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Rivis Sets Thursday Opening Downtown
Paul Rivera, left, serves up one of the six craft beers on tap to Oakdale resident John Lane during the soft opening of Rivis on Thursday, Sept 24. Rivis will have its formal opening this Thursday, Oct. 1. RICHARD PALOMA/The Leader

After months of hard work renovating, jumping hurdles, along with preparation for his vision of a casual place where customers could sit back and enjoy wine and food, Oakdale’s Paul Rivera is set to open Rivi’s in the downtown area on Thursday, Oct 1.

Located at 159 N. Third Ave., Rivera has finally created his vision of a social gathering place to enjoy sensational wines, great tasting beer, divine appetizers, enticing shared plates and luscious desserts.

“My wife and I got tired of going out of the area to Modesto, Napa, or Murphys,” Rivera, an OHS Class of ’86 grad and Newark firefighter, said about his motivation for opening. “We felt the Oakdale area needed this type of place and could support it too.”

Rivi’s offers close to 50 wine labels of various vintages and wineries, with 20 starting at $8 a glass and the highest at $12 a glass. Wine is available by the bottle also.

Rivera said he is also offering six craft beers on tap, featuring local Oakdale brewery, Last Call. There are also over a dozen different beer labels offered by the bottle.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, Rivi’s experienced a ‘soft opening’ where more than 20 locals attended sampling the food selections that consisted of prime rib sliders, ceviche, and flat bread pizzas.

“We wanted to focus on starter and appetizer plates that our customers would share,” Rivera said. “I think there’s a trend nowadays for smaller fare samplings but more tasty wines.”

Rivera added that the menu will keep expanding. In addition to the samplings on Thursday, Rivi’s will also offer pork and lamb shanks and shrimp cocktails. According to Rivera, the food offered at Rivi’s will enhance the flavors of the beer and wine.

Rivi’s also features desserts, cheese plates, along with dessert wines.                               

Rivera said he doesn’t plan to compete with nearby Medlen’s House of Beef or Suzey Belens Mexican Restaurant.

“Both are great establishments,” Rivera said. “I see that those patrons may want to stop by here to extend their evening for a dessert plate or glass of wine after one of their fine meals.”

Rivi’s hours are Wednesday through Saturdays, opening at 4 p.m. Rivera said he will judge by customer traffic on closing times, but said he’d like to stay open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.