Lakeshore Avenue Business Improvement District
February 2014 Blog
It isn’t very often that Lakeshore sees so many new businesses open in such a short period of time, but over this spring four new businesses have done just that. This and other improvements to the Avenue should significantly raise our profile and enhance your neighborhood shopping experience.
First off, Petco Unleashed, the boutique version of the big box pet supply store, after lots of construction delays, held its grand opening on Saturday, February 22nd with special guests like Mayor Jean Quan, a DJ, and an assortment of cats looking for homes.
Of course, Unleashed already had its soft opening on February 3rd to every pet owner’s delight. It’s been a long remodel-that site was closed for too long, but now it is a colorful, bright spot full of goodies for our animal pals. The staff is knowledgeable and attentive, a real addition to our district.
You may have noticed that the City resurfaced the roadway where our little district resides. In spite of the fact that this was major work, they got in done in about three days, including striping and will be back to fix some of our tree root infested sidewalks where locals regularly trip. Yay, City of Oakland Public Works Department!
In addition to the City’s improvements, our Business Improvement District just installed three solar powered trash compactors, called BigBelly Solar, that will be able to hold the excess trash often found pouring out of the city trash receptacles in front of Arizmendi, Peets, and Starbucks/Noahs on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. Waste Management empties them daily but does not operate on Sundays so by Saturday afternoons, they are often overflowing. These compactors can take 5 times the garbage and trash as the regular city cans. You will still, however, need to deposit recyclables into the tops of the city cans nearby.
Next up a new hair salon is opening on March 1st with special events on Friday, February 28th, from 5 to 8 PM. Despite our best hopes, the two organic sleep stores that had plied their wares in that spot did not succeed and Karen Hayes, owner/operator of Bounce BlowDry Bar is feverishly finishing her remodel to that bare bones space. She immediately contacted the BID and asked how she could get involved-we’re thrilled to have her.
You’ve probably been wondering what’s going on at the former Mezze, though you may have heard some talk. Yes it is going to be a completely remodeled space with a grand bar for its “affordable, seasonal cocktail menu”, lots more tables and some communal seating areas, “an open and airy sixty-seat dining room with a long, comfortable sixteen-seat bar where you can sit before you are seated at a table or dine with one of our fantastic bartenders.” The menu will be “filled with our favorites from Mediterranean countries like Spain, Turkey, and North Africa, with our own special twists…”
The restaurant remodel was funded (in part) by a Kickstarter campaign and while the chefs, Jennifer Biestly and Tim Nugent, are well known to the San Francisco foodie scene, they are excited to be setting up in Oakland as are we. They hope to be serving us their “simple food with a Mediterranean twist and serving mouthwatering cocktails” starting sometime in April. We will post photos of the remodel, as it progresses, on our Facebook page.
So now that your mouth is watering for Mediterranean cuisine, are you ready for a French-style bistro on Lakeshore? The owner-operators of Amelie in San Francisco (there is one in Manhattan also) have taken over the spot that Yayu Ethiopian recently vacated. That space was once known as the Vine Wine Bar which dissolved amid charges that it ran an illegal cabaret-type club and disturbed the neighbors all the way up Trestle Glen Road many nights a week.
When we heard of the application for a transfer of liquor licenses, neighbors and merchants were alarmed until we met with the new owners who assured us that this restaurant would be neighborhood friendly with well-priced and carefully selected wine flights, cocktails, and homey French food for the whole family. They, too, are remodeling the in and outsides completely but hope to open in March. Lakeshore has seen a slowdown of evening business but that may change with warm, comfy but top notch dining and drinking options soon to be added to our retail mix. The new spot will be called Michel Bistro and promises “traditional French and Provencal dishes made with high quality produce at an affordable price.”
Grand Avenue, which has become a well-known shopping and dining destination in its own right, has been staging a First Thursdays art walk for some time now; and some of our merchants are considering joining forces with Grand come springtime. Even though most people think of the Grand Lake neighborhood as one, we have always had separate leadership and governance structures, but we believe that if we work together, we could have a shopping/dining district to rival any in the East Bay. If you would like to see this collaboration come to fruition, please let us know how you can help.
Samar Nasser, owner of Lakeshore’s fabulous dance exercise studio Hipline, and I went out to this February’s event on Grand. Despite the chilly and wet weather, we found people visiting the galleries, some of the shops (not all were open late), and dining in the restaurants. Here is a short clip of Samar and other visitors enjoying the musical entertainment put on by Urban Furniture.
In case you missed it, I’m also posting this video of the flash mob that Hipline organized last Halloween performing Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Keep a look out for all the great changes coming up on Lakeshore via our Facebook page.