When Jon Guhl split ways with his former Little Star Pizza partner Brian Sadigursky in 2013, he retained ownership of the locations in the Mission and Albany. After immediately opening another pizza restaurant in Oakland, called The Star, Guhl has decided to expand his empire beyond pies. He's already got the recently opened Boss Burger in Albany under his belt, followed by another project in the works with partner and chef Ryan Murff.
Inside Scoop reports that the duo plans to make room for the new concept, tentatively titled Eugene, by shuffling the Albany location of Little Star from its current space (1175 Solano Avenue), to a larger one just a few doors down, at #1181. The result will be an expanded Little Star, and an entirely new farm-to-table café modeled after the now-defunct Excelsior Café in Eugene, Oregon.
Murff, an Oregon native, thinks Albany's small-town vibe makes it the ideal location for a an all-day neighborhood place with family-friendly breakfast and lunch offerings and a more adult scene in the evening (the location will have a full liquor license). The style of cooking, described by Murff as "Mediterranean-French based cooking with a little splash of granola-hippy," is also a "perfect fit" for the area. And while the new restaurant will pay homage to Murff's Oregon roots, the chef is well-versed in the East Bay dining scene, having spent time cooking at both Oliveto and Café Rouge.
Construction on Eugene will begin following the relocation of Little Star this summer, with an expected opening by the end of 2015.