There’s finally a flicker of life at Oakland’s Grand Fare, the massive market and restaurant that has sat vacant since late 2016. Charlie Hallowell, the chef and restaurateur behind Pizzaiolo, Penrose, and Boot and Shoe Service, has taken over the space, and is planning an all-day dining concept inspired by LA’s much adored Gjusta Bakery.
The project is still in the early stages, according to Zach Scott, COO of the Hallowell Restaurant Group, with at least a year of renovations and planning before opening. However, the idea is to open a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and (probably) dinner with an accompanying commissary of pantry provisions like jams, charcuterie, and wines. “Enough to make a beautiful picnic, if not an entire meal,” says Scott. The expanded space will also create the opportunity to up the group’s baking capabilities, with more of Pizzaiolo’s popular bread for sale there and at its other restaurants.
“The project is always changing and sometimes you have to let the space speak to you a little bit,” says Scott. “It’s all done through the eyes of Charlie [Hallowell], which means focusing on local farmers, butchers, and artisans.”
Hallowell, who owns the building with partner Richard Weinstein, took over the space after its previous tenant shut down operations. That tenant was Grand Fare, an ambitious oyster bar, cafe, coffee shop, and market from Doug Washington (Town Hall) and Freya Prowe that closed after only a few months, reopened, and closed for good. Now, Hallowell is redesigning it with Bonnie Bridges of Boor Bridges, including the gorgeous 3,500 square-foot patio space which has been used as neighboring Penrose’s “secret garden” for the past few months. It’s been the backdrop for Friday movie showings and burger nights, as well as a recurring Korean food pop-up called Nokni from Julya Shin, former chef de cuisine of Pizzaiolo and Penrose.
Until the remodel (which hasn’t yet started) is completed, the space will be used for pop-ups, rented out for parties, and more. In the meantime, stay tuned for more information on Boot and Shoe Service Berkeley, which is slated to open by the end of this year.