Massive change is scheduled to come to Jack London Square soon. Last week, Jack London Square announced that Oakland Assembly, an enormous 40,000-square-foot market hall, will be opening in summer 2020 at 55 Harrison St., with live entertainment, community events, and of course, food vendors. The food hall will also feature a large indoor stage, a second-floor banquet hall and balcony, and outdoor dining areas.
Some Bay Area star chefs are already slated to set up shop at Oakland Assembly. At her kiosk, Reem Assil plans to offer stuffed falafel and al pastor-style chicken shawarma. Preeti Mistry, formerly of Juhu Beach Club and Navi Kitchen, will return to the Oakland restaurant scene with two concepts. Juhu Chinese will serve Indo-Chinese food — think dishes like Manchurian cauliflower, which was one of the most popular items at Juhu Beach Club. Juhu Snacks, meanwhile, will serve Indian desserts and snack food. Rising Bay Area barbecue star Matt Horn, who’s currently busy getting ready to open Horn BBQ at the site of the former Brown Sugar Kitchen, will open a chicken-focused concept called KowBird. Meanwhile, okonomiyaki pop-up Okkon, owned by Satoshi and Sachi Kamamae, will get its first brick-and-mortar location at Oakland Assembly.
Other vendors will make their Oakland debut at the food hall. Santa Cruz chef Anthony Kresge will open a craft burger concept called Belly Goat, and he’s also opening The Bull & The Bird, which will serve charcuterie, cheese, and panini. Lastly, Oakland Winery will offer a wine bar and mixing lab. Additional vendors are expected to be added in the future.
If news of a massive food hall coming to Jack London Square is giving you déjà vu, you’re not alone. The idea of opening a food hall along the waterfront was first announced to the public about 15 years ago. The food hall has seen several possible iterations, but none have panned out. Its original iteration, Harvest Hall, was supposed to be the largest food hall in the country at the time and was supposed to feature a cooking school and fine dining restaurants. More recently, the project was supposed to open under the name Water Street Market. The person behind that project was Steve Carlin, who was also involved in the opening of the San Francisco Ferry Building and the Oxbow Public Market in Napa, but Water Street Market never materialized.
The developer behind the current project is John McEnery IV of Kinzie Bridge Holdings, who was the developer behind the San Pedro Square Market in San Jose and the Abbott Square Market in Santa Cruz. Here’s to hoping McEnery can make this project happen for real this time.