Popular San Francisco restaurant A16 has expanded to the other side of the Bay this month, opening in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood.
Led by Chef Rocky Maselli, the menu has a bit of a different focus than the San Francisco location according to Wine Director/Owner Shelley Lindgren. “There is a bit more of a Puglian direction with the menu and a few unique pizzas like the half calzone/half pizza shaped like a racquet (rachetta).” Lindgren said the Rockridge location also offers more seafood, with the help of having a fryer in the kitchen. And while the Chestnut Street location has focused on expanding its salumi program and cured meats, A16 Rockridge is focused more on crudo. Maselli, who has family roots in Puglia, is using as many seasonal local ingredients as possible, with the main focus on seafood (along with the crudo, dishes might include a roasted whole fish of the day or pasta with a seafood-based sauce, like uni or geoduck).
Although seafood is a focus for Chef Maselli’s menu, there is really something for everyone’s tastes. Entrees like the leg of lamb roast and braised pork shoulder work for the meat eaters, while there are an assortment of pastas and Neopolitan-style pizzas from the restaurant’s wood burning oven as well. Lindgren said that’s part of what attracted them to the Rockridge area. “We love the community feel of the Rockridge neighborhood and the core vibe that seems to share a wonderful love of wine and food,” said Lindgren. “Also, this location had one wood-burning oven already (in place) and a full bar, two essential needs for us to grow.”
Yes, A16 Rockridge, unlike the San Francisco location, will not only have an impressive wine list procured by Lindgren herself, but also full bar service. “Having a full bar has been really exciting for us. It’s been a collaborative effort among the entire team, and my husband, Greg Lindgren, has been able to give us some direction since that’s his profession.” Drinks include items like the Giusto (Bertagnolli Grappino, Campari, Punt e Mes) and the Seventh Circle (Rye, Campari, Calabrese Chili, Lemon, Honey). In terms of wine? “We get to work with some exciting wines that really complement our menu. Over the past ten years, the availability of great quality, southern Italian wines has been on the rise. With Rockridge opening, our sommelier team has doubled and we’re pouring the same amount of wines by the glass (40 plus) and half bottle carafes as we are in the city,” Lindgren said. “We have a slightly smaller by the bottle list, but will continue to develop it over time. There has been a southern Italian winemaker walking in the door to visit us almost every day lately. We feel close to these artisans and it’s an incredible honor for us to share their wines and learn from their winemaking heritage.”
The design of the restaurant is homey and comfortable. Like the San Francisco location, there is a chef’s counter in front of the wood-burning oven. Some unique and interesting artwork adorns the walls and the space feels fairly open. Like any new restaurant, there are hits and misses with menu items and service, but there is a ton of potential for the Oakland version to be every bit as successful as the San Francisco spot. The Rockridge neighborhood is quickly becoming a food destination, with stalwarts like A Cote and Oliveto, along with newbies like Ramen Shop and the yet-to-open Box and Bells. It will be exciting to see how the food, cocktail and wine programs all evolve as A16 grows into its spot on College Avenue.
A16 Rockridge is located at 5356 College Avenue in Oakland.