Bamboo Island to Bring Tasty Pan-Pacific Cuisine to Tri-Valley

When Mark Wooldridge gathered his team of restaurant design and construction experts, he gave them his vision for Bamboo Island, a Pan-Pacific Asian cuisine restaurant that would mirror several of the excellent upscale restaurants in Maui where he and his family enjoy dining while on vacation.

Wooldridge saw that completely renovating and redesigning the former Lyon's property, under the direction of Charles Kahn Design of Berkeley, would create the ambiance of a casual, yet elegant Hawaiian bungalow. Wooldridge acquired the lease on the building and began plans to realize his vision last year.

He chose the Hacienda location for many reasons. The space had tremendous potential and the basic architecture had great opportunity to be opened up.

"For instance, in the main dining room, there had been a drop ceiling. Stripped away, underneath there is a wonderful opportunity to raise the ceilings up high and get drama out of the space. We are going up to 30 feet at one point and opening a big skylight in the center of the facility. Bamboo struts will cross the ceiling

"Our dining chairs will be handmade with old-growth recycled mahogany that we are importing. The color scheme is earth colors and natural browns. The entry and bar floors will be paved with blue and brown slate. There is a rich fruitwood hardwood floor in main dining room. Bursts of color with sea foam and celadon will be used in the color scheme.

"We will have the Bamboo Bar, a full bar, inside with a fun space. We are creating a beautiful bamboo wall that will be backlit and will cast an orange glow into the room."

"We are constructing an outdoor lanai at Bamboo Island, facing Hopyard. It will have water features such as fountains, tropical plantings lots of tropical plantings like bird of paradise, lily of the Nile, star jasmine. The lanai will have a lattice cover but will be shaded in the summer and heated in winter for dining.

Kitchen equipment is being replaced and a semi-private dining area for up to 15 people will be part of the new plan.

He wants his restaurant to be elegant, yet comfortable and serve reasonably-priced food so families can enjoy the fare together. Serving lunch and dinner, Bamboo Island will have a children's menu with Pan-Pacific food. There will also be a large, pleasant waiting area for families constructed in the front of the restaurant.

Wooldridge and his family have lived in the area for 12 years and always felt the need to open a restaurant here. He has been in the restaurant business for 25 years including Restaurants Unlimited that has five locations, Palomino in San Francisco, Skates on the Bay, Berkeley; Horatio's, San Leandro and Kincaid's in Oakland and Burlingame. His partner in Bamboo Island is Darrell Scherbarth, one of the founders of Extreme Networks.

Bamboo Island, opening in mid-May, will be at 4889 Hopyard Road. The phone number is (925) 469-6266.

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