Grand Avenue Merchant News – November 2022

by Ken Katz

What we’ve been referring to previously as Stars/Dollars/Hearts formally opened at 3221 Grand this past weekend but with a new moniker: Two Two. They feature a broad array of highly creative merchandise ranging from high couture fashions to gourmet chocolates—all produced by up-and-coming designers. This is how owner CC Doan describes their mind-set:

Two Two is a gallery/shop that focuses on emerging makers across fashion, art, design, and craft. Our curatorial lens is playful, crafted, reciprocal, and experimental. Here is where you’ll discover limited works by artists and designers you may have never heard of before—some right here in Oakland, or as far away as Paris and Japan. We’ll also be offering a selection of creative workshops and arts programming. Info about our artists and current offerings are available on our website.
For the time being, Two Two is open Fridays through Sundays from noon to 6pm and on Thursdays by email appointment only.

The second in a series of Grand Avenue Art Walks took place on October 13 with a tour that began at MegaDeluxe (sorry, no photos), followed by a stop at 8am Fashion & Tailor where live music was provided by Matt Torres. Next up, Two Two gave attendees a sneak peek at their not-yet-opened or fully furnished shop.

The third scheduled shop was Radbird, where Fati Genese, the genius from Sea Pony Couture, described the processes she uses to create absolutely phenomenal jewelry. That was followed by Alyce on Grand where Alyce talked briefly about their featured artist, Chantal Hildebrand. Urban Furniture and Boutique was featuring the artwork of Aarthi Gurusami, while artist Raquel Contreras described her plans for an altar in celebration of the Day of the Dead. The last stop was the second-floor event space behind Brother & Sisters Flower Shop to view artwork by Launa Bacon, who flew in from Kauai especially for this event. BTW: That’s owner Freya Prows’ artwork on the walls.

There are two very special events on Grand this Wednesday, both of which run from 6-8pm. This is what the owner of Panorama Framing, Ted Dively says about their art exhibit titled, Meese is a Pig:

From local political maven Brook Turner’s “Lighthouse Propaganda” collection, just in time for election season, we bring you a show of provocative art that will remain up through mid-December. Opening night is this Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm. Please swing by to enjoy insultingly inexpensive snacks, while you browse Brook’s provocative pieces and also check out new batches of signed and dated high-quality art prints by local artists Valerie Hamill and Shane Donahue (aka “My Town Fan Club”).

The second event tomorrow night is just across the street at Urban Furniture and Boutique. Their founder and long-term director Tracey Williams shared this:

For November, we made space for our first Dia de Los Muertos celebration with Oakland-born artist Raquel Contreras. Raquel’s creations will be available including hand-poured and painted wax skulls along with Day of the Dead T-shirts. On November 2, we invite you to attend her exhibit Traces commentating on our loved ones and ancestors in community. But the most exciting part of Raquel’s artist showcase is the community altar, known as an ofrenda, that she is building with her dear friend Jennifer Bobrow of Urban Gem Jewelry. Stop by throughout the month of November to see the altar and participate by bringing a photo of a loved one passed or a piece of memorabilia.

Alkali Rye’s November calendar begins on Friday with a ticketed event titled, “Demystifying Aromatized Wine.” Reservations are required and seating is limited. Currently, four free tastings are also scheduled, including one on a Friday. According to Jessica and Kori, they’ve been conversing with a number of makers and distributors and will likely be adding additional tastings. Periodically check their Event Calendar for last-minute additions.

Grand Avenue Social Club now has two patios—both of which welcome dogs—and they’ve extended their hours as well. They’re now open Thursdays through Sundays from 5–9 or 10pm for dinner. Brunch from 10am–3pm on Saturdays and Sundays has become quite popular and reservations are recommended. Stay tuned as owner Shelley Cardiff is about to announce a Midnight Brunch on Saturdays from 10pm–2am. P.S. Orders for takeout are provided by DoorDash.

This past Saturday, we popped into Grand Jewelry Repair to congratulate them for the Best Jewelry Repair Shop award that they had received from the East Bay Express. We were delighted to find that both owners, Quy and Christine Tran, were there and, with a little persuasion, they agreed to pose for a photo. Christine reminded us that they have their Names in Lights in the Splash Pad Plaza and then added that they opened on Grand in 1990, which puts them on par with Elida Scola, but still far outdone by the Grand Lake Theatre and The Alley.

Via the email appended below, Seth and Jenni Bregman, owners of Bardo Lounge and Supper Club, announced late last week that they had purchased Sidebar:

We are honored to announce that we have just become the new stewards and owners of Oakland’s beloved Sidebar! SidebarOakland has been one of our favorite spots for many years. When owners Mark and Barbara shared that they were ready to move on from the business, we extended an offer to buy and maintain it. Please join us in wishing them the very, very best after their incredible restaurant run of 30 years and 3 successful restaurants comes to a conclusion. We can’t wait for this new chapter with you all as the new owners of Sidebar! Stay tuned for more updates and make sure to follow us at @sidebaroakland!

More details are in this SF Eater article.

Grand Avenue News in Brief:.

  • Ordinaire will be hosting a “Winemakers’ Release of California Nouveau Wines” on November 17 beginning at 6pm in celebration of the end of the harvest season.
  • Bake Sum is now open five days a week. Fridays through Sundays from 8am–2pm and on Thursdays and Mondays from 8am–1pm.
  • ReLove, which leased the Knimble space, as we reported in September, has begun interior upgrades, including flooring, electrical, and painting. They’re hoping to be open in time for Christmas shopping.
  • Michael’s Chocolate just celebrated their First Anniversary, and they’ve been busier than ever—thanks in part due to a special collaboration with SF-based Dandelion Chocolate.
  • Oakland’s Department of Transportation is planning on repaving Grand Avenue from Broadway to Elwood and, in the process, is proposing pedestrian and bike safety improvements to Grand Avenue, as well as measures to facilitate bus transportation. Be sure to read the article in today’s edition of the News.

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.