Where to Eat this Back to School Season


Prather Ranch cheddar burger at Lafayette’s Sideboard. Photo: Janet Fazio / Your Town Monthly.

Back to school… back to carpool, team sports and work meetings. If September schedules are frazzling your nerves, forget cooking and stop by these fun, family-friendly spots


LAFAYETTE – If you’ve ever wished you could have a gourmet picnic delivered, your time has come. Lafayette’s Sideboard  features picnic service to Lafayette Plaza Park. Order at the counter, grab a blanket and head across the street. They will pack up your order in a picnic basket and deliver it to you. Or dine at one of their cozy tables inside.

A cup of heirloom gazpacho with Brentwood corn was the perfect starter to dinner on a recent summer evening.

Staying on the lighter side of the menu, I paired a glass of sangria with the shrimp ceviche salad tossed with diced summer veggies and avocado mango salsa. It was topped with a beautiful display of tortilla strips.

Finish up your meal with soft serve ice cream, drizzled with house-made chocolate or caramel sauce.

Entrées start at $9.75. Beer and wine only. 3535 Plaza Way, Lafayette. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 8am-9pm and Sunday-Monday, 8am-8pm. ItsOnTheSideboard.com.

Photo via Sultan’s Kabob.

Sultan’s Kabob

DANVILLE – Stop in for dinner, get a family pack to go, or pick up a party platter for team events. With many vegetarian, gluten-free and healthy options, Danville’s Sultan’s Kabab has something on the menu that will please everyone.

Platters include rice, salad, hummus and pita bread and feature chicken, beef, lamb and seafood options.

Can’t decide? Make it a combo. I had the lamb and chicken combo. Although the lamb was tender and flavorful, the perfectly seasoned chicken was my hands-down favorite.

Platters are large, so you can easily split a combo platter and pair with an order of baba ghannouj or dolma. I added a side of grilled veggies to my combo platter – a huge serving of sweet red and green bell peppers, onion and crunchy broccoli.

Entrées start at $6.99. No alcohol. 480 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #E, Danville. Open daily 10am-10pm. SultansKebab.net.

Selections from Mirch. Photo via Yelp.


PLEASANTON – With lunch combos, happy hour specials and a dinner menu filled with your favorite selections, Pleasanton’s Mirch is the place to go if you have a hankering for Indian food.

Whether you walk on the mild side, or want to dive into hot and spicy, Mirch will accommodate.

Pop by during happy hour (3-6pm) for $4 beer and 10% off starters, like mixed vegetarian pakora, cheesy chicken balls or calamari.

For dinner, you can’t miss with allo gohbi. This cauliflower and potato dish is a favorite of mine. Mirch’s chicken vindaloo is stewed with potatoes in a rich curry sauce. For a spicy option, order the  ghost karahi. This dish is filled with chunks of tender lamb stewed in a rich, red chili, bell pepper and onion sauce.

Dishes start at $8.99. Beer and wine only. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30am-9:30pm (10pm Friday-Saturday). 239 Main Street, Suite A, Pleasanton. www.MirchSpot.com.

Artichoke devine salad with grilled chicken from Hop Devine. Photo: Janet Fazio / Your Town Monthly.

Hop Devine 

LIVERMORE – This neighborhood taproom is one of Livermore’s newest family-friendly establishments. Hang out at the bar, or grab a seat at one of the indoor picnic tables and enjoy.

If you have a group, Hop Devine’s artisanal cheese and charcuterie board is the perfect place to start. Pair with a craft beer, glass of wine or sangria.

I opted for the chef’s special, the artichoke devine salad featuring artichoke hearts, fresh basil and chopped salami on a bed of greens topped with shaved manchego. I added tender slices of grilled chicken breast to mine.

Foodies will enjoy Hop Devine’s selection of sandwiches served on artisan bread with house-made chips. A kids menu features  grilled cheese and PB & J. 

Entrées start at $7.75. Beer and wine only. Open Tuesday-Sunday. Hours vary by day. 1708 N. Vasco Road, Livermore. 925.294.9733.

Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature in the print edition of Your Town Monthly. Parts of this article were originally published in the September 2016 issues.