Three A16s are better than one: after opening the Marina original nearly a decade ago, Shelley Lindgren and Victoria Libin expanded to Tokyo and are now arriving in the East Bay with tomorrow's opening of A16 Rockridge. Helmed by chef Rocky Maselli, who was the chef/owner of Osteria Sfizio in Eugene, OR, the new A16 retains the original's Southern Italian, pizza-and-pasta focus, while adding new seafood-oriented dishes from the Puglia region, further down the highway for which the restaurants are named.
Maselli, who earned a pizzaiolo certification in Naples earlier this year, has a handmade Stefano Ferrara oven at his disposal for pizzas like the salciccia e vongole (clams, sausage, shallots, and lemon) and the bianca (spring onion, egg, anchovy, chili). He also has a couple of regional pizza specialties like montanara, made with fried pizza dough, and rachetta, a tennis racket-shaped pizza with a calzone-like knob of artichoke and ricotta in the crust.
On the non-pizza side of things, there are four pastas, including bucatini with ramps and mussels and cavatelli with crawfish and cannellini beans, and four entrees like rabbit cacciatore and fried lamb sweetbreads. (Maselli has a separate wood-burning oven just to cook meat.) Five kinds of crudo and some antipasti round out the menu. See the full menu here.
This location of A16, unlike the original, has a liquor license, and Lindgren and her husband, Rye and 15 Romolo co-owner Greg Lindgren, along with head bartender Aidan Hansen, have devised a cocktail menu that makes heavy use of amari, limoncello, grappa, and other iconically Italian spirits. (See it here.) The original A16 is also well-known for Shelley Lindgren's outstanding, Beard Award-nominated Southern Italian wine selection, which has extended to the new location via a cellar stocked with more than 1,500 bottles. There are also some wines made locally in Oakland, and local draft beer from Linden Street Brewery.
Cass Calder Smith of CCS Architecture designed the rustic-industrial space, which features the original brick walls and wood beams, a glass-fronted roll-up door, and a big marble bar. SF artist Kelly Tunstall did the ocean-themed artwork visible throughout the space. The main dining room is much bigger than the original: it seats 60, with room for 13 more at a marble chef's counter and 12 at outdoor sidewalk tables. Later this year, they'll also open a private dining room with room for 40. Night owls/industry types will thrill to learn that the bar will serve food until 1 am on weekends. The dining room is open Monday-Saturday from 5:30-10 pm, and Sunday from 5-10 pm. The bar serves pizza and light bar bites Sunday-Wednesday from 5-11 pm, and Thursday-Saturday from 5 pm-1:00 am.