Grand Fare Market, Doug Washington and Freya Prowe’s market and outdoor dining courtyard, opened earlier this month after much careful preparation. The market, and its adjoining 3,500-square-foot, tree-lined courtyard, at 3265 Grand Ave. in Oakland, was designed by Emeryville-based Robert Fink of Fink Architecture as a destination that seamlessly blends dining, shopping locally and socializing.
It’s a place to sit and visit over a morning cup of Linea coffee, pastries and Humphry Slocombe ice cream served up through the window of a snazzy 1946 blue and silver Spartan Mansion trailer. It’s also a place to enjoy a sandwich, salad or a cheese and charcuterie board in the shady courtyard — and it’s a place to pick up dinner or linger over a plate of oysters and a glass of wine of an evening. The idea, Washington says, was for Grand Fare to be the “one stop” for a great meal any time of day.
No stranger to the restaurant business, Washington is co-owner and operator of four restaurants — Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope in San Francisco, and Irving Street Kitchen in Portland, Oregon. But in dreaming up the idea for Grand Fare Market, he says, he wanted to go beyond the standard restaurant experience defined by conventional table service. He wanted to create a place for conversation, community and conviviality that takes dining beyond the standard server/customer interaction.
Washington’s original idea was on a smaller scale (charcuterie, oyster bar, his wife’s successful pop-up flower shop), but it grew to include the courtyard, the bakery section, the rotisserie, and a small but select area for displaying local, organic — and, he promises, “beautiful” — baskets of seasonal fruit. Soon to come: a tea counter serving California-based Leaves and Flowers teas. The result is a vibrant environment, the culmination of years of planning and attention to detail. (The space was a straightforward coffee shop for a long time before it underwent its recent transformation.)
In addition to the original concept of a cozy oyster bar, the market features a center island which offers prepared dishes like Piri Piri chicken, porchetta, crispy duck legs and Moroccan meatball, along with salads and sandwiches made to order. Sandwich options include rosemary marinated leg of lamb; roasted turkey with tomato jam, crispy pancetta, basil and mayonnaise; a porchetta Reuben with sauerkraut and Russian dressing; and Brokaw avocado and sprouts. Cold sides include a beet tart, Harissa roasted carrots, smoky eggplant and lentils, and potato salad with mustard vinaigrette.
The market also stocks wine, pantry staples, and some special items gleaned from “small producers making great things.” Shoppers will be able to pick up a variety of locally sourced, organic and handmade food options to bring home for lunch or dinner, but will also find little unexpected treasures to try later.
The bakery counter features house-made pastries, with breads from San Francisco’s Josie Baker mid-week, Acme every day, and Revolution on the weekends. Surrounding the center island, cases display house-made charcuterie, an attractive selection of cheeses, small jars of delicacies, jams, and a variety of accoutrements. The rotisserie station produces fresh-roasted meats and a variety of hot savory dishes. Order a glass of wine or beer on tap from another station in the spacious room. One corner section is devoted to the aforementioned wine selection, and the refrigerated case along one wall contains milk, butter, non-alcoholic drinks, beer, salad dressing, eggs, and soups.
Washington is delighted to have a culinary team headed by executive chef Ben Coe (Box & Bells and Commis) and sous chefs Frederico Oliveira, Drew Boczon and Eric Cordova. Another crucial member of the Grand Fare Market team is Ryan Voss, who travels around the Bay Area and environs to scout and source those special products from small producers. Washington says Voss goes to great lengths to find new and incredible food and beverages from local artisans.
Prow’s Brother and Sisters floral shop is nestled into a charming corner, separated from the bustling market by two walls covered with 80-year old slate tiles. Seasonal bouquets and plant arrangements add pops of color to the entry to the market. Greenery is abundant in the courtyard as well. It has the look of a secret garden, with small groups and couples sitting outside under the trees enjoying a meal and a conversation. The market has only been open a short time, but it already looks like Washington and Prowe’s vision for a place that is both “social and comfortable” has been realized.
Grand Fare Market is at 3265 Grand Ave. (at Elwood Avenue), Oakland. Market hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Coffee trailer hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Connect with the market on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.