Big restaurant news this week: something new, something changing and something closing.
Starting with the new: Rivi’s opened in Oakdale last week. The restaurant is the project of Paul Rivera and his wife, Amy, both of whom work for Alameda County. Paul is a firefighter and Amy is a 911 dispatcher.
“We like to travel, and we would like to bring some of those experiences to Oakdale,” said Paul Rivera, who was raised and attended high school in that city. The name came from Rivera’s nickname in high school, Rivi.
The restaurant has been a long time in the planning, and a year in the making. Not that it was supposed to take a year.
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“We jumped in thinking the water was going to be right around waist-high and it came right up to my neck,” Rivera said, laughing.
Asked to describe the vibe at Rivi’s, Rivera said the restaurant is “a place where friends and new friends and family come together and share a bottle of wine.” Or craft beer, for that matter. The restaurant has several seating areas, including two patios – one with a cozy fire pit – and a bar.
Rivi’s has 40 wines, ranging from $5 to $12 per glass, with a target price range of around $8. “We do carry some of the finer wines if that’s on your budget or your taste,” Rivera said. Craft beers on tap include local brewery Last Call.
Cheese and meat plates are available, as well as a selection of desserts from local bakers. Rivera said his goal is to complement area restaurants, not compete with them.
“By all means, go have a fantastic meal,” he said. “At the end of the night if you want to come over here for a little dessert or cup of coffee or glass of wine, do it.”
Since he wanted the place to be family-friendly, Rivera went with a restaurant license. And so there are also some heartier dishes available, including flatbreads and prime rib sliders.
One thing you won’t find at Rivi’s: television screens.
“I really wanted to get back to old-fashioned values, where you sit and talk to people,” Rivera said. “You don’t have to yell over a ballgame.”
There is Wi-Fi, however. As Rivera put it, if you have some work to finish up, bring in your laptop and do it accompanied by a cheese plate and a half-carafe of wine. That sounds like a great idea to me, as I sit at my desk with a half-carafe of ice water next to me.
Find Rivi’s at 150 N. Third Ave., Oakdale. It’s open Wednesday and Thursday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Call 209-322-2347. The restaurant also has a Facebook page.
ELSEWHERE AROUND THE BUSINESS BEAT: According to my colleague Jeff Jardine, a Knights Ferry restaurant will have a new owner.
The River’s Edge was known previously as the Knights Ferry Resort. The bar and restaurant, with a deck and lawn overlooking the Stanislaus River, has been sold.
Jardine tells me that current owner Ben Casinetto will operate the River’s Edge through the town’s Pumpkin Roll, which is the first weekend of November.
▪ Christopher’s Ristorante in downtown Sonora will close at the end of the month.
According to a news release, the Segarini family, which owns the restaurant, is going to focus on a new effort at the City Hotel Restaurant. City Hotel, in Columbia, will start serving dinners at the beginning of November, chef Chris Segarini said in the release.
“We invite all our friends to join us during the last days of operation at Christopher’s and then celebrate with us the elegant dining in a historic setting in Columbia,” said Christopher’s wife, Heather.
This is a nice gesture: Any outstanding gift certificates for Christopher’s will be honored at the City Hotel Restaurant.