Grand Avenue Merchant News – January 2022

by Ken Katz

The best Grand Avenue news this month came in the form an article in The Oaklandside by C. J. Hirschfield announcing that the annual City Noir Film Festival  was moving from San Francisco to the Grand Lake Theatre.

Produced, programmed, and hosted by “Noir Czar” Eddie Muller, this year’s festival, titled “They Tried to Warn Us!,” showcases 12 movies from mid-20th century Hollywood that explore still-timely themes involving megalomaniacal politicians, corrupt businessmen, neo-Nazis, racism, anti-Semitism, sexual predators, serial killers, police brutality—even a viral epidemic.

The festival launches on Thursday, January 20 with a double-bill featuring All the King’s Men and The Argyle Secrets. It concludes on Sunday, January 23 with four films split into afternoon and evening double-bills. All the details can be found in this festival press release.

P.S. Hats off to Gary Meyer for alerting us to the above Grand Lake Theatre photos that we found on the Bay Area Historic Theatres Facebook page.

In addition to shelves stocked with a huge variety of distilled spirits, wine, beer, coffee, tea, other non-alcoholic beverages, and beverage ware, Alkali Rye regularly serves as a pick-up point for Bay Area food producers. In the photo above, Jessica Moncada-Konte and Tony Ortiz,  are in the process of distributing the tamales that he’s turned into an art form. If you’d like to be notified of events such as these, you can sign onto their contact list or monitor their Facebook posts. We’re also pleased to share the lovely message we received from Jessica and co-owner, Kori Saika Chen.

As we close 2021 and usher in the new year, we are thankful for our first full calendar year of being in business. Looking back, we are proud and grateful that we have been able to do what we set out to do: provide our beloved Oakland with a warm and welcoming space that supports underrepresented and innovative producers we admire. Your support means the world to us and reverberates beyond our physical walls. You are supporting rum makers in Haiti, mezcaleros in Mexico, Black whiskey and spirits producers in the US, and Native American winemakers right here in California. Thank you thank you thank you. These are uncertain times, and the fact that hundreds of thousands of small businesses have and continue to still permanently close during the pandemic is not lost on us. That we have been able to still execute our mission with the support of our community is affirmation for us to use this platform to do more. We are excited for new plans for 2022, please follow us on IG, sign up for our email list, and follow our website to stay informed.

We will be closed from New Years Day 1/1 through Friday 1/7 to rest and rejuvenate and re-open for the first Grand Lake Farmers Market Saturday of 2022 on 1/8! Sip well and wishing you and yours a safe and delicious new year!

Michael’s Chocolates (in case you missed the October News, that’s Michael Benner–not Michael Mischer) will be closed through January 10. When they return, you can warm up your innards with a cup of hot chocolate prepared on a brand new device made specifically for that purpose. We’re told that this is unlike hot cocoa since it’s not as sweet–but it will be topped with a house-made marshmallow.

As we reported last month, Knimble will be closing their Oakland location permanently and the last shopping day will be January 10. There’s still lots of clothing to choose from and many of the fixtures and display cases are for sale as well. Hours are Thursday through Monday from 11:00 am-6:00 pm.

News in Brief: 

  • Joyce Tang, owner of Bake Sum reports that they’re going to be returning to their previous Friday through Sunday schedule now that the holiday season has ended but are working towards adding Mondays sometime soon as well as longer hours.
  • Ikaros restaurant  is again offering a weekend brunch (Fridays through Sundays) and weather permitting outdoor seating in the back patio remains an option.
  •  Scaffolding is down at 3241 Grand with a new coat of exterior paint and interior improvements. We’ve been told it will be an exercise studio of some kind but don’t yet have details. Previous incarnations going back to the mid-1970’s when it was a topless bar include the Cancer Society Thrift Shop, Cycle Sports, a short-lived mattress outlet, Urban Furniture & Boutique and most recently, a bicycle exercise studio.

Editor’s Update: Just learned the identity of the new tenant at 3241 Grand. Sounds like Studio FitLife will be a good fit for the neighborhood.

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.