Town Crier: Rockridge eatery Oliveto’s sound system softens noise factor

MONTCLARION: December 13, 2014

It’s time to talk dirty, with a few words about pollution. You hear a lot about dirty air and water, but lurking in the shadows is the growing threat of restaurant noise pollution.

When was the last time you dined at a popular place and could barely have a conversation? You won’t have this problem at Oliveto in Market Hall on College Avenue.

Montclarions Bob and Maggie Klein have installed a pioneering acoustic system at their upscale Rockridge restaurant. I couldn’t believe my ears when I ate there the other night. The Meyer Sound system softened the background noise so I could still sense the energy, but I could also hear friends at the other ends of the table. I even tried listening with hearing aids and the background noise stayed in the background.

It makes sense that Meyer Sound would expand into restaurants. They’ve designed systems for major attractions like Cirque du Soleil and Zellerbach Hall.

At Oliveto, the restaurant staff can shape the sound ambience just by touching an iPad screen. And the acoustic panels are disguised as artwork, part of a renovation that is making this dining destination even more popular. But thanks to Meyer, Bob and Maggie will be able to handle “the buzz.”

Around town: The Montclair Holiday Stroll drew such a big crowd on Dec. 4, the dancing trees barely had room to shake their boughs. One of the best “free pours” was the Irish coffee at Mix, the new interior design and shade store at 6136 Medau Place. Jerry Mulrooney and wife Patricia Benson had a store on Solano Avenue, but jumped at the chance to move into Montclair. Now they can walk to work and put all their energy into a shop full of flair and fun design ideas.

Street talk: Mischief or vandalism? Someone stole the C, S and E from the sign on Montclair’s Chase Bank. It no reads “HA” — but I bet no one at Chase is laughing. Perhaps the same thief took the “Mc” from the McCaulou’s sign. These seem like petty crimes, but they cost plenty to fix. More security cameras in Montclair Village would be a good deterrent.

Santa says: Children are getting into the act of making gifts this year. Reader Anlie Reichel says grade school students will sell handmade friendship bracelets, baked goods, jewelry and more from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Thornhill School Winter Bazaar. All are invited.

Shovel-ready: The Friends of the Montclair Railroad Trail need volunteers for their Winter Solstice Planting from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. The trail along the old Sacramento Northern line is one of our prettiest assets. Adding new native plants to the slope at the top of La Salle will make the trailhead even more inviting. For more information, go to:

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at



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