Bay Area/ Oakland/ Food & Drinks
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Published on March 02, 2024
Chef Manuel Bonilla Sparks Late-Night Culinary Revival with Chisme Pop-Up at Oakland's Low BarSource: Google Street View

Big flavors and late-night grub have arrived at Oakland’s Low Bar with the debut of Chisme, a new pop-up kitchen helmed by Chef Manuel Bonilla. Chisme, rising from the ashes of Bonilla’s storied culinary past, including tenure at Commis and the Kon-Tiki, serves dive bar food with a Filipino and Salvadoran twist.

Locals may know Bonilla from his stops at Oakland's culinary landmarks, but the chef is whipping up more than nostalgia at Low Bar, where Chisme replaces the original kitchen operations. In a statement obtained by SF Eater, Bonilla expressed his excitement, "I got my first CDC job here when it was Hawker Fare. Returning to this kitchen, it’s like, ‘Whoa, this is a throwback.’ It’s super familiar but new. It’s this whole sense of, ‘Alright, this is it. Let’s fucking go.’" The chef has gone all out with a menu featuring items like the chile Colorado "Frito Pie" and a unique smash burger, each promising to deliver high-quality taste without burning a hole through patrons' wallets.

Chisme's weekend brunches and late-night bites look to fill a gap in Oakland's dining scene. With everything priced $15 and under and the kitchen slinging dishes until the bar shuts down, Chisme aims to be a beacon for the after-hours crowd and service industry professionals. Daniel Paez, co-owner of Low Bar, conveyed his enthusiasm for Chisme's potential impact on local nightlife in a statement provided to Instagram: "I think those late-night options are going to be super helpful for people because there are not many options at all."

Supporting the scrumptious new menu, Low Bar’s cocktail offerings are set to impress with a line-up showcasing "spring botanicals and vibrant colors". The bar is shaking up taste buds with innovative concoctions like the Hasta la Raíz, which artfully blends spirits and herbal infusions for a drink that's as refreshing as it is complex. This new-garde beverage experience complements the pop-up’s culinary delights, ensuring patrons end their night on a high note. According to SF Eater, Paez and business partner chef Kyle Itani have been juggling multiple ventures, hence the collaboration with Bonilla falls timely as they’ve faced staffing challenges at their other bars including Good Luck Gato, Ninth Life and El Gato.

Chisme at Low Bar is more than just a spot to grab a bite. It's Chef Bonilla's culinary declaration stamped on the Oakland map. As teased on Chisme's Instagram, offerings like the Chile Colorado Frito Pie signal the start of an era where dining is as dynamic and robust as the community it caters to. Catch the buzz and bites at 2300 Webster Street, where Chisme flips the script on what it means to eat well after dark.