Big news for foodies in the East Bay: A new California-inspired Mediterranean restaurant called Acre Kitchen will open in a few months in the space long occupied by the beloved Italian restaurant Oliveto in Oakland's Rockridge Market Hall on College Avenue.
The two-level establishment will feature a cafe with casual vibes on the first floor and a space for evening dining and drinks on the second level. The Mercury News reports, “in addition to the 5,000 square foot dining space — 1,000 square feet downstairs and 4,000 square feet upstairs — expect a 30-seat private dining space and a new, 17-seat full bar that overlooks College Avenue and its environs.”
Acre Kitchen is the brainchild of chef Dirk Tolsma who previously cooked at establishments like Sausalito’s Barrel House Tavern and Sebastopol’s Eloise Restaurant. Tolsma is teaming up with a former co-worker at EPIC Steak in San Francisco, restaurant manager Pete Sittnick. The pair has been conceptualizing plans for a restaurant for the last few years, and the former Oliveto space presented the perfect opportunity. The pair plan to use the former owners of Oliveto as consultants to help build roots in Rockridge. “We wanted to respect the tradition and loyalty they had established in the neighborhood and community. That corner space is an anchor on College Avenue. It’s got a lot of great restaurants in the area. The positive aspects were really encouraging for us,” Sittnick told SFGate.
The menu at Acre Kitchen will be centered around a wood-fired hearth and stone oven which will churn out varieties of flatbreads. We can also expect an array of delectable meats cooked to perfection in a wood-fired rotisserie. Several seafood selections and vegetable-centered plates will also be available. The bar program is expected to feature plenty of traditional cocktails like martinis and spritzers, as well as a wide selection of beer and wine.
The idea for Acre Kitchen is to feature elements of fine dining in a non-pretentious atmosphere. “Dirk wants it to be a place where people will come and eat great food at any time during the day,” Sittnick told SFGATE. “The café downstairs provides the opportunity for someone to walk in for a coffee, [while] the upstairs is going to be a place where you can come and celebrate, but also, one for dinner,” he said.
Construction is still underway inside the space at 5655 College Avenue. An opening date has not yet been announced, and all we know so far is that it will open sometime this fall. Stay tuned for updates.