Back in 2011, then Public Market leasing company Main Street Property Services teased of being in talks with food-truck vendors who might want to transition to brick & mortar establishments. Four years later after being sold to City Center Retail Partners and now being brokered by the Lockehouse Group, this is finally coming to fruition.
In late 2013 it was announced that Peruvian Michelin-Starred chef Carlos Altamirano will open “Chicharon” based on his popular Sanguchon food trucks was coming. Two weeks ago it was announced that Shiba Ramen had signed a lease and now Korean & Japanese fusion fare Koja Kitchen will be entering the fold. The renovated Food Hall is expected to be complete at the end of this Summer and will hold 19 food stalls with the potential for additional cafés and restaurants in subsequent phases.
“We’re excited to welcome Koja Kitchen and Shiba Ramen to Public Market Emeryville,” noted CCRP Co-Founder Mark Stefan through a press release. “They embody our vision for the new Food Hall—unique purveyors who want to be part of the community”. KoJa Kitchen will be the second brick-and-mortar location for the Korean-Japanese fusion food truck of the same name. KoJa Kitchen has established popularity on the food truck circuit through its Off the Grid appearances. This will be their second brick & mortar location after opening on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley in 2013. “Since our commissary is actually based out of Emeryville, we had always known about the Public Market, but we never really thought about it as an opportunity until the Property Management from Public Market actually reached out to us” they noted when I reached out to them for comment. “They told us about their renovation plans and how they wanted to build a new modern space. We loved the idea so we decided to jump on board to be a part of an exciting new concept in Emeryville!”
Shiba Ramen, who recently announced their intent to open in a “prominently located” area of Emeryville though EBX, confirmed through their site that it was in fact in the Public Market. “After six months of hard work, we closed a deal to open later this year in Emeryville’s redeveloped Public Market”. Shiba will be a new “ramen concept” led by Oakland residents and former chemists, Jake and Hiroko Freed. The Freed’s have promised to blog about the process of opening their first location from the design & architectural process through the buildout phase that will be taking place later this summer. “I think this place is going to have a lot of energy, so it’s a good launching pad for Shiba Ramen. And, I’m happy to say, the Public Market’s kiosk model fits nicely with our no-tipping policy.”
The additions of Shiba and KoJa are both part of a larger, ongoing renovation project at the Public Market. This first phase will include adding additional food stalls and reconditioning the existing structure to expose the original wood ceiling and roof joints of the property. Some new vendors will be housed in existing reconditioned shipping containers. The new tenants will bolster The EPM’s current roster of Hot Italian, Peet’s, Urban Outfitters, Guitar Center and the Food Hall’s existing tenants that have dwindled to Wazan Indian, Pamir Afghan & Sorabol Korean amongst a few others. The Food Hall renovation and phases are at the heart of the greater Public Market renovation project that will also include the realignment of Shellmound, new retail, residential, and a much coveted (still unannounced) grocery store. Slides in the below Lockehouse presentation deck tease the addition of a brewpub in the former Broken Rack warehouse space.
The second phase of the project will include installing a living wall, replacing the ball-pit with a new children’s play area, upgraded eastern and northern entries and incorporating local artwork to “accentuate the authentic feel”. “Our goal is to attract a diversity of restaurants operating side by side to give residents, workers, and visitors a chance to experience a wide variety of food options.” added Stefan. Both phases are expected to be completed in late summer.
The Public Market’s complete phased plan can be seen online: