Details on Duende: Paul Canales' New Oakland Project


The future home of Paul Canales’ restaurant. Flickr photo from mental.masala via Grub Street.

The details regarding Paul Canales’ new Uptown Oakland project keep coming, this time courtesy of the East Bay Express (while the Scoop reveals the name is ~DUENDE~). It’s going to be a multifaceted project, with music, a retail wine shop, ice cream (courtesy of his wife, Mary Canales, of Ici Ice Cream), pop-up shops for artisan pals, and a gallery space. His business partner (and the GM) is Rocco Somazzi, who worked at the Royal/T in Culver City, Los Angeles, which has a similar eclectic format.

The restaurant and bar are the primary focus, however, taking up 75% of the space. The cuisine will be centered around Spanish dishes, with a variety of influences, so don’t look for a cookie-cutter menu of tortilla española and patatas bravas—although Canales (whose origin is Basque) is reportedly fired up to rock some paella. Here’s more from the site: “Duende’s inspirational touchstone is authentic regional Spanish cuisine, however, we will use this touchstone as a jumping off point for free-form culinary improvisations. We will not not be serving Spanish ‘museum’ food. Yet we love the flexibility of the Spanish menu format, giving our guests the ability to create a dining experience that suits their desires of the moment.”

The full-service bar is meant to be energetic and fun, with specialty cocktails, Spanish and local wines and beers, housemade embutidos (cured meats), artisan cheeses, and other meriendas (bar snacks). Arcsine Architecture is leading the design, with a potential late summer or fall opening. Take a look on Duende’s blog for more on the concept, philosophy, and how Duende is much more than just a song by the Gipsy Kings.