Farm League Design and Management Group, the company behind popular Berkeley drinking and eating establishments Tigerlily, East Bay Spice Company, Westbrae Biergarten, and the recently opened Herb n’ Chicken, is opening a new fast-casual restaurant right next to the MacArthur BART station.
Arthur Mac’s Tap & Snack will be a part of a large, mixed-use development complex at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and 40th Street. The hope is that it will “act as an annex of sorts” for the BART station, Joel DiGiorgio of Farm League told NOSH.
Arthur Mac’s is still in the development phase, so menu details are scant. However, DiGiorgio said the restaurant will include a small indoor area as well as a larger outdoor beer garden. It will “offer a central space in the complex to enjoy approachable food and beverage in a fun and relaxed setting,” he said.
It will, in other words, be consistent with the team’s projects so far. Tigerlily, East Bay Spice Company and Westbrae Biergarten have all earned reputations for high-quality drinks and satisfying food served in well-designed spaces. Farm League also had a hand in Drake’s Dealership in Oakland’s Hive complex. Its newest spot, Herb n’ Chicken, opened last month in the former Source Mini location in Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden, offering a salad bar and organic Rosie’s rotisserie chicken, among other items.
For a company with so many projects under its belt, Farm League is surprisingly young. It was founded just last year by DiGiorgio, a third-generation East Bay restaurateur, and Adam Stemmler, a former bartender and cocktail consultant. Today, the duo provides consulting and management services for restaurants and bars, and — they write on their website — for each one they hope to create a space that “positively impacts their local communities.”
Also included in the MacArthur development will be a coffee shop, three small retail outlets and 26 commercial studios that could function as individual offices or showrooms for local start-ups. Much of the retail space, said DiGiorgio, will be small — only 150 square feet — and will be housed in repurposed shipping containers.
Oakland-based Baran Studio Architecture will be working on the project, along with design work from Farm League and Bcooperative. DiGiorgio said that Farm League will be behind the concept, brand, and interior/exterior design aesthetic, while Bcooperative will focus on custom furniture design and will oversee the build-out phase. Bcooperative previously worked with Farm League on Drake’s Dealership, and the company also recently designed the West Oakland branch of Trouble Coffee.
DiGiorgio says he hopes the development will “offer an affordable setting for local entrepreneurs to call home.” He cited Impact HUB and WeWork as inspirations for the shared work spaces, and Temescal Alley as fodder for the “crafty” retail side.
The MacArthur BART neighborhood, which abuts the buzzy Temescal restaurant area, is also home to Café Dejéna, MLK Café, Portofino Café, Church’s Chicken, The Hog’s Apothecary, and mac n’ cheese joint Homeroom, which expanded last year.
DiGiorgio said he hopes Arthur Mac’s and the rest of the development will be open sometime in spring 2016.
Arthur Mac’s will be at 4006 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at 40th Street), Oakland.
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