August 2014


Sadly, the Kwik Way restaurant at 500 Lake Park closed Thursday without any advance warning. I’m not sure of  the circumstances but I’m very sorry for owner Gary Rizzo who put his heart, soul and pocket book into an establishment that played a critical role in revitalizing Lake Park Avenue.

According to property owner, Alex Hahn, they’re looking for a tenant that can take over the restaurant for a year or two.  Long term, their intention is to build a mixed-use development with rental apartments and ground-floor retail.  Do you know of anyone in the food industry who might be interested in this as a relatively short-term opportunity?

On the retail front,  SoleSpace (a combination shoe store/arts venue on Telegraph) is looking to expand to a new location.  They were recently selected by East Bay Express readers as the Best Shoe Store in the East Bay.  In addition, the Editors at the Express chose them as the Best Retail/Arts Combo.  If you’d like to see a SoleSpace in the Grand Lake District, you can cast your vote at Spotmojo using this link.

Also, on the retail front,  Jessica Sun Lee wants to open an art/gift/clothing shop called “Lovesville”.  The areas that she is considering include Lakeshore and Grand Avenue.  If you like the concept for the Grand Lake area, you can cast your vote on this Spotmojo link.


Ordinaire’s event calendar for August is jam-packed concluding with a First Anniversary (My, how time flies) celebration on Friday, the 29th.  Look for details on Ordinaire’s Facebook page,

Studio Grand has half a dozen concerts scheduled for August plus a Lark poetry reading in addition to a closing reception at 6:00 pm on Friday, August 22 for “Rhythm & Spirit – Paintings by Susan Matthews”.  They will also be announcing new painting, dance and fitness classes beginning in September.   For all the details, check out their monthly event calendar.

As reported last month, Urban Furniture is hosting a series of community workshops bringing together community based organizations, businesses and entrepreneurs. The first workshop, in collaboration with the Non-Violent Cities Project, is scheduled for August 16 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.  You can register on the “I Can Change” website. By the way, although they won’t have a featured artist for the First Thursdays art walk on August 7th, they will stay open late and will be offering a 15% discount.

Seven Stills at Alchemy
Seven Stills at Alchemy

As also reported last month, Alchemy Bottle Shop now has a permit that allows them to offer distilled spirits tastings.  I attended the July 5th tasting and came home with a bottle of Barr Hill vodka distilled from honey – six pounds for each liter.  On July 19th, I took the photo to the right of  Clint Potter and Tim Obert, the owner of San Francisco-based Seven Stills as they dispensed samples of their corn-based vodka and Whipnose Whiskey.

The most recent tasting (Tequila Ocho) was today.  To ensure more timely announcements of upcoming events,  sign up for the Alchemy mailing list on their website.

NewfanglesLetterheadAlyce Preston, owner of Newfangles  has been putting a lot of effort into her shop’s newsletter and it definitely shows.  The third edition’s main topic is fashion trends but Alyce also writes about the Ladies Networking/Mixer Event she hosted last month.  If you’re interested in subscribing to the newsletter, stop by and introduce yourself or send an email to:  If you’re a business-woman and want to attend the next networking session on August 22nd, do the same.  By the way, if you’re attending the Art & Soul Festival this weekend, look for Newfangles in Booth #272.

SpartanTrailer JJBurgerIndoor construction at Grand Fare (3265 Grand) is underway and tentatively scheduled for completion in January of next year.  In the interim, beginning in about two weeks, a 1946 Spartan Trailer (the “Cadillac of trailers”) will be stationed in their parking lot serving BLT sandwiches, ice cream and coffee.

A new burger venue should be opening by mid to late September at 3415 Grand which previously housed the Kung Pao Kitchen.  Joe Huang, the owner, is a graduate of  Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy and worked at the Hyatt in Burlingame for the past four years.  This will be his first restaurant but he seems to know his Grand Lake clientele.  Everything they serve will be natural including the chicken and Angus Beef which will be hormone and antibiotic free.

The long-time “Mayor of Grand Avenue” is about to return to the fold.  After a two-year stint on Webster Street in Alameda, Arvi Dorsey should be re-opening (sometime in September) the antiques’ shop he used to operate at 3654 Grand.  It will be called “Red Wagon Collectibles” and will feature select art, furniture and furnishings.

In another sign that retail is alive and well in the Grand Lake District, Baraka Gallery and gift shop is about to open at 432 Santa Clara.   Shiffen, the gallery owner, specializes in textiles, ethnographic artifacts, jewelry, and paintings with a particular interest in artifacts and jewelry made by the Dessert nomads of the Sahara.  Local artists will be featured each month and they will be participating in the First Thursdays Art Walk.  For the time being, hours will be limited to the weekends and by special appointment.  You can contact Shiffen at

Boot and Shoe Service has been doing a special event dinner on the second Wednesday of each month featuring cuisine from different regions in Italy.  On August 13th, that will be Campania and on September 10th, Sicily.

