Ashley Hildreth, KronnerBurger

The new KronnerBurger over in Oakland's Temescal area is on the tip of everyone's tongue. Literally and figuratively. We can't even begin to discuss the most talked about burger in town without mentioning the ever-so-spirited Ashley Hildreth.  Wondering about the devastatingly beautiful design nuances in your favorite new burger joint? Well, you have Ashley to thank for that rose quartz bar, the delicately hand hewn ceramics and those rich plum textiles. Now, you can have the best of both worlds - because everyone loves a burger, even the visually conscious. Today Lisa Says Gah brings you behind the scenes of a busy restaurant for a quick chat with Ashley about sticking to your concept, engaging your community (first and foremost), and striving for genuine personal expression. Enjoy! 

LSG: Hi Ashley! Tell us more about the name of your company? What did the process of choosing it look like?

My partner's last name is Kronner. A friend of his started calling any burger he made a KronnerBurger years ago. After several pop-ups our friend, Samantha Strand, committed the name to posters with a logo for an extremely unsuccessful "art show" where there wasn't any art aside from the hamburgers. 

LSG: What were you working on before going into the restaurant biz? What inspired you to collaborate on KronnerBurger?

I have always worked in restaurants. I started working for the Slanted Door group and eventually managed Heaven's Dog. After the Slanted Door, I managed the Boot and Shoe Service, here in Oakland. When I met Chris (at a party a block away from where we would eventually open the restaurant and live), we were both looking for an opportunity to start something new, KronnerBurger is the result. 

LSG: Can you describe the lifestyle surrounding your restaurant? What part does community play?

Nearly everything in the restaurant was built or created by someone we are close to; we know most of the people that grow the vegetables and raise animals that we serve. From the lights to the tomatoes, our community has played and continues to play a huge roll in everything that we do. 

LSG: As an independent business owner, what advice would you share with someone interested in starting a company? What skills would you recommend mastering before becoming your own boss?

Stick to your concept. 

I don't think there is mastery of anything. Be confident in your decisions while remaining ready for any opportunity to learn. Surround yourself with people whose skills complement yours.  Delegate while remaining present. Be open and gracious. 

LSG: What do you miss the most about the days before business responsibilities?!

I miss the simplicity of being able to leave work at work. 

LSG: You and your space are always on point visually. How do you approach the intersection of the fashion/design and food worlds?

Striving for genuine personal expression. All of the small things are stimulating and important in some way. The glassware, the plates, the tables, the rose quartz bar, the plum colored aprons, the bathroom. All of these details were selected thoughtfully. The hope is that the small choices that reflect my personal preferences will create a dining environment and experience that the guests will want to return for and be inspired by.

LSG: Last, but not least! What's next?

A scholarship program to send dogs to art school. (-;

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INTERVIEWED BY OLIVIA LA ROCHE 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNA-ALEXIA BASILE