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Long-Awaited Oakland Food Hall Keeps Losing Its Star Chefs

Plus, Oakland piano bar the Alley reopens with help from a fundraiser, and more intel

A rendering of Oakland Assembly
JRDV

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.


  • Nearly all of the highly publicized chefs attached to a food hall planned for Oakland’s Jack London Square have backed out, reports the SF Chronicle, citing uncertainty about the long-awaited project’s future. All but one of the previously announced chefs — which included such heavy hitters as Anthony Kresge, Preeti Mistry, and Matt Horn — have dropped plans to open kiosks at Oakland Assembly. Only Reem Assil of Reem’s Bakery, which recently reopened after an oven explosion last year, is still considering moving forward. Developer John McEnery IV told the Chronicle that despite pandemic delays, the food hall still has a “critical mass that’s going to make this an exciting place,” but declined to provide an updated list of vendors. [SF Chronicle]
  • Iconic Oakland piano bar and restaurant the Alley has reopened, in large part thanks to a fundraising effort that owner Jacqualine Simpkins says helped save the 88-year-old business. In an announcement posted to Facebook yesterday, the bar said that after “a few weeks of false starts,” the Alley would open its doors that night, Thursday, April 29, for the first time since the arrival of the pandemic. The fundraiser, launched late last year, raised more than $94,000, more than the $75,000 goal to cover Simpkins’s utilities, taxes, and mortgage, according to Berkeleyside. [Berkeleyside]
  • Mission beer bar Monk’s Kettle’s anticipated expansion to Marin County has finally arrived, but good luck getting in anytime soon. Reservations for this weekend (it opens Saturday) were booked out within 20 minutes of becoming available, co-owner Christian Albertson told the SF Chronicle. Albertson and Nat Cutler opened the craft beer bar and restaurant in 2007, becoming a destination for a family-friendly atmosphere, well executed bar food, and extensive beer lineup. Monk’s Kettle Terra Linda, which also counts the owners of Giordano Bros as partners, is currently open for outdoor dining only, Wednesday through Sunday. [SF Chronicle]
  • The hospitality group behind four restaurants on Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf has bought and reopened the Crab House at Pier 39, adding another waterfront destination to its portfolio of touristy-but-fun restaurants. The Simmons family purchased the Crab House, which has been around since the late 1990s, last spring, reopening it this past week for the first time since March 2020 in its prime location next to Fog Harbor.

The Alley | Piano Bar & Restaurant

3325 Grand Avenue, , CA 94610 (510) 444-8505 Visit Website

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