Greg Morris' Oaks Gourmet Market finally opened to the public today, on the corner of Franklin and Bronson near Beechwood Canyon. Following some false reports, eager shoppers wandered into the market last Friday, expecting a grand opening, only to find the staff on their hands and knees, busily unpacking boxes. "We've kept the doors open during construction to let the neighbors peek in," said store manager James Hall. Hall is quick to point out that he'll cater to local tastes. "If there's something you want, but you can't find it, let me know and we'll order it.
Immaculate and well-organized, with three different counters; a precocious selection of cheese; a pretty pastry display of cupcakes, muffins, cookies and scones from Cake Monkey and Delilah bakeries; a smoothie and coffee bar; and a pizza kitchen, the Oaks might be considered a restaurant with market attached if it had a few more tables.
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In the back, busy chefs pull homemade pizza out of the oven and assemble colorful salads and sandwiches, including a lobster club; a burger with Black Forest bacon and homemade smoked jalepeno-pineapple compote; pulled short rib French onion dip sandwich; and a grilled cheese with Fontina, extra-sharp cheddar, and Camembert. Chef Greg Paul (from The Belmont, one of Morris' restaurants), insisted on a moratorium on pizza with tomato sauce, so while you may find tomato confit and sliced herilooms, don't expect sauce on your crust.
The Oaks is a gourmet's convenience store, where you can pick up a four-pack of Chimay, a duck confit and caramelized onion pizza, Cake Monkey's version of a Hostess Cupcake, and a Cuban cigar. On a TV in the corner, Giada lays thin slices of strawberries on Nutella filled Madelines. Along the back wall is an aquarium of coffee beans, where customers can pick out raw beans and have them custom-roasted in house. The beer, wine, and booze selection is not surprising, but good enough to outift the average Eastside shindig, and an intriguing contraption near the door chills a bottle of wine within minutes, for those heading straight to dinner parties. If you were lucky enough to score tickets to see Dudamel's inaugural concert at the Bowl on Saturday, stop by The Oaks on your way down Franklin to fill up your picnic basket and pick out a bottle of Bordeaux to go with the Beethoven.
The Oaks Gourmet Market:1915 N Bronson Ave Los Angeles, (323) 871-8894.