For almost seven years, Lilia Vizcaino handled janitor duty at a coffee shop near UC Berkeley, cleaning up at closing time. But Vizcaino, who came to the U.S. from Mexico and now lives in Albany, wanted something better for her family.
“I wanted stability, and I needed to do something else for the future,” she said.
Today Vizcaino no longer mops floors at a coffee shop. She owns her own, El Tiny Cafe in Berkeley. It’s a cute neighborhood joint that offers Americanos and iced horchata lattes, made with coffee beans sourced from women-owned farms in Mexico. The kitchen serves sandwiches, overnight oats and avocado toast with eggs and salsa macha — and boasts five stars on Yelp.
The 1½-year-old club/surf shop founded by couple Rel Lavizzo-Mourey and Julie Cox, markets itself as a kind of base camp for out-of-town day visitors looking for a place to shower and clean up post-beach, and then linger to enjoy the funky, low-key atmosphere of the club’s enclosed patio.
Located in a strip mall just a five-minute walk from Linda Mar Beach, Traveler’s California coastal boho decor is a little Big Sur in the ’70s with a dash of cool Mexican folk art. Among the items for sale in the shop are Oaxacan painted skulls, handcrafted dream catchers, locally produced surf and beach items, and men’s and women’s apparel from Uroko, Of Earth and Salt as well as Lavizzo-Mourey’s clothing label Silver Lining Bespoke.
SURF, SAND — AND SUN?
[The chefs] devoured cookbooks from the 1950s and 1960s, acknowledging that most of the dishes don’t immediately excite but finding inspiration in how home cooks were beginning to embrace the idea of global cuisine.
The mid-century dinner party might seem like an odd source of inspiration for a restaurant, what with the era’s famously gravity-defying Jell-O salads and oh-so-American tuna casseroles.
Owners Seth and Jenni Bregman bought Michelin-approved Michel Bistro last year with the intention of eventually transforming the neighborhood French restaurant into Bardo Lounge & Supper Club, a 1960s living room-esque lounge.
The [bar] menu emphasizes spirit-forward cocktails using house-made tinctures and syrups as well as foraged garnishes, all served from eclectic — often gold-embellished — vintage glassware.
Reina knew that she had great party-organizing skills but had never taken the leap to turn her hobby into a career.
“A friend from the neighborhood where I grew up (in Bayview) told me about a Women’s Entrepreneurship program starting up at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and that with my talent it would be a great idea for me to come check it out,” Reina explains.
She enrolled in the classes in hopes of making her dream a reality. Now, two years later, Reina is founder and CEO of PartyHapps.
Julie Cox, a professional surfer and former director of the California Surf Museum, launched Traveler in 2017 out of necessity. Even though surfers from around the world have long flocked to the breaks at Linda Mar state beach in Pacifica, the amenities are seriously lacking. Aside from the world’s most scenic Taco Bell and a couple of shops, there was no where for surfers to hang, get dry, get warm and chat.
“It was partly out of a need to get warm after surfing in the cold waters of the Pacific ocean,” Cox said. “Buying a home steps from the beach was not in the cards, so we started to brainstorm on how to create a ‘shareable beach shack’ experience that could work for other city surfers. The idea for a place to clean up, grab a hot shower and get on to the next activity while connecting with others was the seed for Traveler Surf Club.”
Janice Dulce’s wife, Brandi, had to convince her they needed to set a grand opening date for FOB Kitchen, the duo’s new restaurant in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood.
After talking it over, last week they decided to have a grand opening event on Nov. 16 [and officially opened the week of Nov. 25].
FOB Kitchen has been a popular Bay Area pop-up for years, its longest residency being at Gashead Tavern in the Mission. The menu at the FOB Kitchen brick-and-mortar includes the pork lumpia and pork adobo from the pop-up, but now the dishes are served in a larger format, more meant for family-style sharing.
Cali Gold, a 2017 Chronicle Bar Star, created the restaurant’s cocktail menu, which includes a “Juhu Beach Club” option made with Indian rum, chai, lemon, ginger and cardamom.
Openings, closings and more news from the restaurant world
The booming businesses are indicative of the rise – and proliferation – of black-owned bakeries in the East Bay. Collectively, they represent a quiet truth about a few-mile swatch east of San Francisco: It is a hotbed for talented black bakers.
In recent years [a] new generation of black-owned bakeries has sprouted up: PieTisserie, Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts, and Crumble and Whisk, among others, all of which are scattered across the East Bay in various forms.
African American-owned businesses proliferate, offer entree to food world.
Royal Tee’s Custom Designs and Events
Theresa Wallace discovered her passion for making beautiful things after she was diagnosed with Lupus and had to learn how to live with the pain and suffering of that illness and related ailments. When she met Ericka Scott, Program Coordinator of the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center’s Bayview Women program, Theresa learned that her passion could actually become a business: Royal Tee’s Custom Designs and Events.
Designed to serve women where they are, Bayview Women is connecting local residents who can benefit from the opportunity to learn how to start or grow a small business to one another, as well as to the resources they need to generate more income for themselves and their families. Ericka Scott, who Center Director Marcus Tartt has dubbed “The Connector,” is the inspiration behind the program. “This is about more than business planning,” he says. “It’s a peer support group as well, and Ericka really connects with folks.”