One Helluva Challah
One Helluva Challah

Nick at Slick and Dapper has opened a second barber emporium at 4121 Broadway and their glowing reviews are comparable to those at the original location on Grand.

“Check Please Bay Area” just re-broadcast an episode originally aired three years ago that includes reviews of Grand Oaks Restaurant.  If you want to watch just that 7-minute segment, start at 2 minutes and 20 seconds into the tape.

Friday afternoon, I captured this photo of Bob Jaffe posing for me holding one helluva challah.  Bob’s sporting a big smile in celebration of what would have the late Jerry Garcia’s 72nd birthday.  He’s also sporting a really colorful Haight Ashbury shirt that’s obscured  by the challah.


As we go to press, we have not yet received a blog from BID Director Pamela Drake.  Please check back for updates.


With this month’s blog, LZ, our anonymous (by choice) reporter demonstrates why it’s not called the “Adams Point Blog” – as she ventures into the Uptown District to write about Harper Greer Fashions at 43 Grand Avenue (between Webster & Broadway).  Here’s the link.


This month’s edition of  the First Thursdays art walk falls on August 7th.  Hours are 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Alchemy Bottle Shop is exhibiting artwork by Rosa Page in a show entitled “The Mind and Other Places”.

Studio Grand’s exhibit of gorgeous paintings by Susan Matthews entitled Rhythm and Spirit is ongoing and closes August 22nd with an artist’s reception from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Panorama Framing  continues its exhibit of  artwork by Peter Odum and Monkeynaut (his alter-ego) entitled “From Sea Level to the Stratosphere“.   Refreshments will be served.

Jau Jou Studio will be showcasing watercolors by Robin Chandler, a Haddon Hill area resident.      A 15% discount on store merchandise is offered from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Newfangles will be exhibiting photos by Scott La Rockwell.  Owner Alyce Preston will be serving refreshments and offering a 20% discount on all regularly priced merchandise.

Additional information is available on the First Thursdays on Grand website.


NativeGoneWildThe two Dogwood beds that Splash Pad’s Grand Crew has been focusing on are looking better and better all the time.  We have a few more plants to install at our next work day on Sunday, August 24 and always, it seems, have to do more weeding.  What’s especially exciting is that we may be ready by the end of the month to install decomposed granite walkways that will provide easier access to the seating wall that borders the plaza.

If you’d like to join the Grand Crew and aren’t already on the email list, please send an email to  The work days are always on the fourth Sunday of the month beginning at 9:00 a.m. with lunch served at Noon.

The photo on the right is entitled  “Return of the Natives”.  It’s an achillea that I found growing next to one of the maple trees more than 100 feet from the mother plant in Splash Pad’s California Native Garden.


Several weeks ago, some highly devoted farmers market customers were fretting over the absence of Brad Gates and his Wild Boar Farms tomatoes.  For any newbies out there, it was Brad who introduced us to heirloom tomatoes and he has since hybridized some high demand varieties including the pink Berkeley Tie-Dye.  Much to their relief, Brad subsequently showed up  at the Grand Lake Market reminding us that, since moving his farm up to Sonoma, the tomatoes ripen somewhat later.  Good news is that, weather permitting, he’ll be bringing tomatoes well into October.

Two Grand Lake Farmers Market regulars were the subject of this article by Luke Tsai in the East Bay Express.  Bacano Bakery and Liba Falafel are both about to open brick and mortar locations.  Bacano in Emeryville and Liba Falafel on 17th Street in downtown Oakland. According to the crew working the Liba Falafel truck, their downtown location is already open on a limited basis operating Monday through Friday, 11:00-2:00 p.m.  Once they are settled in, they’ll be open in the evening and on Saturdays as well.

Lou Grantham, who owns San Francisco Fiber at 3711 Grand, alerted me to the cover story in the latest Edible East Bay Magazine.  It’s about the growing movement towards the use of all natural dyes as well as natural fibers that are “grown and harvested” locally.  As a nice plus, Lou’s shop is mentioned as a resource in connection to the First Thursdays on Grand art walk in which they participate.  You can read the article HERE or pick up a free copy of the magazine at the Farmers Market’s Information Booth.


The City of Oakland will be repaving Grand Avenue sometime this fall from the Embarcadero up to Safeway and possibly, beyond.  Bike East Bay and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) were jointly lobbying the city to use pavement re-striping as an opportunity to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists as outlined in this proposal outlined in the WOBO newsletter.

As it turns out, the City had already signed contracts for the repaving  and it’s too late to do the required public outreach and then make alterations in the existing plans.  According to Tim Drew from WOBO,  “there’s still a good chance to get serious bike/ped improvements on Grand Ave in a couple of years”.

They will be doing outreach at Love Our Lake Day on September 14th.  If you’d like to get actively involved in much-needed efforts to make Grand Avenue more bike and pedestrian-friendly, email and tell him that Ken sent you.

