burbon. They also have a good selection of beer from local and international breweries.

Their phone number has stayed the same (510) 222-9925. Their hours of operation are:
Monday 5PM – 9:30PM
Tuesday CLOSED
Wednesday through Saturday 11:30AM – 9:30PM
Sunday 3:30PM – 9:30PM
Congratulations to Four Corners Pizza, Pasta and Bar!

One Plant

One Plant
3823 San Pablo Dam Road
El Sobrante, CA 94803

Our Business of the Month for September 2019 is One Plant.  Located at 3823 San Pablo Dam Road, in El Sobrante, One Plant is the only medical cannabis dispensary in town and is in full compliance with the State Bureau of Cannabis Control.  They cater to patients who, upon their doctors recommendation, have found relief in using medical cannabis.  “It’s all about helping the customer find out what will work for them” says Danielle, one of the managers there.

They have knowledgeable staff available to assist you with whatever you need.  From flowers and edibles to cartridges, concentrates and pills. They also have  drinks, patches, and topical ointments.  Evan, another manager says “Because we don’t service recreational users we can focus our efforts on each individual’s medical needs.”  We also can help people who don’t already have a medical recommendation through the process of getting one.

Both Evan and Danielle like El Sobrante and its people.  The location was a perfect match as El Sobrante was in need of a dispensary and already was licensed for it.  They also took over the candy shop next door and enlarged their floor plan.  We noticed the upgrade of the store front, the new paint, and the removal of the juniper bushes.  But you have to go inside to see the real transformation.

Danielle and Evan both happily welcome new patients to stop by and visit One Plant.

One Plant is open 7 days a week from 10AM to 8PM.  They can also be reached by calling (510) 758-3269

Central Foods

Central Foods has been a part of El Sobrante for years and years. Located on the corner of Santa Rita Road and Appian Way, it has been the only grocery store within the boundaries of El Sobrante for years. And now, as new owners, Naif Nudish and his partners want Central Foods to be the primary shopping experience for the entire community.

Naif Nudish has been in the grocery store business for over 20 years. Originally from Yemen, Naif moved to the area in 1997. He likes El Sobrante and hopes to develop better communication with area residents.

Naif showcases his meat department. There, you can order any kind of meat and have it cut to your specifications. But Naif thinks people don’t understand the possibilities available. He has spoken with customers who say the meat department doesn’t have what they’re looking for. Naif points out, you simply ask the butcher for the meat and cut you want.

The same holds true for the produce. Naif purchases fresh produce and has deliveries daily. Many things he stocks right now are things the previous owner carried. There’s no reason why people can’t shop here for all their groceries rather than going out of town to shop.

If you haven’t seen Central Foods lately, you should drop by for a visit. Then you can tell Naif what you would like to see in Central Foods. That way he will be able to order to satisfy the needs of the El Sobrante valley.

Central Foods is our Business of the Month for August 2019.

Congratulations, Naif!

Mark’s Barber Shop

Today it’s more important than ever to take care of oneself. Through with our lives filled with work, sitting in traffic, and family responsibilities, it’s difficult to find the time to do so.  People need a place to relax, discuss topics of concern, or watch the game, someplace away from the pressures of everyday life.

There’s a new business in town that offers this place to relax.  It’s Mark’s Barber Shop, located at 435 Valley View Road, in El Sobrante.

This is a barber shop, but the first thing you see when you enter the establishment is a grand, antique pool table.  The second thing you notice is the relaxed atmosphere.  It’s like entering another era.  Owner, Mark Robinson, says he was 15 years old when he remembers his father cutting hair in a similar place.  Mark and his brother, Mario, are carrying on the family business.  It’s like a gentleman’s club but without the smoke room.  Mark insists on promoting a healthy environment for children.  He does “rock star” haircuts or anything your mind can think up.

Setting up shop in El Sobrante was a fortunate move for Mark.  El Sobrante, is a beautiful place, and the people are nice.  Mark would like more foot traffic around town.  He encourages drop-in visits.

The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10AM until 8PM and on Sundays from 11AM until 6PM.  Mark’s Barber Shop is our Business of the Month for the month of July.

US Financial Mortgage Lending

Driving down Appian Way, you can’t miss the building with the big American flag on it.  Owner Nicole Donn has had the parking lot resurfaced and has put in a little flower garden.  An El Sobrante Chamber of Commerce Board member, and a member of the Marketing Education Committee of the Contra Costa Association of Realtors, Nicole says it’s the least she can do to help beautify the community.

This is also where Nicole does business as branch manager for US Financial Mortgage Lending. She’s very enthusiastic about her business.  She loves helping people with their finances.  From the age of 10 when she walked into the bank with her mother she knew she wanted to become a bank teller.  She liked the idea of talking with people and counting money. And so after graduating from high school Nicole became a bank teller.

Nicole used her evenings to continue her education and was soon promoted to Note Department Teller.  Getting her real estate license was next.  And with that she got into lending.  Nicole tried the real estate business but found her true liking was in finance.

What benefits the customer is always what Nicole looks at and not what benefits herself.  She likes to find solutions to people’s problems when other lending agencies are unable to help.  Perhaps a client may not “on paper” meet the requirements for a loan. Bu Nicole puts her creative “out of the box” thinking to work and finds a solution.  This is where Nicole’s experience proves most advantageous to her customers. PLUS she can help you in English or Spanish!

The El Sobrante Chamber of Commerce proudly votes US Financial Mortgage Lending Business of the Month for the month of June 2019.

Kumar Food Mart

Located in between the El Sobrante Post Office and Mike’s Appliances, at 521 Appian Way, you will find Kumar Food Mart.  This convenience store, as owner Pawan Kumar likes to point out, provides relief for the driver dealing with the traffic congestion that often develops in the triangle area of Appian Way.


