Grand Avenue Merchant News – September 2021

by Ken Katz

Maestro? A drumroll please.We have several exciting developments to report, beginning with…

Bake Sum quietly opened a couple of weeks ago, albeit with very limited hours on Fridays and Saturdays only until they are fully staffed and trained. The interior is very well done and our hats are off for anybody that can make the Spam cans that greet you in the front window look that appealing. Thus far, their pastries (sweet and savory) have been greeted with rave reviews–including our own. The pineapple bun is filled with gooey custard and was scrumptious. The Mochi Bites ($1.50 each or $13/dozen) were also delicious. The green onion croissant comes with a surprise–a slice of meat that we have to assume is the aforementioned Spam hidden inside. Last but not least was something that resembled a brownie–but, with apologies to Keila Diehl, our copy editor, not as sweet and a lot more “coco-ee.”  Keila, if that’s not a word, we just coined it.

Across the street, Mimosa on Grand has also opened and, for the time being, their hours are fairly limited as well: Fridays and Saturdays from 8 pm–2 am with DJs each night. Sunday hours are 11 am–6 pm with a Sunday Brunch that features a “Bottomless Buffet.” Their new parklet, which includes heat and lighting, should also prove to be very popular.

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The other big news is that All Things Hemp, whose financial situation has been perilous throughout the pandemic, will be celebrating better times to come with an Open House on October 2 from 12–3 pm. Shop Manager, Kim McAfee, is very grateful for all the neighbors who patronized the shop during the worst of the pandemic and is now equally grateful for a gorgeous new mural (pictured above) that was underwritten entirely by, a nonprofit that’s been sponsoring murals throughout the Bay Area. The artist, Serge Gay Jr., has a phenomenal track record in a wide variety of media with some thirty-five clients including the likes of Ford, Absolut Vodka, Sony, and Atlantic Records. In addition to the mural, Serge created the poster pictured on the right with the mural as its centerpiece. Forty signed copies printed on hemp paper are being donated to All Things Hemp by Brad Boca and Andrea Pinal from Candela Fine Art Printing. At the October 2 event, they’ll have live music and will be serving a variety of CBD treats. In addition, a food truck will likely be parked outside. Please come masked and practice social distancing.

According to Timmy Nguyen at Miss Saigon, Smitty’s Bar closed after one of the owners moved out of state. They’re currently looking for a new partner. Speaking of which, we may have told this possibly apocryphal story before, but the original Smitty going way back had a reputation for being a super nice, incredibly generous guy until one day when the Secret Service busted up the counterfeiting operation in the back room.

Other Grand Avenue news in brief: 

  • Meaza Haile from 8amStyle has been accepted into the Grand Lake Market. Look for her debut sometime in October.
  • Uhuru Furniture is having a Back-to-School Sale through September 30. Buy one item and get a 25% discount on a second.
  • Custom Sofa has a new supplier based in San Jose that’s able to deliver a custom-made sofa in two to four weeks.
  • Last month we reported on the restoration of Walden Pond’s neon sign but neglected to give credit to tube-bender Shawna Peterson from Peterson Neon on Beach Street in Oakland.
  • Speaking of neon signs, we’re betting you’ll get a kick out of viewing this 2016 ABC 7 News report about the giant sign atop the Grand Lake Theatre.
  • The nail shop at 3251 Grand has new owners and a new name–Phenomenails Salon.
  • If you haven’t already done so, check out the rear patio at Ikaros as well as their bar offerings.

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.