BOCANOVA Restaurant to Bring Flavors of South and Central America to Jack London Square

Oakland, CA – Ellis Partners LLC, the developers of Jack London Square, today announced the forthcoming arrival of BOCANOVA, a new restaurant from the husband and wife team of Rick Hackett and Meredith Melville.  BOCANOVA will feature a Pan-American grill menu with fresh takes on cuisine from throughout South, Central and North America.  The restaurant is expected to open in Spring of 2009.

“We are honored to have Rich and Meredith, veterans of the Bay Area restaurant scene, bring their substantial talent to Jack London Square,” said Jim Ellis, Managing Principal of Ellis Partners LLC.  “Local businesses are what will give the new Jack London Square its unique regional character.  We want this to be a destination that reflects the values and traditions of the Bay Area.  With their commitment to local producers and sustainable practices, Rick and Meredith embody the spirit of the region.”

Chef Hackett has run the back of the house in some of the Bay Area’s favorite restaurants.  A 1978 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hackett developed his “Sophisticated Rustic” cooking style during years spent in the restaurants and markets of Spain and Italy.  Upon his return to the United States, he was hired as the opening Executive Chef for Oliveto in Oakland, serving Northern Italian cuisine with influences from Spain.  He then opened Enrico’s, Tavolino and US Restaurant – which eventually became Bandol in San Francisco.  Since its opening in 2003, Hackett has served as Executive Chef at the Market Bar Restaurant in the San Francisco Ferry Building.  In the creation of BOCANOVA, Hacket is again partnering iwth his wife Meredith Melville.  The Jack London Square eatery will be the latest in a series of collaborations between Melville and Hackett.

“We’ve been energized by the opening of a number of first-class restaurants in Oakland,” said Melville.  “After years of anticipation, Oakland is finally coming into its own and Oaklanders are really feeling a pride of residency.  We’re so excited to be part of that renaissance.”

Hackett’s menus will draw on influences from throughout the New World incorporating exciting regional flavors and nuances to dishes that are still squarely rooted in the Mediterranean profile.  BOCANOVA’s offerings will include Argentine cuts of beef from the restaurant’s grill, whole fish enhanced with Peruvian peppers and spices from the rotisserie, and regional South & Central American slow braises and bean pots from the open kitchen.

While preparation on the open flame will be central to the menu, not all of BOCANOVA’s offerings will be grilled or roasted.  Diners will also be treated to ceviche from the raw bar, fresh salads, seafood tacos from the freidora, Sea of Cortez scallops from la plancha and delicious desserts from the bakery.

While the dishes will herald primarily from South and Central America, the ingredients used will, whenever possible, come from local producers and farmers.  Capitalizing on the relationships hackett has fostered over the years, he will collaborate with local farmers in the planting and cultivation of South and Central American produce not readily available in the Bay Area.  Furthermore, he will augment what are sometimes meat-heavy dishes with fresh and local fruits and vegetables.  This effort will be facilitated by BOCANOVA’s proximity to the new 70,000 square foot Jack London Market.

“The market will provide us with an astounding opportunity to collaborate with local farmers and artisans on a daily basis,” said Hackett.  “Our work can only benefit from having direct access to the freshest produce, meats and seafood right outside our doors.”

BOCANOVA’s committment to sustainability extends beyond the food and into the very architecture of the retaurant.  Michael Guthrie & Company, one of the Bay Area’s top architecture firms and professional member of the US Green Building Council, has been chosen to design the space.  Guthrie’s design will utilize recycled and sustainably harvested materials.

BOCANOVA will comprise 6,500 square feet in the 66 Franklin Street Building, an historic ice warehouse constructed in 1926.  As part of Jack London Square’s ongoing redevelopment, the building has been restored to its original luster, revealing its straight parapets, pilasters and high archways.

The restaurant’s interior design will utilize the searing ceilings and magnificent concrete columns as central features.  Wood, metal, tile, fabric, artisanal surfaces and found objects will be combined to create a space that is at once contemporary and rustic.  The exhibition kitchen will evoke the flavor of the cuisine and allow the diner to participate visually in the preparation of his meal.  The floor plan will include intimate dining areas and private dining room without sacrificing the feel of spaciousness.

The west-facing windows will look out on the 1,200 square foot patio.  The unparalleled views of the yacht harbor and the estuary beyond will make for one of the Bay Area’s most spectacular outdoor-dining experiences.

“Our commitment to community means that the build-out of BOCANOVA will utilize Oakland companies, artisans and artists,” said Melville.  “We are very proud to be one of the first businesses to open in the newly revitalized Jack London Square.  The location is incomparable and will draw people from throughout the Bay Area.”

Jack London Square is poised to become the East Bay’s newest center of gravity for culture, cuisine and commerce.  The Square is undergoing a $300 million, one million square foot redevelopment that includes restaurants, entertainment, new parking facilities and Class A office space.  The new Jack London Square will enhance the Oakland waterfront and celebrate the revival of a dining district of which BOCANOVA will be part.

The centerpiece of the redevelopment project will be the 70,000 square foot Jack London Market, scheduled to open in Summer 2009.  The market will be the largest of its kind on the West Coast, housing small businesses selling fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, cheeses and specialty products with an emphasis on local and sustainable practices.  In addition to the public market, the building will house 100,000 square feet of Class A office space.