The story: Former Bar Tartine chef, Chris Kronner, devoted his last years to perfecting the burger through a year-long late night pop-up inside Bruno’s in San Francisco’s Mission District. For his permanent spot, he went across the bay (like many restauranteurs) to Oakland, moving into an old diner space in the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood. After months of renovations and construction, KronnerBurger Oakland finally opened last week.

The new KronnerBurger looks completely white-washed with its white-painted walls. (The restaurant had a bit of controversy when it had to tear down a mural on the back wall that was covering up an old rotting window. The mural is gone and there are new windows in its place.)

The new KronnerBurger looks completely white-washed with its white-painted walls. (The restaurant had a bit of controversy when it had to tear down a mural on the back wall that was covering up an old rotting window. The mural is gone and there are new windows in its place.)

Wedge salad ($8) with Pt. Reyes blue cheese, face bacon, and herbs

Wedge salad ($8) with Pt. Reyes blue cheese, face bacon (like lardon), and herbs

Why I went: I’ve been dying to go since I heard Kronner was coming to the neighborhood right around the corner from my apartment. With the construction delays, anticipation just built up even more. So when they announced a soft opening last week with lunch service, I knew I had to go right away. So did my friends Christina of East Bay Dish and Sandy of Foodhoe’s Foraging, who suggested weekend brunching on burgers.

Coffee for brunch

Coffee for brunch

Cozy booths with marble tabletops.

Cozy booths with marble tabletops.

House-made orange cream soda ($4). You can see the specks of fresh vanilla.

House-made orange cream soda ($4). You can see the specks of fresh vanilla.

The vibe: The white-painted bricks and walls gave KronnerBurger a sophisticated and clean palate for its burgers. White marble counters and tabletops seem a bit fancy for a burger joint, but the crowd was definitely a casual bunch. And dare I say, way too hipster. Even though Piedmont Avenue is skewing younger despite being an old neighborhood, it’s like KronnerBurger has become a magnet, drawing out all the hipsters with their tight jeans, flannel shirts, and guys with lots of beards.

The menu: Although we went for brunch, the menu wasn’t heavily brunch-worthy (other than a breakfast sausage and English muffin). It’s a starter menu because Kronner plans to expand as the restaurant ramps up. For now, there were only two salads, one burger, one vegetarian option and one sausage option. There were also specialty starters like Kronner’s popular bone marrow (although it’s not served with the burger) and fries with kurds and gravy ($7). KronnerBurger featured a couple of desserts, which seemed ambitious since they just opened.

Bone marrow with persillade (parsley sauce) and levain bread slices ($13)

Bone marrow with persillade (parsley sauce) and levain bread slices ($13)

Fries with curds and beef cheek gravy ($7) was a favorite for Christina, who fell in love with the beef cheek gravy.

Fries with curds and gravy ($7) was a favorite for Christina, who fell in love with the beef cheek gravy.

Signature KronnerBurger, $11, comes with lettuce, grilled red onions, cheddar mayo, and house-made pickles.

Signature KronnerBurger, $11, comes with lettuce, grilled red onions, cheddar mayo, and house-made pickles.

The booze: The wine and beer actually took up half the real estate of the brief menu, with about seven wine options and two beer choices. Since we were there for brunch, most of us bypassed the booze with Sandy and her husband, Mr. K., waking up with coffee and Christina and I trying the original orange cream soda ($4), a delightfully refreshing and light orange soda with a bit of cream and seltzer, like drinking a fizzy Creamsicle.

My favorite dish: While the signature KronnerBurger ($11) was good with its cheddar mayo and house-made pickles, I actually was more enamored by the bone marrow ($13), mostly because I’ve never had marrow done so perfectly well that it was like eating a rillette served with levain bread slices. I’ve never been a fan of bone marrow because those I’ve tried have been slightly rubbery or difficult to get out of the bone. Not here, where it was almost gelatinous but easily spreadable. Several of us held back on eating up the bone marrow so we could save some to smear on our burgers.

Sorry for this awkward view of the Earth Burger ($10) that Mr. K ordered. It's a vegetarian patty made of sweet potato and tofu, and served with red onion, mustard dressing and a yuba (tofu skin) "bacon" for an extra $2. Mr. K said he didn't feel like he missed out on the beef with this patty.

Sorry for this awkward view of the Earth Burger ($10) that Mr. K ordered. It’s a vegetarian patty made of sweet potato and tofu, and served with red onion, mustard dressing and a yuba (tofu skin) “bacon” for an extra $2. Mr. K said he didn’t feel like he missed out on the beef with this patty.

A peek into the busy kitchen on opening weekend.

A peek into the busy kitchen on opening weekend.

The KronnerBurger getting it's close-up.

The KronnerBurger getting it’s close-up.

Insider tip: Kronner must be like me, with a fondness for Creamsicles, because not only is there the orange cream soda but for dessert there’s orange cream soft serve ice cream. So orange cream seems to be a theme, and I’m so glad. If you go, don’t skip either getting the drink or soft serve. It’ll take you back to your childhood.

The last bite: KronnerBurger is definitely taking a big bite out of the Piedmont dining scene, with well-seasoned burgers and professional, friendly service (despite the crowds, we never felt rushed). While I felt my burger might have been slightly on the charred side because of the wood-fire grill, and the menu still needs to grow more in diversity to stand out from the crowd, KronnerBurger is a welcomed option for the area. It’s nice to see it in the hood.

The girls went wild for the "honey pie" that had a strong honey essence with a slight nutty taste. The texture reminded me of mochi (the Japanese sticky rice cakes).

The girls went wild for the “honey pie” that had a strong honey essence with a slight nutty taste. The texture reminded me of mochi (the Japanese sticky rice cakes).

Being a Creamsicle lover, I sided with the orange cream soft serve piled on with salted caramel sauce, walnuts and mini meringues that added a bit of crunch.

Being a Creamsicle lover, I sided with the orange cream soft serve piled on with salted caramel sauce, walnuts and mini meringues that added a bit of crunch.

The rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps

2.5snaps

 

 

The deets: KronnerBurger, 4063 Piedmont Ave., Oakland. PH: 415.656.9871. Currently open for lunch, Tuesdays through Fridays; dinner Thursdays through Sundays; and weekend brunch. No reservations. Major credit cards accepted. www.kronnerburger.com

KronnerBurger on Urbanspoon

4 Responses to A Review of Opening Weekend for KronnerBurger in Oakland

  1. Sandy says:

    you’re right we do have the same photo of the funky exterior, but yours makes the building look much bigger somehow…

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    Bone marrow for brunch??? You sure know how to live! LOL That looks magnificent, as does that orange cream soda. What a fun place to check out.