GRAND AND LAKESHORE MERCHANT NEWS COMBINED
Typically, I list the Grand and Lakeshore commercial districts separately – reflecting their independence from one another and the fact that each has its own website. This month, I’m making a partial exception in order to accommodate two articles.
The first, was in The Guardian entitled “Oakland Stepping Out of San Francisco’s Shadow“. The major focus was on Grand Lake Neighborhood restaurants including Shakewell, Michel and Penrose. Retail establishments included Posh and Maribel on Lakeshore and on Grand, Ordinaire and Knimble.
The second article, in the Contra Costa Times, selected the Ten Best New Restaurants in the Bay Area. Shakewell on Lakeshore got the nod as did Penrose on Grand. Congratulations to both establishments – especially considering that this covered an immense geographic area all the way down to Los Gatos. The net effect will be increased demand for seats (as impossible as that may seem) and many more out-of-towners discovering us for the first time and saying “I had no idea Oakland was this nice”.
GRAND AVENUE MERCHANT NEWS
Last month, I couldn’t stop smiling and tapping my feet at Studio Grand as the Jimmy Grant Ensemble reinterpreted the music of Django Reinhardt. Unfortunately, I missed the opening night reception for a second, wall-hung installation by artist-in-residence Sung Kim but it will be available for viewing at the First Thursdays art walk.
Once again, their monthly calendar is filled with an assortment of wonderful events – but, to me, the February 14th “Night of Humorous and Heartfelt Theatre” sounds particularly intriguing.
If you like antiques and could use a new bed, check out the solid oak, Eastlake Victorian headboard, footboard and rails at Urban Furniture. It’s leaning against a back wall and hard to get to, but it appears that the price has been reduced to less than $200.
I peeked through an open door at Grand Fare yesterday and confirmed that heavy construction is underway. According to a sign in the front window, Doug and Freya are anticipating reopening in late Spring.
Silver Screen Video is officially closed and the interior stripped clean. Saturday afternoon, I spoke with Patrick Ellwood from Ellwood Commercial Realty and he indicated that they have not yet leased the 3,600 square feet space with the adjacent parking lot. I’m still hoping for a butcher shop or specialty grocer.
Also still vacant, the Citibank space next to Boot and Shoe Service. I just talked to the property owner and he indicated that there’s been quite a bit of interest – but a lease has not yet been signed.
FYI: The Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA) website includes an up-to-date merchant directory.
LAKESHORE/LAKE PARK MERCHANT NEWS
Shakewell has again extended its operating hours. They are now providing a morning coffee service with pastries beginning at 8:00 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11:30 – 2:30. For the time being, the coffee service and lunch are available Wednesday through Friday only. By the way, over the holidays, I treated both my sons to lunch at Shakewell. It was all excellent but Tim’s Chocolate Torte was sublime.
Talk about hyphenated names, I’m calling it Park Way/ Kwik Way/Merritt Bakery. Whatever, it did open several weeks ago and I was pleased to see that it’s not just cakes, pies and danish. They a fairly extensive menu including breakfast, burgers, sandwiches, salads and fried chicken plus desserts galore. It’s not drawing crowds but it does have customers and, now that they’ve added two picnic benches, it’s a convenient place to grab lunch or dinner.
The space vacated by Sway has been leased by a European Wax studio and heavy construction is already underway. Across the street, Silver Lining is also now closed and, according to Pamela Drake, the new tenant will be a men’s hair salon. Unfortunately, Scarecrow Popcorn has also closed and Pamela Drake said a juice bar is in the offing – which means the space is going full circle.
In the last couple of newsletters, I’ve deplored the overflowing trash cans on Lakeshore in front of Noah’s and Starbucks and they’ve been hearing those complaints from you, from the city and from the Lakeshore BID. Starbucks has been very cooperative and have moved their trash cans inside after being emptied and they’re also willing to consider installation of a trash compactor to reduce its volume. As for a parklet in this location, we’ve already heard from a couple of business owners who’d love to make it a reality. Next step is to talk to the city and bring in Walk Oakland/Bike Oakland for their advice.
