EDITOR’S NOTE:  We’re publishing a couple of days early in order to give last-minute plugs to some of the many events happening this weekend.

LAKESHORE/LAKE PARK MERCHANT NEWS

LinJiaPosterEditedAs mentioned in last month’s newsletter, Lin Jia Asian Kitchen is celebrating its 5th Anniversary in November and owner,  Marcia Lam is showing her gratitude for all the support she’s received from the community by giving back to four neighborhood non-profits.  During the entire month, she will be donating 5% of their sales – divided equally between Splash Pad Park, Friends of Morcom Rose Garden, the Pollinator Posse and Fairyland.

For SplashPad.org’s designated weekend, we’ll have a table outside Lin Jia on Saturday and Sunday, November 7 and 8 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.  We’ll be talking about the park and how we’ll be using our share of the donation for various improvements including some new DG adjacent to the Plaza and a major expansion of the California Native Plant Garden.

On those two evenings, we’ll also be passing out raffle tickets good for one of ten Splash Pad 10th Anniversary t-shirts that we’ll be giving away.  For the balance of the week,  if you have lunch or dinner at Lin Jia between November 1st and the 8th, be sure to ask your server for a raffle ticket.  Drawing will be on November 9.

MainSqueezeLogoMainSqueeze2Next door to Lin Jia, at 3435 Lakeshore, “The Main Squeeze” has just opened and the initial reviews are quite positive.  Partners are James Gatts,  the former Bar Manager at Shakewell, along with Nimer Musleh and his brother, Omar from Flipside.  They’re serving juices and smoothies made from organic fruits and veggies plus Acai Bowls – the South American berry  that’s called a “super food” with toppings that include yogurt and granola.

Last month, I followed Chip Johnson’s lead in reporting that Peet’s was going to expand into the vacant spaces on both sides.  Later that day, I posted a retraction saying that Peet’s was expanding into the Burrito Shop space but not Lakeshore Produce’s.  A month later, I don’t know what to say – other than noting that both spaces are vacant and being cleaned.  As for their eventual disposition, either that’s still up in the air or no one’s talking.

In regard to Lakeshore Produce’s move up the street to the storefront next to Colonial Donuts, the new awning is in place,  but there’s not too much else currently happening.  I’m told that they are impatiently awaiting a Building Permit that will allow PG&E to upgrade their gas and/or electrical service.

Kwik Way--Back to the FutureI don’t know all the specifics but, word is that Alex Hahn has abandoned plans for the much-anticipated mixed-use development on the Kwik Way property.  He is instead in negotiations with Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins which are allegedly interested in a joint venture that would modify the existing building to accommodate indoor seating.

If you’re relatively new to the neighborhood or weren’t previously paying attention, this site has been an ongoing bone of contention since Mr. Hahn proposed leasing the restaurant to McDonald’s in 2004 – six months after the new park across the street was dedicated.  In the space of ten days, 3200 concerned residents signed petitions in opposition and five hundred neighbors personally voiced their objections at a gathering at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church.

Subsequently, a local developer put together a proposal for a mixed-use development with ground-floor retail that was thoroughly vetted by the community and heartily endorsed.  Now that scenario seems highly unlikely but I’d hope that, one way or the other, the wishes of the community will be respected. The one constant throughout this process is that this community much prefers a locally-owned, independent business that serves the Grand Lake Neighborhood – not folks streaming off Highway 580.

This year’s Halloween actually coincides with the annual BID Halloween Celebration complete with a parade, corn dogs and trick or treating.  Details are HERE.  Also, check out Hipline’s performance of Thriller on Lakeshore at 6:00 and again, 6:30 on Saturday evening.

GRAND AVENUE MERCHANT NEWS

Highlights of Studio Grand’s November event calendar include their Day of the Dead celebration on Sunday, November 1;  a night of theater entitled “If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home By Now” on November 14; and Krystle Ahmadyar in “Crescent Moon”, celebrating her Afghani heritage.  In addition, Studio Grand is hosting a Pop-Up Market featuring local artists, craftspeople and designers on November 21.

While attending the above events, you can simultaneously view their current exhibit,  “Altar of My Passing” which closes on November 28.  When you do, be sure to don 3-D glasses when viewing the altar by Rene Yenez.

The much anticipated Grand Fare Market finally opened on October 6 with extensive press coverage from KQED, SF Eater and SF Gate’s Inside Scoop.   The entire space is gorgeous but the patio, flower shop and streamline trailer are worthy of special mention.

The overwhelming majority of early reviews have been super positive – but, judging by some comments, a few kinks have yet to be addressed.  But to put it in perspective, similar issues were raised when Penrose and Ikaros first opened – which likely now comes with the territory since Yelp and other social media have made “soft openings” a quaint relic of the not so distant past.  That said, Doug and Freya, a hearty welcome!  Grand Fare is yet another wonderful addition to a once-forlorn block that has been wonderfully transformed in a few short years.

Yesterday morning, office furniture was stacked outside the Better Homes and Gardens Realty office, confirming that their move to 3923 Grand is already underway.  Earlier in the week, Office Manager Melissa Case indicated that the transfer will be complete shortly – but their community open house has not yet been scheduled.

