Big changes are afoot at Firebrand Artisan Breads, the eight-year-old bakery that opened its first brick-and-mortar in Uptown Oakland last fall. Starting with last week's departure of Pal's Takeaway, the embedded sandwich operation from chef Jeff Mason, the bakery is undergoing a rebranding from top to bottom. That starts with the arrival of chef Tommy Schnell, who has taken on the newly-added executive chef role, as well as the bakery's tiny kitchen.
Schnell was most recently chef de cuisine at Coi under executive chef Matt Kirkley (L20), who took over the reigns from Daniel Patterson in January. (Of note: Schnell's replacement is Justin Mauz, formerly of Antoinette, Dominique Crenn's short-lived dining experiment at Berkeley's Claremont Club and Spa.) Now Schnell will be bulking up the menu at Firebrand, transitioning it to a dining destination serving all day fare, weekend brunch, beer and wine.
Schnell plans to implement his new menu as soon as next week, offering a selection of sandwiches and salads, plus a mysterious breakfast item that he promises "can't be found anywhere else." All components will be made from scratch, including Schnell's specially brined corned beef, and will implement breads from co-owners Matt Kreutz and Colleen Orlando.
Additionally, a new retail manager, Leticia Grosz (Sightglass, The Coupe in Washington, DC) will be leading the coffee charge, adding infusions and craft coffee drinks to the mix. Megan Hughes (Salt Partners Group) has been named Director of Operations, and will execute the reimagined brand strategy, from logo to menu, plus a new partnership with No Kid Hungry. Stay tuned for more details as the new menu and branding are rolled out in the coming weeks.