Shortly after Max Patel’s passing, his two daughters returned to their jobs and Jessie, his widow, is now working very long hours at Buckingham Wine and Spirits. She is interested in hiring a dependable clerk with retail experience to work the check-out counter. If you know anyone who is interested, they can drop off a resume.
“Running your errands can be fun!” says John Beaver, who owns and operates the Oaktown Spice Shop with his wife, Erica Perez. “Shopping should not be a chore. It’s about the experience. Talk to us about your spice questions and get suggestions”.
LZ’s previous blogs are available in the West of 580 Archives.
FIRST THURSDAYS ON GRAND
Studio Grand will be continuing its exhibit of instruments hand-crafted by their Artist in Residence, Sung Kim. The original collection of instruments has just been supplemented with an additional wall-mounted installation.
Urban Furniture will be hosting a reception for Karma’s Jewelry Designs. Refreshments will be served and all store merchandise will be reduced 15%.
Jau Jou Studio‘s current exhibit of paintings by Jill McClaren will remain hanging through February 8. For the ensuing six weeks, they will be exhibiting paintings and/or photographs by Sita Rupe. Open to 8:00 p.m. only. 15% discount on all store merchandise.
Baraka Gallery’s will be open for First Thursday from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. At press time, no word on featured artists. Shiffen is now open Sundays and Mondays from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. or by appointment.
Alyce on Grand will stay open late and is offering a 15% discount on regularly priced merchandise – but won’t have a featured artist until March.
GRAND LAKE FARMERS MARKET
New at the Market: Flying Disc Ranch in Thermal, CA was founded by Robert Lower who planted his first dates in 1997. It’s a permaculture farm using what Lower prefers to call Eco-dynamic principles. The dates are delivered to Northern California twice monthly all the way from Thermal by Robert and Christina.
Salesperson, Lydia Harari, had half a dozen varieties of dates available this past Saturday including one that tastes like chocolate. I opted for the Dayri which are superb and at $6 per pound, a very good value. Flying Disc also offers citrus which is planted in rows interspersed with the date palms. The ranch was just featured in this article in Martha Stewart’s “Living” Magazine.
Also, new at the market is Emeryville-based Way to Life Foods which was invited to join the market after Market Manager, Chris Blackburn got repeated requests for a granola vendor. They have eleven flavors listed on their website including cocoa, banana and apple cinnamon.
Kassenhoff Growers won’t be back at the market for a while but Helen Krayenhoff’s fabulous note cards are available at four local emporiums including the Ace Garden Center and Grand Lake Kitchen.
I‘ve already mentioned the accolades The Guardian bestowed upon some of our finest merchants and restauranteurs. What I didn’t say is that they used a photo of the Grand Lake Market as a header and had equally nice words for it:
But one of the area’s biggest draws might be the Saturday Grand Lake Farmer’s Market, with live music and a growing number of stands selling the best of California’s bounty. Here, you’ll see Oaklanders of all stripes, proving that Lake Merritt isn’t trying to copy Brooklyn’s “hip-ification”, but coming of age as a place of great diversity.
Last month, after I shared my Fuyu Persimmon recipe, Kimberly Leo, the owner of Namaste Yoga, responded with her own variation. Kimberly substitutes fresh pomegranate seeds for the dried cherries; then adds chopped Cilantro and, for a bit of heat, some chopped jalapenos.
SPLASH PAD PARK
When you get a free moment, check out the SplashPad.org home page which has been upgraded with new photos and information. I’m particularly pleased to see the “About” page revamped to include more information about the park’s history and our California Native plant garden.
Thanks go to Raul Audelo (who built the website free of charge and taught me how to use WordPress) for a tutorial he just gave me and Eric Hughes – giving us “tools” we previously lacked. Raul, by the way, is a very busy guy with a very active 3 year-old at home plus a brand new baby they’ve named Rai Joaquin Audelo.
