Reflections of a Restaurateur

Chris Pastena of Chop Bar

An exclusive eskca interview with Chris Pastena (owner and operator) of Chop Bar, which was honored in our:
Tell us your origin story. How did you come to be involved with Chop Bar?

We opened 12 years ago. My partner (Lev Delany) and I had met a few years earlier and were looking to open a restaurant. Since both of us are chefs, we knew we wanted to be food focused. I lived at Jack London Square for a few years and felt the need for a local restaurant that served the local community, and this is how the idea was born.

What were the biggest hurdles you encountered in your journey?

After year of being in business, we always want to keep getting better, so the big hurdle is to keep pushing to do more and more interesting things!

What does the future hold for you and Chop Bar?

The future is bright. We were able to keep ourselves going through the pandemic, even considering we had moved to our new location just prior. The space gives us the opportunity to spread our wings.

What are your thoughts on the food scene in Oakland?

I think people are doing very interesting things and the community is very accepting of people trying new and different concepts/ideas – that is great for growth.

What’s your best advice for aspiring restaurateurs?

Stay true to your concept, but be willing to grow within it.

Our readers love recommendations! What’s your favorite item at Chop Bar?

The poutine, the burger, and the Bloody Mary!


For more exclusive interviews, see our full Reflections of a Restaurateur series