Copper Spoon Takes Over Arts Crab Shak Space
Daring global flavors and bold décor land on Broadway.
Copper Spoon’s lamb burger incorporates the healing powers of kraut and tzatziki.
Photo by Lori Eanes
Vita Simone met Carmen Anderson when both women worked—as bar manager and server, respectively—at Luka’s Taproom & Lounge.
“We connected when speaking about how restaurant workers needed to have more rights and trying to figure out—if we ever owned a restaurant—how we could change this,” Anderson recalled.
Now they can find out.
After leaving Luka’s, Simone and Anderson launched a food truck, Sassafras Seagrass. When failing brakes rammed the 1978 truck into a telephone pole, “we had to make a decision: Either open another truck, or move into what we really wanted, which was a brick-and-mortar restaurant,” Anderson said.
The pair opened Copper Spoon in the fall on Broadway, in the old Art’s Crab Shak space.
There, under modern chandeliers, amid electric-blue booths, a gleaming eucalyptus bartop, and (of course) copper barstools, Simone curates mezcal-forward cocktails while both owners work with executive chef Andre Hall—a veteran of San Francisco’s Acme Chophouse and Bar Tartine—to craft globe-spinningly bold fare such as roasted beets with bacon, beet-mezcal gelée, and smoked yogurt; slow-grilled whitefish with finger limes, lemongrass broth, and koji-cured squash; and deviled eggs with pickled mustard seeds and togarashi.
The trio didn’t want to serve ordinary beef hamburgers, Anderson said.
“Since Vita grew up in Crete, where lamb is prevalent, we decided to work on a ‘lamburger’ with a twist. I had taken multiple fermenting classes, and we wanted to incorporate the healing properties of kraut and tzatziki into the burger.”
Days of taste-testing later, “the combination of my stepmom’s secret 13-ingredient rub in the lamb patties and my 14-day fermented ginger-cabbage kraut with creamy authentic garlic-forward tzatziki” produced “a fan favorite.”
At Copper Spoon, Anderson finds herself using skills she gained while earning physics and astrophysics degrees at UC Berkeley.
“Physics requires you to work in a group to solve a problem.” Most physics problems “were designed to be too difficult to solve alone.” At a restaurant, “everyone has a strength; recognizing and respecting that is what makes this work fun and successful.”
Copper Spoon, 4031 Broadway, Oakland, 510-879-7061, CoppersSpoonOakland.com