After years of anticipation, fans of Chris Kronner's burgers will finally have a full-time outlet for the object of their obsession. Kronnerburger, the brick-and-mortar version of Kronner's exceedingly popular pop-up, opens this week on Oakland's Piedmont Avenue.
The restaurant has been in the making for over at least two years, following the pop-up's year-long residency in a vacant room in Bruno's and a relentless search for the perfect space. Kronner landed in the former J's Mexican-American, a unique triangle-shaped building at the corner of Piedmont and 41st (Commis and Homestead are among its neighbors). The sleek, minimalist 35-seat space, with a petite patio was designed by architect Wylie Price (The Progress, Ramen Shop), incorporating white marble, navy paint and the metalwork of Oakland artist Luigi Oldani throughout. The sturdy ceramic plates were made by partner and general manager Ashley Hildreth and Oakland artist Travis McFlynn.
In the kitchen, Bill Niles (St. Vincent) and Christa Chase (Duende) are leading the opening charge under Kronner's direction, serving a menu that extends beyond "just burgers," but offers several versions of the signature item. There's a Mangalitsa pork burger, a vegan Earth Burger with a gluten-free bun, and the classic Kronnerburger, served with the option of salt-roasted bone marrow on the side. But plenty of inventive salads have been added to act as a foil to the meatier fare, including a chopped salad with cabbage, broccoli, chili and smoked coconut, and a pea salad with arugula, soft cooked eggs and a dressing of sheep's milk and anchovy. There will also be rotating specials, like a sweetbread hunter sausage, served with local greens and stone fruit. A small dessert menu from pastry chef and bun-baker Betty Frank will balance the sweet with the savory, with items like honey pie and orange creamsicle soft serve with date caramel and pecans.
On the beverage side, anticipate a unique selection of beer and wines from Brad Taylor (Ordinaire), accompanied by a cocktail program from Alex Phillips (Locanda) and beers by Certified Cicerone Sayre Piotrkowski (St. Vincent, Hog's Apothecary); manager Ethan Mitchell will head up the front of the house.
The restaurant plans to open to the public this Wednesday, May 6, for lunch only, followed by brunch over the weekend and dinner starting next week. After that, the restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner; hours are Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-midnight, with weekend brunch beginning at 10 a.m.