Here’s What’s Finally Filling This Historic Oakland Restaurant Space

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The space once home to iconic Italian restaurant Oliveto will soon have a new tenant among two Bay Area restaurant veterans.

The new California-Mediterranean restaurant Acre will occupy the two-story space adjoining Market Hall at Rockridge in Oakland. Aiming to open this fall, Acre will serve seasonal flatbreads and rotisserie meats from chef and owner Dirk Tolsma, most recently executive chef at San Francisco’s upscale steakhouse Epic Steak. Pete Sittnick, who runs Epic as well as seafood favorite Waterbar, is joining as managing partner.

On the ground floor, there will be a casual 1,000 square foot bar and cafe open all day. Meanwhile, the 4,000 square foot floor will host dinner service. Reservations will be taken, but open tables will be kept available for walk-in visitors.

True to its predecessor, Acre plans to offer what it describes as an “ingredient-driven menu” of California-Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on sourcing from local vendors. The menu in the upstairs dining room will be driven by Oliveto’s original wood-burning hearth and stone oven. The ground floor café will feature a classics-inspired cocktail list and wine bar, with dishes centering on the stone oven. Chilled local seafood, large salads, and the aforementioned flatbreads are on the menu.

“We greatly respect Oliveto’s rich culinary heritage, and are committed to honoring this special location in the Rockridge community,” Sittnick said in a press release.

The two bars in Acre will focus on different offerings as part of a collaboration with Brian Sheehy of Future Bars, the group responsible for the Bourbon & Branch, Rickhouse and Local Edition cocktail destinations. The bar on the ground floor, more relaxed, will rely on lighter, low-alcohol cocktails, such as aperol spritz. Upstairs bar offerings will include classics such as martinis and French 75s. Beer and wine offerings will spin and skew local produce.

Oakland resident and designer Doug Washington, who has worked on San Francisco’s Salt House and San Anselmo’s Kientz Hall, led the design as part of the interior transformation. Updated interiors will feature a rustic feel with warm, natural elements.

Oliveto operated for 35 years, helped launch the Bay Area’s cal-Italian movement, and acted as an important restaurant anchor in Rockridge. Owners Bob and Maggie Klein decided to retire and close last year, although the restaurant briefly reopened earlier this year as the building’s owners negotiated with new tenants.

Acre. Fall opening. 5655 College Avenue, Oakland.

Mario Cortez is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]

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