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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.


Published:

Fiaz Farrelly

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.

Ave Restaurant and Bar
, 2022 Telegraph Ave., 
Oakland, aveoakland.com
General Hrs: 5pm-1am
, Opening: mid–late February
Oakland Era, oaklandera.com