The Inaugural Town’s Half Marathon takes place on Saturday, August 16th beginning at 7:00 a.m. at Oakland’s City Hall.  The course runs from Pleasant Valley Road down Grand Avenue and past the Farmers Market.  If you’re up and about early, come down to cheer the runners on.  Also, please be aware that there will be road closings including all the Grand Avenue freeway on and off ramps from about 7:30 to 10:00 a.m.  FYI:  Here’s the course map.

The online version of the National Geographic had an interesting article early in July about Oakland, in general, but more specifically about how the restaurant scene has experienced phenomenal growth over the past several years.  Camino is mentioned in passing and Charlie Hallowell at length.  While I approve of the overall substance,  I have to note my displeasure at the description of a barbershop in Temescal Alley that provides “slick and dapper” haircuts.  That designation rightly belongs exclusively to the one and only (now two and only) barbershops operated by Nick.

One of the other restauranteurs profiled by the above article was Pretti Mistry – owner of the Juhu Beach Club.  Mistry wrote her “Love Letter to Oakland” which was published on the Huffington Post.  Here’s that link.

Until this past month, I wasn’t aware that C.J. Hirschfield (who is a newsletter subscriber and, more importantly the Fairyland Director) writes a regular blog that’s published by Oakland Local. In the past several weeks, C.J. has written about Hillary Clinton’s visit to Oakland; about “hidden cash” near Fairyland; and about “Goats in Trees”.  A link to her blog is HERE!


The Pictorial Review is a new feature – a place where I can share photos I’ve taken over the previous month that either don’t fit into the overall framework of the newsletter or that complement the Lakeshore and Grand Avenue West of 580 blogs. Pedersen Bike CompositeThe above is a montage of 7 photos that I took just before a memorial ride around Lake Merritt in honor of the late Ron Bishop who was a life-long bicycle advocate.  The bike pictured is a 20 year-old Pedersen made in Denmark and owned by Svante Rödegård.

Please click once to open and read the description and leave a comment.  Click a second time to enlarge image.














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5 responses to “August 2014”

  1. […] August 2014 Newsletter […]

  2. Kevin Kennedy Avatar
    Kevin Kennedy

    Whats with the garbage bins lined up along mid block of Lakeshore everyday? As one walks by these receptacles the smell of rotting garbage is repulsive. Is everyone ok with this? There must be a better solution……..

  3. Ms. Spagel,

    I’m happy to hear that you’re able to stay in Oakland to find alternatives to the Lakeshore Trader Joe’s and Walgreens, but I would like to see you and others who have been turned off and turned away from the Grand-Lake neighborhood because of poor conditions at off-street parking garages and lots.

    I’m the City of Oakland’s Off-Street Parking Program manager, responsible for overseeing all of the City’s parking facility operators. I’ve been with the City for eighteen months on a part-time basis and hope to stay on permanently as the City Council created a new position on July 1. My family and I live just off of Lakeshore Ave and have lived in the neighborhood for the past ten years, so I am extremely sensitive to the issues and concerns you’re raising.

    Beginning on April 1 of this year, the operator of the City-owned Lakeshore garage, Sansome Pacific Properties, renewed its efforts to enforce time limits in the garage and surface lot in front of Trader Joe’s and Walgreens. As a result, there is now ample room for customers to find parking when shopping at these and other stores and restuarants in the area. This is the first of a number of initiatives to improve conditions at the facility.

    We are planning to hold a public meeting in September — date and time yet to be announced — to review progress to date and introduce to initiatives including improving safety and security and making the facility cleaner and more welcoming. Such improvements are not easily done as there is no revenue directly generated by this parking facility. I will be sure to post the details of this meeting as soon as they are finalized in the next week or so.

    The other City-owned lots in the neighborhood — under 580 and behind the Grand-Lake Theatre — are now under contract with a new operator-manager, City of Oakland Parking Partners (COPP), that will bring a new level of support services to these facilities and oversee ongoing improvements. COPP can be reached at (510) 847-7170 and will be providing additional information at their new website,

    In the mean time, I welcome your input and would be happy to receive an email or phone call if I can be of further help!

    work phone: (510) 238-7670
    mobile phone: (510) 410-2680

  4. Bette Spagel Avatar
    Bette Spagel

    The creepy parking lot that serves Lakeshore merchants and, I understand, is under the jurisdiction of either Lakeshore Merchants assn or the City of Oakland was the site of a recent purse snatching while a woman was returning to her car in the nether regions of this dank hole. , It seems about time that someone stepped up to the plate and provided much better lighting than has ever existed in this lot since we moved here 45 years ago. The elevator that leads to upstairs parking is a graffiti defaced, bad smelling insult to the senses, and finally I have stopped shopping at the Walgreens and TJs there , preferring to go to College Avenue for Trader Joes and Eighteenth st. if I need something @ Walgreens. Perhaps, if customers start voting with their feet and dollars, someone will ;take responsibility for bringing that venue into the 21st century.