California-Italian Restaurant The Rustic, From a Chez Panisse Alum, Now Open in Former Chow Space

California-Italian Restaurant The Rustic, From a Chez Panisse Alum, Now Open in Former Chow SpacePhoto: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
Steven Bracco
Published on October 06, 2023

Church and Market's newest Cal-Italian fusion restaurant, The Rustic, is now open at 215 Church Street, formerly the space that housed Chow and, briefly, Cook Shoppe.

The Rustic softly opened earlier this week with a limited menu and seating.

Hoodline broke the news in May that The Rustic would be taking over the vacant Cook Shoppe restaurant space.

The Rustic at 215 Church St. is now open. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline


Hoodline readers will recall Cook Shoppe shuttered in 2019 in the wake of an investigation by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (CA ABC) for serving alcohol without a license, multiple lawsuits, and unpaid wage claims.

Prior to Cook Shoppe, 215 Church Street was the longtime home of neighborhood favorite Chow, which closed in early 2019 after 22 years.

The Rustic owner and Chez Panisse alum Zoti Ali Turap tells Hoodline that the restaurant will be operating with a limited menu for about two to three weeks while they get everything up and running.

Inside The Rustic's dining room. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline


Zoti declined to answer any further questions about the restaurant.

Previously, Turap told Hoodline that he spent nearly eight years at the acclaimed Berkeley restaurant working in multiple roles, most recently as floor manager.

Born and raised in Turkey, Zoti moved to the Bay Area in 2008, which is when he began his work in the restaurant industry.

The Rustic's menu. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline


"The Rustic will be a casual, approachable, neighborhood eatery," said Turap back in May. The Rustic was originally set to open July 1 but the opening was delayed two months.

The restaurant will utilize the kitchen's wood-fired oven to make pizza, flatbreads, steak, and fish. Additionally, they will serve handmade pastas and risottos. "It's not going be traditional and regional Italian. Instead, it's going to be our version of it," explained Turap.

Turap had promised an "approachable and reasonable" price point as well, and as the menu shows us, starters are priced between $10 and $18, pastas between $18 and $24, and mains starting at $25, with the most expensive dish being a $45 steak frites.

The interior of the restaurant has been repainted and Turap said they are still working on finalizing the back patio area.

The Rustic's patio dining area. | Photo: The Rustic/Instagram


Due to issues with the previous owners, The Rustic applied for and received a new beer and wine license from the CA ABC.

The restaurant will be open seven days a week for dinner with brunch on the weekends.

The opening of The Rustic fills one of a handful of long-vacant storefronts along the 200 block of Church Street. The block currently has four vacant storefronts including; 213 Church, 215, 227 Church (Aardvark Books), and 242 Church (Sparky's Diner).

Earlier this year, cannabis retailer Positive Green was approved to take over the former Underglass Custom Framing storefront at 268 Church St.