Batch & Brine Set to Open Next Month
Its owners are siblings and cousins affiliated with Oakland's La Ultima.
Image: Chris Andre
Family-owned and operated craft cocktail bar and kitchen Batch & Brine will open in downtown Lafayette in early June.
Spotlighting American classics and treasured family recipes passed down through generations, Batch & Brine's menu will include globally inspired burgers, loaded fries, salads, sandwiches, and shareable plates.
Siblings Mike, Rolla, and David Ghaben, together with cousins Sam Ghaben and Celina Gonzales and their son Victor Ghaben, brought in executive chef David Suarez to lead the culinary creation process.
The Ghaben/Gonzales clan grew up amidst their family restaurants: Hof Brau and Hubcaps of Walnut Creek and La Ultima of Oakland, Danville, and Walnut Creek. The family also includes three generations of experienced restaurant owner-operators that oversee multiple East Bay locations of Mel’s Diners and Black Bear Diners and two Broderick Roadhouse locations.
“After years of successfully owning and operating more than a dozen restaurants for major franchising brands, we wanted to get back to our roots and create a place where we could make and share our own favorite foods and family recipes,” said Gonzales.
"At Batch & Brine, we have brought our multicultural background, creativity and extensive culinary experience together to create something absolutely amazing and unlike anything else in the East Bay."
Reflecting the family's roots in the Mediterranean, New Mexico, and the Golden State, the menu was developed by French Culinary Institute alum Suarez, the former culinary director of Rosa Mexicano in San Francisco.
Signature burgers will include patriarch Zafer Abu-Ghaben’s Kufta Burger and Falafel Burger, Chef Suarez’s Steak au Poivre Burger, and Victor Ghaben’s Hatch Chile Burger, featuring the one-of-a-kind Hatch chile, which is grown only in New Mexico’s Hatch Valley.
Other fare includes pickle-brined chicken and house-made pastrami sandwiches; kale, beet, cauliflower, and grilled ribeye salads; the Shaved Ribeye Bao Slider; and French fries topped with duck confit, Hatch chile verde, or pastrami and cheese.
A brunch menu features numerous eggs Benedict options such as Salmon, Veggie, Southern, and Traditional, as well as PB&J Stuffed French Toast, Chile Verde with Eggs, and Chicken-Fried Ribeye Steak and Eggs.
Led by mixologist Casey Carr and wine consultant Nate Hudson, the beverage program offers rotating, internationally inspired cocktails as well as twenty beers on tap and small-production artisanal wines available by the glass.
Cutting-edge artist Berk Visual created custom murals for the space as well as coasters, inlays, menus, and quirky bathroom stalls. San Rafael-based Crome Architecture provided the space's modern design, which evokes a classic whiskey bar with modern touches such as tall windows, reclaimed wood, a fire pit, and a waparound patio, and "living walls" planted with succulents.