Sushi Boat will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in December and an anniversary party is being planned – but not yet scheduled.  Meanwhile (apparently for the balance of the year), a draft beer or large saki is only $2 between 7:00 and 8:30 p.m.

Urban Furniture Warehouse

Urban Furniture Warehouse

UrbanFurnitureWarehouse4On October 10, I attended the Grand Opening of Urban Furniture’s new warehouse at 1960 Adeline – one short block off of West Grand.  It’s a very large, brightly-lit  space that will provide plenty of storage for furniture and also house an “urban learning center” that will teach customer service,  contextualized math and reading literacy while simultaneously providing self-esteem workshops for single mothers transitioning from public assistance.

According to Director Tracey Weaver, the new warehouse will complement the Grand Avenue storefront and provide a steady stream of quality furnishings.  If however, you’re in the market for a dining table, desk or gently used sofa, check out the warehouse which is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Extensive remodeling is ongoing at 3249 Grand,  which is about to be reborn sometime soon as La Parissiene Cafe and Boulangerie. Yesterday afternoon, the front door was open and I peeked inside.  The partition that screened off the kitchen has been pushed back – leaving room for a 10-15 foot display counter.  It looks far more spacious than it did previously.

Despite best intentions, it’s predecessors (including Boniere, Good Chemistry Baking, and a donut shop) failed to thrive,  but there’s far more pedestrian traffic now than there was previously and, in addition, a French bakery was very high on the want list based on the GLRAG survey some five years ago.

I‘ll be doing a Sidewalk Sale this Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in front of Red Wagon Collectibles at 3654 Grand.  I’ll be selling tons of stuff at sharply reduced prices including half a dozen boxes and trays of smalls priced from 50 cents to $5.  If you’re looking for chairs and/or a dining room table for Thanksgiving we’re selling both along with a full set of china.  Unfortunately, since I need a bigger space for a Going Out of Business Sale, this weekend will be my last at Red Wagon and all my merchandise inside  will be marked down 20%.

For an always up-to-date business directory, click and save the… GABA Logo

LZ’s GRAND AVENUE – WEST OF 580 BLOGAhn's4

In this month’s blog,  LZ reports that devoted fans of Ahn’s 1/4 Pound Burger will be delighted to learn that it’s about to re-open and, with new furnishings and a new brighter interior, it’s going to be better than ever.

All previous West of 580 blogs are posted on This archive.

FIRST THURSDAYS ON GRAND

This month’s First Thursdays Art Walk takes place November 5.   Hours are 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

Panorama Framing:  Opening Night Reception for  “Lacunae:  Selected Photographs by Abbot Moffat”   Refreshments  served.

San Francisco Fiber:  Lou Grantham, at 3711 Grand,  extends an open invitation to try your hand at weaving and spinning.

Studio GrandAltar of My Passing features 20 Day of the Dead altars by Bay Area artists. Open to 8:00 p.m. only.

Alchemy Bottle Shop:  “Tahiti and Beyond”  – Oil paintings by Tana Sommer.   Open to 8:00 p.m. only.

Jau Jou Studio: Selected works from Richmond’s NIAD Art Center – Nurturing Independence Through Artistic Development.  Open to 8:00 p.m. wih a  15% discount on all salon merchandise from 6:00 to 8:00.

Baraka Gallery (432 Santa Clara) is exhibiting “Nomadic Artisans of the Sahara” featuring new acquisitions of leather and jewelry from the Tuareg people of Mali, Niger and Morocco.  “The tea kettle is always on.” Open 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Urban Furniture:  Jewelry and handbags by Justin Phillip. 15% off all regularly priced store merchandise.

Alyce on Grand:  Open late. 15% discount on all regularly priced merchandise from 6:00 p.m. until closing.

GRAND LAKE FARMERS MARKET

New DG at Splash Pad

The Agricultural Institute of Marin has recently signed a new agreement with the city for the use of Splash Pad Park on Saturdays.  The terms include a $1,000 monthly rental fee and replacement (which should be completed today) of the decomposed granite walkway that runs from one end of the park to the other.

Jerry Barclay (Chair of the Splash Pad Park Advisory Committee) and I were both disappointed that this agreement did not also address a host of concerns that we had previously raised with the City Administrator’s office.  Our primary complaints include the following:

  • Congestion has increased tremendously over the past couple of years with the booths getting larger and the aisles smaller – making for an unsafe and less pleasant environment for shoppers
  • Vendors’ use of parking on the street and under the freeway leaves precious little space for shoppers.  Off-site parking needs to to be provided for vendors.
  • The market’s popularity translates to constant wear and tear to the park.  The current agreement fails to adequately address this issue in terms of prevention and, when necessary, remediation.

The good news is that the current agreement is for one year only and the terms will be revisited before it’s renewed.  Jerry has asked the city to schedule a meeting that will allow community members to be involved in the process.  If you’re interested in participating, please send an email to Jerry at This Link.  Also, we’d be interested in any  relevant input using the Newsletter Comment section as your forum.