The Grand Crew’s most recent volunteer work day was unusually productive thanks to three new volunteers including American Indian High School students Joyce Hoang and Haley Tran as well as Councilmember, Abel Guillen who, as it turns out, wields a mean rake. Also, pitching in were regulars Scott Pinckert, Caroleen Nord and garden coordinator, Mary Jo Sutton.
Due to a fluke in the calendar, the Grand Crew’s next Fourth Sunday work day will be held on a Saturday, February 28. Same hours as usual – 9:00 a.m. until Noon. We will assemble on the lawn adjacent to Anfilo Coffee and are expecting a bigger turnout since several volunteers have newly joined the group.
There’s also a possibility that we will be installing the DG walkways adjacent to the plaza walls later this month and will do so on a weekday. If you might be available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A personal appeal: Much of my time this past week has been dedicated to DonateOakland.org‘s campaign to get unattended donation bins in Oakland either banned outright or heavily regulated to the point they go elsewhere. That’s what’s happened in San Rafael, Berkeley, San Pablo and most recently, with Alameda County – but over the last few days, it appears ever more likely that Oakland may cry uncle and accommodate mostly for-profit businesses that are ripping us off and giving back virtually nothing in return.
If you enjoy receiving this monthly newsletter which takes me two days to edit, you can show your appreciation by taking 5 minutes to read, sign and share the DonateOakland.org petition.
A big welcome to Oakland’s newest elected officials as of January 5: Mayor Schaaf, School Board Member Aimee Eng (who lives here in the neighborhood) and Abel Guillen, the new council member for District 2 – replacing Pat Kernighan who retired after 14 years of service (not 9 as reported last month).
Abel has been making the rounds – introducing himself to various communities. On the 24th, he spent a couple of hours at the Grand Lake Market with his Chief of Staff, Jennie Gerard, shaking hands and getting input. Apparently, it’s been a pretty hectic first month and it’s not getting any easier as the council was just informed that we are facing a $30 million structural deficit. If you want to keep informed as to what’s happening at City Hall, you can subscribe to Abel’s newsletter with an email to email@example.com.
Speaking of Pat Kernighan’s retirement, last month I highly recommended a short video in which the ever-charming Arvi Dorsey describes his first encounter with Pat. Unfortunately, I provided a bad link. Here’s the correct one.
Oakland will be the site of a Don’t Frack California March on February 7th beginning at 11:30 a.m. in Frank Ogawa (City Hall) Plaza. Hope to see you there.
Next meeting of the Grand Lake Neighbors group will be Wednesday, February 18 in the Lakeshore Baptist Church Library beginning at 7 p.m. OPD will be there to discuss recent crime statistics and answer questions. Michael Ford will also attend to answer questions about the off-street parking facilities that he is managing.
If you’re interested in learning how to prepare for an earthquake or other such emergencies, here’s your Golden Opportunity to sign up for CORE training classes right here in the neighborhood. The CORE I home and family preparedness class will be Wednesday, February 25 in Barnett Hall. The CORE II neighborhood preparedness and response class, March 4 in the same location. CORE I is a prerequisite for CORE II. To sign up, phone 238-6351.
Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact” opened yesterday at the Oakland Museum. The exhibit highlights the diversity of bees; their importance to agriculture; and explores the reasons behind the population decline. The show is geared to both adults and children.
If you’re on Facebook and love old photos and local history, the Oakland History group is the place to be. The photo of Grand Avenue in 1948 comes from that site.
- Thursday, February 5, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m: Grand Avenue First Thursdays
- Friday, February 6, 6 – 9 p.m: Oakland Art Murmur
- Saturday, February 7: Don’t Frack California March and Rally.
- Wednesday, February 18, 7 – 8:30 p.m: Grand Lake Neighbors meeting at Lakeshore Baptist Church.
- Saturday, February 28, 9 a.m. – Noon: Splash Pad Grand Crew work day.