Grand Avenue Merchant News – June 2021

by Ken Katz

As we reported last month, Alyce on Grand owner Alyce Preston was about to move (for about the fourth time) to a new location. This one is two doors up the block at 3231 Grand—the former home of Oak Common. When interviewed on Friday (three weeks after reopening) Alyce confided that this may be her final destination. After taking in the natural light streaming through the windows, the larger space on two levels that adds visual interest and the fabulous decor, it’s easy to see why.

The black and white woodblock prints lining the walls—which have already generated lots of interest—were painted by My Art Maji. The colorful exterior facade and the drawings in the dressing rooms are by Zoe Boston.

The enlarged space means a larger inventory including, for the first time, a small selection of men’s clothing. In addition, Alyce is also featuring accessories by local designers, including leather bags, candles, and jewelry.

To celebrate the opening of the new location, Alyce and her business partner, Kalu, will be offering 20% off on all store merchandise from June 4–6. 

Hours are Noon – 6 pm Wednesday through Mondays. Closed Tuesdays.

The biggest and easily the most welcome news on Grand Avenue this month was the reopening of the Grand Lake Theatre on Thursday which was the subject of a behind-the-scenes report in The Oaklandside by Azucena Rasilla. As reported by Ms. Rasilla, masks are still required and, for the time being, occupancy is limited to 25% of capacity.

A tip of the hat to owner Allen Michaan, who has never been described as being conservative except—as C. J. Hirschfield pointed out in her December 2020 Splash Pad News profile—regarding  reopening the theater. FYI: Discount Tuesdays are temporarily suspended until COVID restrictions are removed, but matinees (before 5:45) are only $7.50. Also, the theater has scheduled a special showing on June 3 of “We All Live in Gaza” with seating limited to 200 patrons. Advance tickets may be purchased at this link

Over at Urban Furniture and Boutique, they will be celebrating the historic resilience and joy of the Black Community on June 19 from Noon – 5 pm with a live performance by the Afro-Cuban music ensemble Sentimiento y Manana and a delicious Cuban food pop-up by Yaqueline Martinez.

In addition, their feature artist for this month is Marina Caliari, whose ceramics are also available at the Oakland Museum of California store. Details regarding Ms. Caliari and the Juneteenth celebration are here.

When we spoke with Mimosa Champagne Lounge owner Chris Rachal a couple of months ago, he predicted that his second location on Grand Avenue would be opening in late May. Judging by the photo of the interior we captured through the front door, M2 is right on schedule. Here’s what their website says you should expect once they do open:

The menu features Shaken, Stirred, and Bubbly categories. Whether you’re in the mood for a fresh Seasonal Fix, a variety of rum drinks, or some of the best Champagne in the town, this Oakland location provides that and more. Our bartenders are trained to know the ins and outs of the cocktail families. With their extensive skills, they can switch out ingredients to create a customized experience just for you.

If you were at the Farmers Market early in March, you may have happened across Grand Avenue insurance agent Ruth Stroup, who was there in recognition of her twice donating $5,000 to AIM to help continue the distribution of free Bounty Boxes for Oakland families in need. If you missed out on one of her colorful shopping bags, more are available for the asking at her office at 3560 Grand.

Ruth also noted in an email that they are currently celebrating fifteen years of service to Oakland and were honored to be named Best of the East Bay by The Express and Oakland Magazine. In addition, if you have quantities of financial records that need shredding, put October 16 in your calendar as Ruth has someone coming that morning who will do it for free.

Grand Avenue News in Brief:

  • Ordinaire is now open for indoor shopping with a maximum of five guests at a time. They have also installed a parklet and drinking is permissible is there and on the sidewalk. Hours are Noon – 9 pm, Sunday through Thursday and Noon – 10 pm, Friday and Saturday.
  • Alkali Rye‘s hours are 11:00 am – 6:00 pm Tuesday – Sunday. Currently, they’re working with Jaynelle St. Jean, the genius behind Pietisserie. Orders for sweet or savory pies have to be placed by Monday for pick up at Alkali on Wednesday.
  • Almond & Oak‘s parklet is being heavily used but they are now also serving meals indoors at 25% capacity.
  • The same is true at The Star on Grand (which has reintroduced Personal Pizzas for lunch) and is likely the case with most of the restaurants on Grand.

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.



4 responses to “Grand Avenue Merchant News – June 2021”

  1. Amy Keener Avatar
    Amy Keener

    Has Wild Rabbit Bakery had to close permanently? I know they were trying to hang on with weekend service.

    1. Ken Katz Avatar
      Ken Katz

      Amy. Unfortunately, they have closed permanently but there’s always the possibility that they will reappear at some point, somewhere.

  2. Joni Tanis Avatar
    Joni Tanis

    Who are the photos by?

    1. Ken Katz Avatar
      Ken Katz

      Joni, With the exception of the two screenshots from the Urban Furniture website, all the photos are by Ken Katz. Thanks for asking.