Parkinson's DonationsFor the past several years, Guy Birenbaum, the proprietor of La Fleur de Lyon, has been donating his tips (plus what he himself donates)  to Parkinson’s research.  This past month, the total was roughly $400.  A round of applause please for Monsieur Birenbaum.

A couple of weeks ago, Mark Mueller, a student at the Academy of Art University School of Multimedia Communications, filmed this brief video at the market.  The quality is excellent and please pay particular attention to the sounds – a specific focus of the class assignment.  As an aside, there’s a problem with the tracking but it only lasts for the first few seconds.

There’s a new knife-sharpener at the market every other Saturday for the time being, but eventually, the Oakland-based Sharp Brothers will be here every week.

Farmers Market Jack-o-LanternIn celebration of Halloween on Saturday, the farmers market management will be giving away 150 small pumpkins while also providing toothpicks and sliced and diced fruits and veggies.

SPLASH PAD PARK

As mentioned above, a contractor hired by AIM has just re-surfaced the decomposed granite walkway that runs the length of the park.  Unfortunately, the condition of the adjacent gravel bed is nearly as bad.  So far, no solution or source of funding has been identified – but the conversation is just now beginning.

The Splash Pad Grand Crew’s next work day will be a week later than usual on the fifth Sunday, November 29.  RSVP’s to info@splashpad.org would be appreciated.

HAPPENINGS:ClausenHouseWalk2

The Clausen House Walk for Independence  on October 10 was a very big success,  In addition to the hundreds of individuals who walked or made donations, Event Coordinator Jennifer Della Croce offered special thanks to the major sponsors including  the Schweizer & Lang Families;  Tom Steyer & Kat Taylor;  Friends of the Clausen Family;  Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood; Kaiser Permanente; Union Bank; the Oakland Athletics Community Fund.

The 2nd Annual Neighborhood Gift Faire at Regeneration Church on December 5 is a collaboration involving half a dozen neighborhood organizations.  It will feature local arts, music, crafts and food.  Artist submissions should be sent to sashaesposito@gmail.com no later than November 1.

ODDS AND ENDS

The proposed road diet on Grand Avenue passed the City Council last week.  At the time of publication, there’s not yet any word as to when the re-striping will begin.

If you haven’t yet seen East Side Sushi, it starts a new run at the New Parkway on Friday, October 30 and the run at the Elmwood Cinema has just been extended for another week.

When I write about David Gans, I usually describe him as a Haddon Hill resident and singer/song-writer – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  To those labels, we could add author, photographer, Splash Pad Newsletter subscriber, avid farmers market shopper – not to mention his long tenure as host to the “Grateful Dead Hour” and “Dead to the World”.

To learn more, pick up a copy of the Fall edition of Edible East Bay with David’s cover photo of a Tomato Hornworm Caterpillar devouring one of his home-grown tomatoes.  Inside, the lead story is about David and his wife, Rita.  For an added bonus, the Edible East Bay website is featuring a slideshow accompanied by an audio clip from “Bounty From the County” – David’s musical tribute to the Grand Lake Farmers Market.

Next meeting of the Grand Lake Neighbors group will be Wednesday, November 18 in the Lakeshore Baptist Church Library beginning at 7 p.m.  The minutes of last month’s meeting are posted on the GLN website.

The Splash Pad Newsletter may not always be the most reliable of news sources but we really hit the nail on the head last month when we advised readers to buy your tickets early for the Autumn Lights Festival.  Both nights were totally sold out with hundreds of folks turned away at the doors.     Accordingly, it’s likely that the event will be expanded next year to include a third night.  Congratulations to everybody involved (particularly Parks Supervisor, Tora Rocha) for making this event so hugely successful.  A few of my photos are posted above and more are on my Flickr page at THIS LINK.

Ray Perman, an occasional Splash Pad volunteer and benefactor, just informed that he will be assuming responsibility for publication of the Lake Merritt Institute’s newsletter.  Here’s a link to the most recent edition.

Calendar

  • Sunday, November 1, 3:00 – 8:00 p.m:  Day of the Dead Celebration at Studio Grand
  • Thursday, November 5, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m: Grand Avenue First Thursdays
  • Friday, November 6,  6:00 – 9:00 p.m: Oakland Art Murmur
  • Saturday, November 14, 9:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m: Morcom Rose Garden Volunteer Work Day
  • Wednesday, November 18, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m: Grand Lake Neighbors meeting at Lakeshore Baptist Church
  • Saturday, November 21,  Noon – 5:00 p.m:  Studio Grand Pop-Up Market featuring local artists, craftspeople and designers
  • Sunday, November 22, 6:00 p.m.  “First Fridays” documentary broadcast on KQED
  • Sunday, November 29, 9:00 a.m. – Noon:  Splash Pad Park Volunteer Work Day
  • Saturday, December 5, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m:  Neighborhood Gift Faire at Regeneration Church

To join our email list, email: info@splashpad.org with “Subscribe” on the subject line. All newsletters are archived HERE.