At one time this property was United Gas & Food but Pawan isn’t interested in selling gasoline.  Though he does sell propane, Pawan is totally focused on providing a quick stop for cold drinks, munchies, lottery tickets, beer and wine.  He also carries things you may not expect to find.  I was able to find cranberry sauce on a Thanksgiving day that I couldn’t find anywhere else.

Growing up in India, Pawan specialized in electronics repair but really wanted more opportunity, so he moved to Italy to work and live with a cousin for 10 years.  Later a brother-in-law encouraged Pawan to come to El Sobrante, where he came to work at J&A Market for Renjit Babu.  When the opportunity arose to set up his own store at his current location, he jumped on it.

When he opened his doors for business a few years ago Pawan he turned a shell of a building into what it is today.  And he is continually looking to improve things.  Whether he’s resurfacing the floors or making changes to the building facade, he’s always working on something.

Pawan lives in El Sobrante with his wife Prem Lata, son Rohit, daughter Mitu, and his mother Radha Rani who has recently moved here from India.  Congratulations to Pawan Kumar for being the Business of the Month for May, 2019.

Yogurt Now

Yogurt Now is the Business of the Month for the month of  April.  Located at 452 C, Appian Way, Yogurt Now is a fresh new addition to El Sobrante’s mix of businesses. It offers something we are in short supply of, a fun place where one can enjoy a healthy alternative to ice cream with a friendly, family atmosphere.

This is what Amita, her husband Bishnu and their daughter Samun accurately identified as something needed in the El Sobrante valley. Originally from Nepal, the Bhandaris came to the United States looking for opportunity.  They settled in El Cerrito, California, 14 years ago.  There, they opened a restaurant and had great success, developing a large following of customers, some of whom are willing to travel to El Sobrante for their yogurt dessert.

Four years ago, their family moved to El Sobrante because the residents here were friendly and they felt that El Cerrito was becoming too crowded. Yogurt Now offers many different flavors of yogurt, which you serve yourself and cover with various toppings. Other items on their menu include acai bowls, which are all vegan.  They also serve Indian smoothies, called lassi, and boba tea.

We welcome Yogurt Now to El Sobrante and congratulate them on the grand opening of their business.

Centers for Elders’ Independence – Guardian Adult Day Care Center

Years ago, Peter Behr, founder of the Guardian Adult Day Care Center, became aware of a family friend who had just suffered a stroke.  This friend was not expected to live a month.  Peter made a promise to the friend’s family to play music for him every day until, one way or another, he was out of the nursing home.  The friend lived another 4 1/2 years.

In keeping with his promise, playing guitar for his friend, every day, Peter witnessed how badly the people staying at the nursing home were treated.  It was this observation that has driven Peter and his wife, Marie, first to open and then to operate the Guardian Adult Day Health Center for over 25 years.  You may have seen Peter standing in front of the Center on busy San Pablo Dam Road, stopping traffic so that the buses that come to pick up or drop off people can safely pull out into traffic.

Just recently, after three years of operating as a joint venture with the Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI), Peter was asked and agreed to become a part of CEI.  CEI has been operating in the Bay Area for 37 years and was able to bring to the table many benefits previously unavailable to Guardian and its clients. And with its goal to allow elders to live at home and not in a nursing home, the Guardian Adult Day Health Center fit right into CEI’s philosophy. Guardian is now a part of the Center for Elders’ Independence.

Participation of its clients is what CEI is all about.  Users of the facility have played an active part in the centers’ remodeling process.  The new facility now provides a new lounge for social activities, fresh lunches in a new dining area, and a new rehabilitation gym.  They provide managed health care with nurses on staff, as well as physical and occupational therapists, and social workers are there too.  Their PACE plan has full medical, dental and podiatry available.

The Center is having a Grand Re-Opening on March 7th from 3 to 6 PM. The public is invited.

Please stop by for a tour of the center, meet the staff and enjoy refreshments as they make room to welcome more seniors from Contra Costa County.

For more information about everything the Centers for Elders’ Independence have to offer, call, toll free:  844-320-1150.

Spicy Bite Indian Street Food

Spicy Bite Indian Street Food
3550 San Pablo Dam Road, Suite B2
El Sobrante, CA 94803

Malwinder Mavi and his wife, Harkamaljit moved here from Toronto, Canada about five years ago to be closer to family.  I met them both at their Spicy Bite restaurant located in Plaza Sobrante on San Pablo Dam Road.  Spicy Bite is our Business of the Month for the month of February.  And although I did most of my talking with Malwinder, he made it very clear that he drives a truck for a living and that Spicy Bite was completely run by the “ladies.”  He motioned to his wife who was cooking some fresh Indian bread called Kulcha.

Malwinder misses the snow in Toronto but doesn’t miss shoveling his driveway every morning.  Harkamaljit, on the other hand, doesn’t miss the snow at all and loves the climate here. They both like living in El Sobrante but quickly discovered a lack of what they call “Indian street food” available in the area.  He described this type of food as south-Indian and Indo-Chinese cuisine.

About a year ago, Harkamaljit opened up Spicy Bite.  They were happy to find a vacancy at Plaza Sobrante, at 3550 San Pablo dam Road, Suite B2.  This spot is ideal because of its proximity to the Sikh Temple and the busy San Pablo Dam Road, says Malwinder.

Spicy Bite makes all of their dishes to order.  Everything is made fresh. They are open every day, except Mondays, from 11 AM until 9 PM.  You can drop by the restaurant or place an order with and have your food delivered.

Congratulations to Spicy Bite, Indian Street Food, our Business of the Month for February.