Grand Avenue Merchant News – August 2023

by Ken Katz

There were two big events on Grand Avenue this month beginning with an Art Walk on July 20 that was organized primarily by Tracey Williams from Urban University with a big assist from Jason Canepa from Radbird who designed the poster. Originally, seven shops were scheduled to participate: Megadeluxe, 8am Style, Radbird, Alyce on Grand, Urban Furniture and Boutique, and Brother and Sisters Flower Shop plus a final stop for food and libations at Sister Restaurant. Happily, ReLove and Bake Sum were late additions. Rumor is that the next Art Walk will be in September and at least a couple of other shops are likely to join in.

Three days later, TwoTwo hosted a pop-up marketplace featuring ten artists and designers. Falkor, the pup who has his own Fan Club got a disproportionate share of attention but it was a really fantastic group of talented people and lots of fun with good vibes. If you’re not already following TwoTwo on Instagram or their website, we highly recommend that you do so since CC seems to be inclined to put together great events such as this one on short notice. Next on tap is a Bookbinding Workshop on August 5 from Noon – 2pm. Reservations are generally required as space is limited.

Last month, we were so impressed by the chalk drawings on Ordinaire’s sandwich board we tracked down the artist responsible, Matias Arganaraz, a member of their staff who attended the Institute of Art in Chicago and has had several one-man shows. This month, there are so many additional, superb sandwich boards, I’m beginning to think we may need to sponsor a competition. From left to right, this is what’s happening at each of these establishments:

  • On Sunday, August 27 from 2pm – 10pm, Ordinaire will be celebrating their 10th Anniversary and serving Kroner Burgers.
  • MeloMelo Kava Bar, in addition to their regularly scheduled events, will have live jazz on the 20th and a DJ the following night.
  • Ikaros’s Happy Hour (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30–8:00pm) features Draft Beers for $5, Signature Cocktails for $9 — not to mention the best Greek dining around.
  • Lynn & Lu’s patio is now open and it’s the perfect environment to be sipping a Passion Fruit or Mango Smoothie.
  • The fifth sandwich board, at Urban Furniture and Boutique, gets my vote for the best and most colorful artwork. The young lady, who failed to identify herself, did the flowers on the left and Tracey Weaver, Urban University’s Director, did the ones on the right. Speaking of Tracey, on August 3 from 3 – 8pm, they’ll be celebrating her birthday as part of their featured artist for the month reception for Cairo McCockran.

Jessica at Alkali Rye pointed out their new selection of what she calls “Snackies”– all of which are the product of small, independently owned producers. She’s especially fond of the Mole’s from Oaxaca which are super easy to prepare. Five tastings are scheduled for August but do check their event calendar for hours and any later additions.

  • Alyce on Grand has a selection of hats on sale discounted 50%. She also has a new employee, welcome to Malaysia Yamat.
  • Michael’s Chocolates has just introduced house-baked Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt that you can order “as is” or as a “Stacker” with your choice of gelato in the middle.
  • The Barbary is tentatively scheduled to open this summer in the Libertine spot but we’re still awaiting confirmation of the rumor that it’s going to be a Tiki Bar.
  • We were very pleased to see Joe Paul the other day. He opened Bell & Iron Tattoo at 3512 Grand in 2016 and along with two other tattoo artists, they’re now open seven days a week by appointment only.

News in Brief:

  • In addition to instituting a new Happy Hour at Ikaros  with $5 draft beers and Signature Cocktails for $9, George and Rochael are now scheduling special events beginning on August 11 with belly dancing followed by live music provided by the Three Sheets during Sunday Brunch on August 20. On September 9, look for a book-signing by local author Jen Cazares.
  • Thanks to Oppenheimer and Barbie, the Grand Lake Theatre had one of its best weeks since the onset of the pandemic. Both will be screening through the month with lesser films also being featured.
  • Freya Prowe and her family are on a much-deserved vacation. Brother & Sisters Flower Shop will reopen on August 12.
  • The Alley, which has been packed of late, received a rave review from SF Gate.

Ken Katz founded the Splash Pad Neighborhood Forum in late 1999 and, in his role as Chair, coordinated the community efforts to lobby for a new park and subsequently served as a liaison to the City of Oakland and to Walter Hood’s office during the planning process. The first Splash Pad Newsletters were emailed beginning circa 2006. Currently, he acts as a contributor to—and publisher of—the monthly Splash Pad News. Keila Diehl proofreads all the copy, filters content as needed, and makes everyone involved look good .