Mash Gas and Food
Late at night and need to gas up for the morning? No problem. The newly opened Mash Gas and Food next to Casa Orinda is open 5 a.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. The renovated gas station is state-of-the-art and sparkling clean with a cup of French Roast on offer for the asking.
Mo Mashhoon of Mash Petroleum, Inc. bought the former Flying A gas station from Allen Pennebaker in 2018 and has removed the old underground tanks and had the soil tested. “It’s a great location and I’ve always wanted to be in Orinda,” says Mashhoon. His company was formed in 1995 to manage independent service stations and now has more than 100 in California. Recently they have diversified to include owning, leasing and selling office, retail and residential real estate as well as owning and operating restaurants.
Mash Gas and Food General Manager Hoss Mosheni says, “I’ve been with Mash Petroleum for over 30 years. I only left once, to go to college, then returned. We’ve got a great crew here – Jerry, Ana, Brenda, Alex and I are ready to meet new customers. We want everyone to leave here happy.”
Other than offering gas, a smog shop and convenience store, future plans include a repair shop. To that end, they are interviewing mechanics now.
Mashhoon and his wife, Erica, are moving to Orinda to be near their son and are in the process of building a home in Wilder. Mashhoon plans to join the Orinda Chamber of Commerce and support local youth sport teams and the arts. Erica recently retired as a registered nurse working in labor and delivery for many years. She also specialized in ultra sound and taught the subject at Cal State East Bay. Now, she works with Mash Petroleum.
If you’ve seen and heard ongoing construction at 37-43 Moraga Way across from Orinda Theatre that’s because Mashhoon, with the help of local architect Rick Kattenburg, is repairing and remodeling the building. Having recently sold the company’s 12-story corporate headquarters at Third and Broadway in Oakland, Mashhoon said he wanted to downsize and relocate his office in Orinda. He bought the 1963 Moraga Way property because it fit the bill.
All the old windows are being replaced with energy efficient models and a lot of updating and repairs have been underway for some time. Because long-time tenant Orinda Cleaners is in the building an environmental inspection was required prior to his bank loaning on the property. There will be cosmetic changes as well such as updated awnings.
Mash Gas and Food is at 22 Bryant Way. Reach them at 925-258-9788.
Brothers Bagneschi Take Over Piccolo Napoli
Blair and Jason Bagneschi say they can’t wait to reopen the doors at Piccolo Napoli. Diners can expect familiar faces staffing the restaurant, familiar pizzas and menu items with an expanded dinner menu and revamped bar. But first the brothers are working through the permitting sign-offs a change in restaurant ownership begets. Cosmetic changes include new flooring, paint, rebranding the logo and expanding the menu.
Their goal is to source everything possible from within 100 miles. Because of their Italian background the brothers have a built-in preference for in-season local and regional-specific ingredients. Together they rack up more than 40 years of restaurant industry experience.
Jason says fall vegetarian dishes will include broccolini with red onions, chili flakes and chili oil; roasted brassicas with black garlic hummus, beech mushrooms and carrots; or handmade caramella ravioli– filled pasta that looks like a candy wrapper. The ravioli is filled with cheese, figs and caramelized onions, then twisted shut and tossed with a light gorgonzola sauce – in Italian, fonduta gorgonzola.
Traditional fall dishes on offer will include: trout from Mount Lassen with escarole, chanterelle mushrooms and pancetta in a red wine sauce; handmade pappardelle noodles Tuscan style with a wild boar or short rib ragu paired with a nice Tuscan red wine or something more local from Napa; and for a special, Bistecca alla Fiorentina for two or three people – in cool weather sides are white beans with sage and bitter greens; in warm weather tomato salad and peppers.
All their pastas – including gluten free – will be handmade. “We want to encourage patrons to tell us their preferences for vegetarian or gluten free menu items, or alert us to allergies so we can do our best to accommodate their needs,” said Jason. Family recipes have their place as well, such as focaccia made using their grandmother’s recipe.
Blair is rolling out a cocktail program including happy hour listings and craft cocktails. Seasonal ingredients only, of course. In warm weather expect cocktails with peaches and melons; in fall apples, pears and pumpkin. No pre-made mixes here; he makes all his cocktail syrups by hand. For spirits, he prefers small batch local brands such as St. George, Hangar 1 and Sonoma Distilling Whiskey, Bourbon, etc. “We will outsource local craft beers – there are so many to choose from,” says Blair.
The brothers live in Concord, Jason with his wife Amy, their nine-year-old daughter Luciana and four-year-old son Giovanni. When possible, Jason and Amy go ballroom dancing – which is how they met.
Blair, a music lover, says he likes listening to his music collection and cooking – or one could say “inventing.” He shared his favorite thing to do on his backyard grill: barbeque fresh peaches then puree them and make a simple syrup to pour over a dessert or make a craft cocktail.
If you are wondering what former Piccolo Napoli owner Peter Eberle is up to, you can reach him at P3Endurance – 415-851-0455, www.P3Endurance.com, or Peter@P3Endurance.com. His new title is “Head Coach,” so only call if you want to get in shape.
Piccolo Napoli is at 2 Theatre Square, #144. Reach them at 925-253-1225 or go to www.piccolo-napoli.com for updates about their grand opening.