Having followed the buzz about the highly anticipated new hamburger place opening on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue this month, I was delighted to find KronnerBurger already open for business.
The distinctive white and cobalt blue triangular building is located in the former home of J’s Mexican American Food at the corner of Piedmont Avenue and 41st Street. The building itself is notable for its clock tower and historic link to the old Key Route system. The building has a fresh new look, minus the old mural — a fact that has pleased some and rankled others.
The Oakland KronnerBurger, a brick-and-mortar restaurant for Chris Kronner’s popular San Francisco burger pop-ups, has been a long time coming, having been in the works for more than two years.
My first impressions: the stark interior, with its concrete walls, white tiled flooring, and marble tables, lacks a little warmth.The space was designed by Wylie Price, who was also behind Rockridge’s Ramen Shop, and includes metalwork by Oakland artist Luigi Oldani (of CRO Café fame). But the focus of the restaurant is clearly on food, not on fussy décor. The high-ceilinged room has a no nonsense, bistro-ish feel to it. There was still an “opening night” sense of excitement, as passersby (like me) entered KronnerBurger and looked around.
Things were bustling in the open kitchen during the lunch hour, but service was prompt and polite. You grab a menu, order at the counter, and take your number to a table inside or on the outdoor patio.
We were advised that the burgers are served rare. I negotiated a little on that, but my Kronnerburger was still very pink in the middle — and now I understand why Chef Chris Kronner serves his burgers this way. I should never have doubted him.
The delicious house-made bun held up to the juicy patty, the slice of pickle, a bit of iceberg lettuce, (oh, why not?) a crisp piece of bacon, and the creamy cheddar mayo. I looked longingly as orders of fries were carried to the tables around me. Next time. My lemonade was served ice cold with a slice of lemon and a hefty ice cube — just the right mix of tart and sweet.
Table service was prompt and polite, and my plate was cleared away before I could look for the “Please bus your own dishes” tub.
Dinner and brunch service has just started, and a full bar will be available soon.
My overall impression? Excellent service, and a burger that was prepared well — but served rare — which turns out to be just the way I wanted it.