Almost a couple of months ago, I had a chance to attend a preview party for GRAND FARE, a beautiful new epicurean market with a spacious outdoor garden, just down the street from Penrose. It’s one of those places that only Oakland could have—San Francisco just doesn’t have the urban real estate available (nor the balmy weather to enjoy the patio). The garden reminded me of a dream location you’d find in Silver Lake or Los Feliz (in Los Angeles), with eclectic antique fixtures and a bohemian vibe.
This is all from the stylish minds of restaurateur Doug Washington (Town Hall, Salt House, Anchor & Hope, and Irving Street Kitchen in Portland) and his wife, artist Freya Prowe. When you walk through the antique iron gates, you’ll find a 3,500-square-foot courtyard to the right, full of tall trees, ivy-covered brick walls, native plants, and tables and chairs (75 seats in all), which is where you’ll want to sit with your cappuccino (they are using SF’s Linea Coffee) and a housemade pastry that you ordered from the 1946 Spartan Mansion trailer parked in the courtyard—take a peek inside, it got souped up with a mahogany and penny-tiled interior. Also on the trailer menu: sandwiches, gluten-free treats, and Humphry Slocombe ice cream. And then you’ll want to come back to the garden again in the afternoon for oysters and Champagne, or charcuterie and wine. See you there.
Meanwhile, to the left inside the building is the massive 4,500-square-foot epicurean market, which seems to take some visual inspiration from French markets and Ottolenghi’s deli in Notting Hill. (Washington worked closely with Robert Fink of Fink Architecture.) The space features its original concrete floors, plus an exposed beam ceiling that’s been painted white. The room is full of natural light from the tall plate-glass windows and oversized skylights. It has a clean and classic look, with white marble counters, British blue-painted cabinetry, and vintage slate accents. You’ll also note murals and paintings by Prowe, as well as a rotating collection of artwork by local artists.
There are counters and a center island with cases where you can purchase raw oysters (the raw bar has seven seats where you can perch), housemade charcuterie, seasonal farmers’ market salads (like kale salad with green romesco dressing, and seared cabbage with Medjool date vinegar and pistachio pesto), grab-and-go items, and an array of quality cheeses.
There’s also a rotisserie station, with hot savory dishes and sandwiches, like a leg of lamb sandwich from the rotisserie with stewed peppers and chimichurri and basil yogurt; a rotisserie porchetta sandwich with house sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and Gruyère; and whole-roasted peri peri chicken.
The culinary team includes executive chef Ben Coe (previously Box & Bells and Commis) and sous chefs Frederico Oliveira, Drew Boczon, and Eric Cordova. The team will be doing some excellent sourcing, and Ryan Voss serves as the house forager. All selections highlight artisan producers and feature local, organic, and handmade foods.
Whether you want to grab a bite and enjoy it on the patio, or pick something up to bring home for dinner, your bases are covered. There are also many grocery items in case you need to pick up some eggs and milk. You’ll also see cases full of domestic and imported wines (60 boutique wines in all) and beers (also on tap).
In the front of the space is Prowe’s first Brother & Sisters floral shop. Prowe has worked more than 20 years in the floral design business, so expect some gorgeous seasonal bouquets, planted arrangements, and she can work with you on event services too.
Look for upcoming public classes on workshops on everything from bread baking to coffee roasting to winemaking, plus other monthly events and ongoing collaborative projects. The entire team is really excited to open this unique space for the community to enjoy, a project they have been working so hard on for some time.
Hours: coffee service at the trailer 7am-10pm, market hours are 11am-10pm. Online ordering and curbside pickup will begin in November. 3265 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-899-9610.