Oakland: Speaking of Oakland, after closing very briefly, the downstairs cafe at Oliveto is back in full swing, with a facelift that should be complete by the end of this week. The slight renovation is both conceptual and physical. First, the former: the restaurant's chef de cuisine for the last seven years, Pierre Harriet, has been appointed the cafe's first dedicated chef, and he and pastry chef Jenny Raven will run the cafe.
So, with a "new" chef comes an expanded menu and a handful of shiny new amenities. You've got yourself some new ovens for pizzas, new cast-iron presses for panini, and a fancy Italian meat slicer (naturally required at anything that touches Bertolli), but East Bay coffee lovers will mostly geek out at the new espresso toys, which might be the biggest change for day-to-day College Avenue purposes:
From the press release:
The espresso bar is built around one of the few original Faema E61 (not a reproduction) espresso machines in commercial operation -- the gold standard of machines, beautifully designed in the '60s and reputed to make the best espresso drinks in the world.
The Cafe's new espresso machine will become part of a new to-go window for espresso drinks and small food orders.
Also new: a few banquettes, a partition from the foyer staircase upstairs and display cases. Oh, and we can't wait for the drive-through salumi window due in 2015.