Just as Chow said goodbye to its Inner Sunset location last weekend, a new, long-awaited location of the business is ready to say hello to Oakland diners at 770 Piedmont Avenue. The youngest member of restaurant chain family, whose original, 1997-founded location is going strong on Church Street, is its most ambitious yet, comprising a cafe, bakery, and grocery store. Pending final approval, the new Chow — Chow Oakland Cafe, Bakery & Market — could open as soon as this weekend, according to proprietor Tony Gulisano, and will definitely be ready to go by the end of the month.
Chow’s entrance into the East Bay market has long been foretold, with reports as far back as 2014. The new model is similar to Chow’s market in Lafayette, which includes a small store. “It’s powerful, we really like it,” Gulisano tells Eater SF. Having a retail market component “helps make the restaurant better, and the restaurant makes [the market] better.”
In Oakland, “we’re taking the market component and making it a much bigger component of the overall offering,” Gulisano claims. There, with kitchen space “essentially woven throughout the market, it’s as if you’re shopping around somebody’s kitchen, with station’s splayed open so cooks themselves and prep cooks can interface with the general public.”
Gulisano’s brother, grocer Sam Gulisano, will run Chow Oakland’s full organic produce market. The business will also sell beer and wine for retail. The bakery will supply the fresh breads, and an upstairs deck above the market will provide a cafe-like space to eat. Customers will be encouraged to “grab something from the market, a tuna fish sandwich, a basket of strawberries, and hang out upstairs.”
The timing of the Inner Sunset Chow’s closure and the Oakland Chow’s opening is no accident: With the new location ready to go, Gulisano was able to retain all his staff and redirect their energies to the new, larger project. Sad as he was to say goodbye to Park Chow, Oakland’s new Chow is closer to the master plan Gulisano has long envisioned.
“I always thought we should sort out how to have a hybrid market and cafe,” he says, adding that Chow on Church and Park Chow provided the opportunity to refine that.