Another Side of Emeryville
Ogle tansu, try kickboxing, and eat lobster sausage.
The Zentner Collection houses the world’s largest tansu collection outside of Japan.
Photo by Chris Duffey
Most people know Emeryville: home of Pixar, Bay Street, and the Ninth Circle of Hell, also known as the Ikea parking lot. But off the main thoroughfares and away from the mall, Emeryville reveals itself as a quietly thriving burg, with family-owned businesses and an eclectic character independent of the big guys down the road. The next time you’re looking for something new, try another side of Emeryville.
Close to the train tracks in a 26,000-square-foot warehouse, The Zentner Collection houses the world’s largest tansu collection outside of Japan and the largest Asian art collection offered for sale in the country. You’ll find more than 350 antique painted screens, a Filipino burial jar dating to the 11th century, 4,000 Japanese prints, including some by Hokusai and Hiroshige, and acres of beautiful antique tansu—storage cabinets indigenous to Japan. Visiting The Zentner Collection is like visiting an Asian art museum, except you are allowed to touch and buy anything you see. Open to the public Wed.-Sat. and Tue. by appointment only. 5757 Horton St., 510-653-5181, ZentnerCollection.com.
Nothing tastes more like spring than fresh, seasonal jam. INNA Jam is an Emeryville-based jam maker specializing in organic products sourced from within 150 miles. INNA Jam also offers specialty pickles (including salt-preserved Meyer lemon), flavored salts, strawberry snacks, and shrubs, a fruit-vinegar-sugar syrup perfect for mixing with sparkling water or cocktails. And if you visit in-store, shrubs are available for tasting—yum! Open to the public Mon.-Fri.; call before stopping by. 1307 61st St., 510-214-6620, INNAJam.com.
Photo by Chris Duffey
Is your trash-talking game better than your actual game when it comes to pool? Why not try a lesson at The Broken Rack? The Broken Rack is massive, with tables for regulation and bar-sized pool, snooker, and three-cushion billiards. There is a full kitchen, full bar, foosball, and enough televisions to cover all the big games. But what really sets The Broken Rack apart is its in-house pro, ranked No. 7 in the United States, Eleanor Callado. She earned her professional status in 2009 and gives private and group lessons.
5768 Peladeau St., 510-652-9808, TheBrokenRack.com.
If you’ve been feeling stressed lately and are looking for something to punch, Sobekick might have the answer. Sobekick is an exciting, fast-paced workout focusing on boxing and kickboxing. Sobekick also offers morning boot camp and YogiBox, a yoga/boxing hybrid.
6460 Hollis St. Unit C, 510-858-5051, SobekickCalifornia.com.
Many have entertained the fantasy at one time or another of playing the guitar. And whether you want to rock out like The Ramones or strum like Dylan, Axes of E’ville can turn that dream into reality. Damon Eckard, the instructor behind Axes of E’ville, offers private instruction that focuses on the kind of music students want to play. He uses a tailored approach with a tech twist: Eckard audio records each lesson and posts them on a personalized, password-protected webpage so students can focus on instruction without worrying they will forget what was covered.
5531 Beaudry St., 510-982-6062, www.AxesOfEville.com.
Once a speakeasy, Townhouse Bar and Grill has been in almost continuous operation since 1926. The building is rustic, but the furnishings are modern and accentuated with oil paintings, some made from canvases stretched over old doors. The menu is meat and seafood heavy, and the wine list is comprehensive and favors California varietals. Townhouse is the perfect spot for lunch with clients, a romantic dinner, or drinks on the patio with friends.
5862 Doyle St., 510-652-6151, TownhouseBarAndGrill.com.
Walking into Branch Line, the first thing you’ll see is a skeleton in Pumas hanging from the ceiling. This whimsical touch sets the tone for this lively gastro pub near the Amtrak station, subverting expectations of bar food by offering a menu based on Vietnamese street fare. Pho, clay pot dishes, and shrimp chips are mainstays of a menu that is fully revamped every six months. The draft beer menu is large, but the real genius lies in its house cocktails.
5885 Hollis St., Ste. 25, 510-547-1100, BranchLineBar.com.
Photo by Chris Duffey
“The Dude abides,” is the message spelled out on the letter board outside Honor Kitchen and Cocktails. It is a fitting slogan for a restaurant that prides itself on using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. The Bucket O’Yard Birds is a generous helping of fried chicken that will take you back to your childhood, and the Lobster Leek Sausage, made by an in-house butcher, is not to be missed.
1411 Powell St., 510-653-8667, HonorEmeryville.com.
Published online on April 25, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.