Grand Avenue Updates: July 2024

We’re really excited about the Grand Avenue Business Association’s Small Biz Art Walk on Thursday, July 11, which is shaping up to be the best ever. Here are a few of the highlights

(Note: Last-minute additions to the list of artists that didn’t make it on the poster:  Tyranny Allen at M2 • Freya Prowe at Brothers & Sisters Flowers)

Roosevelt Washington @ Alyce on Grand

Alyce on Grand is showcasing drawings by Roosevelt Washington — the amazing artist profiled by Susi Vogler and Madhavi Athanikar in an article in this month’s news.

Tyranny Allen @ Mimosa 2

M2Collage for Art Walk

Chris Rachal’s M2 is a fine-dining cocktail restaurant with a Thursday Night Brunch that can’t be beaten. Their special guest on July 11 will be Tyranny Allen, a marketing entrepreneur, artist, and owner of his own gallery, and formerly a member of the hip-hop group Digital Underground.

Christina Knapp @ Panorama Framing

Panorama Framing is hosting an Artist’s Reception for Cross the Line, featuring abstract landscape paintings, assemblage, and sculpture by Oakland artist Christina Knapp + light refreshments.

Adesha Adefela @ Alkali Rye

Alkali Rye’s current show absolutely blew me away. The multi-talented Adesha Adefela, billing herself as “Midcentury Sistah” does extraordinary pop-ups. In the alcove that used to house their bar, she has re-created a 1950’s living room including a fireplace as well as a kitchen pantry and everything is priced for sale. 

Christine Lonsdale @ Alkali Rye

On July 16 and 17, Alkali Rye will host another extraordinary event in their second-floor gallery. Christina Lonsdale, a visual artist and author of “Radiant Human” will be there accompanied by a very large dome that takes photos and allows her to read auras. This is a traveling exhibit with stops that have included a prolonged stay at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC. Alkali Rye will post more details including signup instructions on their Instagram account.

Bay-Made @ Bayleaf

Bayleaf and Bay-Made

Last month, we reported that the Ikaros space had been leased by Kamal and Pashupah Kandel who predicted that their new restaurant, Bayleaf, would be open in a couple of weeks. That, we noted, would be a “minor miracle.” As it turns out, miracles do occur as they’ve already finished their soft opening and are looking forward to meeting our Splashpad News subscribers during the art walk mentioned above, if not before. On July 11, Bayleaf will serve samples while Sarahjane Bernhisel, owner of Bay-Made, will offer for sale a tiny sampling of the locally produced arts and crafts you’ll find in her Lakeshore Avenue shop. 

Splashpad News Restaurant Scoop

Last month, the Splashpad News was the first to report that the vacant Sister space had been leased by the owners of The Morris in San Francisco. A Fox2 article by Sharon Song on June 17 confirmed that fact and also added significant details. Namely, that the new restaurant which is scheduled to open this winter, is co-owned by Gavin Schmidt, the head chef at The Morris “who lives right around the corner.” The menu will focus mainly on seafood and vegetables but will also include fried chicken and “most of the items will be touched by the wood fire oven in some way.”

French Pre-School coming soon

Last month, we also shared concerns over the number of businesses on Grand above Mandana that had recently closed. We’re embarrassed to admit that we neglected to mention the one location that has been vacant for years. Namely, 3909 Grand, which was originally a spacious family home that long ago had been converted to a commercial space housing a series of restaurants and bars including a soul-food restaurant and Gary Rizzo’s Destino. Subsequently, it became the location of choice for political campaign headquarters for Libby Schaff, Hillary Clinton, and Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign. In between elections, it has laid vacant and continued to deteriorate.

A couple of weeks ago, we were pleased to find a Conditional Use Permit application posted on the front wall. The new owner, Coralie LeClerc Sobhani, currently owns and operates two Au Beau Sejour French Preschools serving children from 4 months to 6 years of age — one on 30th St. and the other on Mountain Blvd. Their curriculum is described as follows:

Au Beau Séjour Preschool provides a challenging education inspired by the Education National curriculum in France. Our children’s well-being, happiness, academic, creativity, Social Emotional Learning and language development are at the foundation of our learning model.

Judging by the permit application, this third location will have a slightly different format since the age range is 3 months to 3 years. At this point, we don’t have additional information other than that the Project Architect, Benjamin Anderson, tells us that it’s taken well over a year to process their permit application.

Trivia Nights at Zachary’s

Right next door, Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, has what looks like a great selection of locally-brewed beers on tap — priced at only $7 during their Happy Hours. They also have a rotating list of pizza specials that help benefit deserving causes. The Grand Avenue location hosts a Trivia Night on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month from 6:30-8 pm. First place wins a $50 Zachary’s Gift Certificate and 2nd place wins a $30 Zachary’s Gift Certificate.

How would you fill the last few vacancies?

By the way, Ann Landers (Wikipedia link provided for those not yet senior citizens) would have condemned me to three lashes with a wet noodle since I also forgot to mention two other vacancies last month. One being Connie’s Cantina that still has the Peter Lee Murals and a spacious patio in the back but only a tiny kitchen. What’s missing in the neighborhood that would be the perfect fit?  Please post your suggestions at the bottom of the page and we’ll forward them to the property owners.

The other recent vacancy was the Martinizing Dry Cleaners which closed in April. We learned of this from one of our subscribers who was trying in vain to retrieve clothing which he hadn’t picked up by their deadline. Our call to the property owners went unanswered but if you’re in the same boat, please comment below and we’ll try harder to find a solution.

Hunan Village spiffs up

Hats off to Hunan Village for sprucing up the restaurant’s facade.

New Ramen shop coming soon

We’re also pleased to report that the Dozo Ramen restaurant space is about to reopen as “Tada Ramen & Yaktori.”

Project Glow – More space up the block

Project Glow has relocated to 1235 Grand (next door to Grand Lake Hardware) where she now has at least twice as much space and what looks like a far more luxurious decor.

Exhibit in SF and Classes @ TwoTwo on Grand


By the way, one mainstay of the Art Walk, TwoTwo will be shuttered that evening. As much as we will miss their participation, we are thrilled to report that CC Doan, the owner has an installation that she’s hosting at the prestigious Asian Art Museum in San Francisco — an amazing accomplishment for a shop that opened its doors just two years ago. Back on Grand Avenue, they have two workshops scheduled: Scent Sessions II on July 6 & 7 and Incense Making with Hyundai on July 20. Advance registrations are required. 

News in Brief

  • MegaDeluxe has just reinstated their summer hours. They are now open Friday through Sunday from Noon to 4 pm.
  • As is usually the case, MeloMelo Kava Bar as a very full calendar in July including Avien Void Live-Painting on the 19th.
  • The Grand Lake Theatre’s calendar indicates that all the films showing now will extend at least until July 4. Deadpool & Wolverine will arrive on  July 25 and, for one day only on July 27, they’ll be screening Free LSD.
  • Arriving at the Grand Lake on July 28 for one day only,  At Her Feet. After the showing, Filmmaker Nadya Wynn, along with cast and crew members, will be available for a Q & A session.

By Ken Katz

Ken Katz

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 Splashpad Newsletters were emailed beginning circa 2006. He currently contributes to the monthly Splashpad News.



One response to “Grand Avenue Updates: July 2024”

  1. Ken, your reports on the Grand Ave merchants are always so informative! This area has so much to offer that we wouldn’t know about if you didn’t share your passion for connecting with the businesses and creating the Splashpad News where we can read your findings. Your contributions to the community over the decades have been invaluable! You were/are most instrumental in making our community so vibrant!

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