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About Pinole, California
Set in the East Bay area north of Berkeley, the small city of Pinole is best known for being a great place to live within commuting distance of San Francisco. The name comes from a type of flour that early Spanish explorer Pedro Fages was given by the native residents. Later, Portuguese trader Bernardo Fernandez settled in the area and started the city, which was incorporated in 1903.
The Community of Pinole
Pinole is located right on San Pablo Bay and has lovely views from most residential areas. Pinole Creek runs through the city. The downtown area still has several historic buildings and the city is in the process of developing a historic area and promoting its history as a regional center of commerce and important stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad.
In addition to the downtown, neighborhoods include Bayfront Park, Gateley, Canyon Drive and Pinole Valley. Fitzgerald Drive is where many of the "big box" stores are located.
What to Do in Pinole
Tour downtown Pinole and learn more about its history as part of a self-guided tour put together by the Pinole Historical Society. The tour also focuses on the many murals that community residents have created to show the buildings and history that's no longer standing. Start at the downtown Greenfield Department Store and visit as many of the 24 stops as you wish.
Pinole also boasts a collection of Victorian-era mansions, highlighted by the Bernardo Fernandez House on Tenant Avenue, just outside of downtown. The home was built in 1894 by town founder Fernandez and incorporates the French Second Empire style with some Queen Anne and Northern Italian touches. Still privately owned, the house is worth a drive-by to see what the splendor of the city was like in years past.
One Place You Shouldn't Miss in Pinole
Take a jaunt along the San Pablo Bay Trail, which will eventually connect many of the northeast Bay's communities. The trail begins off Pinole Shores Drive and lets you enjoy the natural landscape while walking or biking. When the trail is complete, it will wind along San Pablo Bay for more than 10 miles, going all the way to Rodeo.
Dining in Pinole
The unassuming Pinole Creek Cafe serves some of the best meals in the city at reasonable prices. Set in a historic Victorian home, the atmosphere is intimate and service is excellent. Classics include Chicken Marsala, grilled NY steak and spicy prawns. Be sure to get an expertly mixed drink from the bar.
Delicious pastries are the hallmark of the Bear Claw Cafe, located just blocks off the bay in downtown. The family-owned cafe has been in business in the East Bay since 1912 and also offers catering and wedding cakes. Visit at lunchtime for a sandwich, panini or fresh salad.