Diablo Interview: Ave owner Gairy Jacques
The Oakland resident and restaurant veteran sits down with Diablo to give the lowdown on his new addition to Oakland’s Uptown.
Ave will open its slick, designer doors later this month, and will offer a quirky mix of tapas-style cuisine ranging from scallion crepes to burgers to oysters … and everything in between. Located near Telegraph and 21st Street in the heart of Uptown Oakland, this chic, cozy restaurant and bar will aim to provide a nice, relaxing atmosphere for the mid-20s and 30s crowd hoping to catch a bite to eat and a cocktail or two before a show at the Paramount or the newly renovated Fox Theater—both only a block away. Ave boasts not only a convenient location to BART, but also “family ties” to Blackberry Bistro, Oakland’s Air Lounge, and Tamarindo.
Diablo: The very first thing I noticed about Ave was the unique design – who is behind it?
Jacques: Alfonso Dominguez of 5/10 Studio and Tamarindo. I showed him the space, and he said “Dude. You gotta turn this into a work of art.” So of course, I agreed, and he came up with this beautiful rusted metal façade. On the inside, he wanted something really romantic and I think he definitely pulled it off.
Diablo: What can you tell us about the menu?
Jacques: The menu is designed by Robert Dorsey of Blackberry Bistro. It’s New-American food, a mixture of different cultures. We have some Mediterranean in there, some South American and some Asian cuisine. It’s not fusion, but a bit of variety that can satisfy any palette.
Diablo: What’s your favorite thing on it?
Jacques: The Philly cheese steak sliders. We knew a slider needed to be on the menu, and we went back and forth on what kind for a while – but none of us had heard of a Philly cheese steak slider, so we just had to do it.
Diablo: Your favorite drink?
Jacques: Oronoco and coke. It’s simple, but that rum goes so well with coke.
Diablo: What kind of crowd do you think Ave will attract?
Jacques: I envision Ave attracting a crowd as diverse as the food. It's casual dining and I expect a good group of people in the 25 and up age range.
Diablo: Why Oakland?
Jacques: I really love Oakland and I feel it’s an untapped market as far as nighttime entertainment goes. It has potential to be a first-class city and a lot of people are starting to see that now. The Uptown area in particular is so vibrant. I’ve visited many other areas in the country – and they just don’t compare to the East Bay.
Diablo: So can you share any new projects with Diablo readers?
Jacques: Right around the corner we’re working on “Era,” a 4,000-square-foot, two-level art gallery with a 30-foot bar. The name pretty much says it all. It’s Oakland’s era. It’s time for Oakland.
General Hrs: 5pm-1am , Opening: mid–late February
Oakland Era, oaklandera.com