Two successful restaurateurs are set to bring their award-winning cuisine to the Richmond Craneway Pavilion this February, replacing the Boilerhouse restaurant, which closed in December.
Husband and wife team Richard Mazzera and Terumi Shibata-Mazzera have more than 35 years of experience managing restaurants between them and have made Richmond the location of their newest restaurant, Assemble. It was named in recognition of the Ford Motor Company Assembly plant, which operated on the same shorelines that Assemble will overlook, along with its 45,000 square-foot neighbor, the Craneway Pavilion.
“The Craneway is probably the best view in the Bay Area,” Mazzera said.
Assemble will offer what Mazzera is calling “New American cuisine,” dishes like cioppino, Hog Island oysters and Dungeness crab, according to the restaurant’s press release.
Mazzera is an alumnus of the famed restaurant Chez Pannise in Berkeley, which was awarded the title Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine in 2001. He currently helps manage Cesar in Berkeley, which specializes in Spanish tapas, and Shibata recently left her role as general manager of Trattoria Corso, a restaurant in Berkeley featuring Florentine cuisine, to take on Assemble full-time.
Although the two were already managing other restaurants, Mazzera said he couldn’t turn down Eddie Orton, the owner and operator of the Pavilion, when he asked them to take over what would replace the Boilerhouse after its three-year run.
Though Orton Entertainment owned the Boilerhouse, it was managed by a separate company. “I think the Boilerhouse was a learning experience for us. We learned about restaurants and food, and we basically prepared to take the business in-house and with Richard and Terumi,” said Joe Orton, Eddie’s son and director of business development for Orton Entertainment.
The restaurant is still in the construction phase and is projected to open in February, though a firm date has not been set yet. The menu will offer lunch only on the opening day, but will roll out a dinner and Sunday brunch menu in later weeks.
Assemble will include outdoor seating, increasing the restaurant’s capacity to nearly 100 people, Mazzera said. The core staff will include about 30 people, but Mazzera said that number will swell to accommodate their plans to cater for large events in the Pavilion.
Mazzera said his goals for the restaurant don’t end at serving food. Similar to Chez Pannise’s Edible Schoolyard, he wants to build a victory garden, harkening back to the victory gardens of World War II, an era that is prominently featured at the Rosie the Riveter Museum across from the restaurant and at the Craneway next door, where ships made at the Richmond Kaiser Shipyards used to be docked.
“There’s a huge restaurant community in the East Bay. And we’re going to give people a place where they can relax, and have a wonderful experience,” Mazzera said.