Camino’s hearth is about to expand, with the impending opening of The Kebabery in North Oakland from chef/owner Russell Moore, partner Allison Hopelain and GM/partner Brian Crookes. The trio have been working on the expansion since last summer when the project was announced with an opening planned for fall.
As with many Bay Area projects, the opening was pushed (and pushed and pushed). Now the team expects to open the very casual kebab-focused restaurant in the next couple weeks, if the final health inspections go according to plan. The neighborhood is so interested (and tired of waiting), that Hopelain made a sign for the front door reading “Still not open...sorry.” Hopefully that interest will translate into a success not seen by the space’s former occupant, Salsipuedes, which closed less than a year after opening.
Chef Traci Matsumoto-Esteban is making the move from Camino to The Kebabery to head up the kitchen. The menu is almost all organic, and will offer lamb, chicken, king trumpet mushroom, and pakora fried vegetable kabobs which will change with the seasons (expect kabocha squash, cauliflower, and the like), with sides like sauerkraut, beet, or carrot salads. Diners will choose from a sandwich made with housemade grilled flatbread, or a plate with choice of kebab, two salads, yogurt with chilis, and a big pile of herbs. Conspicuously absent will be hummus, oft associated with kebabs, but something Hopelain says she and Moore decided to steer away from. “[The Kebabery] is not really Middle Eastern,” said Hopelain. “There won’t be hummus or falafel.”
There will, however, be French fries of the spiced, shoestring variety. And for gluten-free diners, a red lentil “mash” will be available to substitute in place of flatbread. There is also the possibility of commuter to-go breakfasts in the future, like egg sandwiches on flatbread, and coffee. Beer on tap, and a very affordable and curated wine list will be available with one red, one white, and sparkling by the glass, carafe, or bottle.
The interior of the cozy restaurant, which mirrors the layout of Salsipuedes, is marked by white tiles, wooden benches and tables, and chairs designed specially for the restaurant as a project with the furniture production students of the California College of the Arts. Smaller, white versions of Camino’s distinctive lighting fixtures were designed especially for the space.
When it opens, The Kebabery will be open for dinner from 5 p.m.-9 p.m., with the possibility of lunch and breakfast down the line.