After less than two years, restaurateur Chris Pastena and co-owner Tom Henderson are officially ending their brief partnership on two Oakland restaurants, citing "creative differences" in the way the kitchen should be run at the larger of the two, Tribune Tavern. In an even split, Pastena will take full control of the duo's other restaurant in Jack London Square, Lungomare, while Henderson gets custody of Tribune Tavern, located on the ground floor of Oakland's iconic Tribune Tower, which he owns.
Pastena says that the strong core values and dedication to high-quality products he established at Chop Bar ended up not being the focus at Tribune Tavern, which became the root of the problems between the two restaurateurs. Given that Pastena is still going full steam ahead on his Uptown Oakland Mexican concept, Calavera, which is set to open in the spring, it may have been easier to cut bait.
For his part, Henderson told Inside Scoop that the two former partners simply "agreed to disagree," and that the break up was "best for everyone." Tribune Tavern will now share ownership between Henderson, GM Rob Soviero and the most recent chef to head the kitchen, Michael Luong (Butterfly). Henderson plans to stay in the restaurant game, and says he will partner with a "well-known North Bay restaurateur" to potentially open ten new restaurants in San Francisco and Oakland, starting next year; he's also looking at opening an events space in the historic I. Magnin building, which is just down the street from Tribune Tavern and which he also owns.