A new culinary mashup concept is getting set to open in Oakland's Uptown, taking over the space from beloved Japanese-influenced diner Hopscotch, which shuttered in June after 10 years.

It's called Good Luck Gato, and it's being billed as an "izakaya cantina," with food that pays tribute to the drinking cultures of both Japan and Mexico. The new concept comes out of a partnership between Itani Ramen and Hopscotch chef-owner Kyle Itani, and two former Hopscotch employees, sous chef Matt Meyer and bar guy Daniel Paez. The new spot opens this Thursday, September 14.

The menu, which features drinking snacks like korokke russet potato croquettes (Oaxaca cheese, peppers, onion, tonkatsu sauce, karashi mustard), and a hamachi tartare tostada (cucumber, prickly pear sanbaizu, shiso, hazelnut salsa macha), is informed by Meyer's Mexican heritage and his years of cooking Japanese food alongside Itani.

The heartiest dishes on the menu, which still aren't that large, are chicken karaage ($14), a chiizu baga slider ($9)a 3-oz house ground chuck slider with American cheese, caramelized onion, yuzu kosho poblano relish, chipotle kewpie mayo, and a potato bun; and an okonomiyaki baked potato ($15) — a russet potato topped with carnitas, tonkatsu sauce, kewpie mayo, scallions, kizami nori, and bonito flakes.

The okonomiyaki baked potato at Good Luck Gato. Photo: Nicola Parisi
The egg taco with Japanese curry sausage at Good Luck Gato. Photo: Nicola Parisi

The mashup continues on the bar menu, which will offer six house cocktails as well as shot-and-beer combos — a shot of Japanese spirit with a Mexican beer, or a shot of a Mexican spirit paired with a Japanese beer. The cocktails by Paez include the Emerald Zone (nori-infused Tequila, mezcal, suze, cucumber juice, yuzu cordial, lime and sesame oil, garnished with a black and white sesame seed rim), and the Tarantino Dance Floor (pisco, lofi gentian amaro, hibiscus-jalapeno-ume shrub, lemon, soda water).

There is also, of course, sake, as well as as beer and wine, and two non-alcoholic mocktails.

Speaking to Eater in June about the closure of Hopscotch and the plans for a new concept, Itani called it "a win-win."

"While Hopscotch is closing and ending its run, it will live on — in my head, at least — through former employees. Matt [Meyer] was my sous chef for seven years, so it’s great that I can set him up further to carry it forward — and so I’m pretty stoked about that," Itani said.

Itani continues to operate Itani Ramen nearby, and Hopscotch also lives on through Hopscotch Catering, which caters events centered around smoked meats for 30 to 150 people.

Photo: Nicola Parisi

The space has gotten a 70s-ish makeover for Good Luck Gato, with lime-washed walls, a yellow and brown palette, and wood and rattan furniture. There will also be maneki-neko — the namesake lucky cat figures — and the bar will play spaghetti western soundtracks and films. As the team explains in a release, Good Luck Gato takes a lot of inspiration from the spaghetti western genre, with "its unique blend of Mexican, Japanese, and kitsch."

Look for Good Luck Gato to be open Wednesday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., with the kitchen closing at 10 p.m.

Good Luck Gato - 1915 San Pablo Avenue - Opening Thursday, September 14