It isn’t very often that Lakeshore sees so many new businesses open in such a short period of time, but over the next few months four new businesses and other changes to the Avenue should significantly raise our profile and enhance your neighborhood shopping experience. First off, Petco Unleashed, the boutique version of the big box pet supply store, is holding its grand opening, finally on Saturday, February 22nd with special guests like Mayor Jean Quan and others. Of course, they already had their soft opening on the 3rd to every pet owner’s delight. It’s been a long remodel-that site was closed for too long, but now it is a colorful bright spot full of goodies for our animal pals.
You may have noticed that the City resurfaced the roadway where our little district resides. In spite of the fact that this was major work, they got in done in about three days, including striping and will be back to work on some of our bumpy sidewalks. Yay, City of Oakland Public Works Department!
In addition to the City’s improvements, our Business Improvement District will be expecting a delivery of three solar powered trash compactors, called BigBelly Solar, that will be able to hold the excess trash often found pouring out of the city trash receptacles in front of Arizmendi, Peets, and Starbucks/Noahs on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. Waste Management empties them daily but does not operate on Sundays so by Saturday afternoons, they are often overflowing.
Next up is our new hair salon opening on March 1st. Despite our best hopes, the two organic sleep stores that had plied their wares in that spot did not succeed and Karen Hayes, owner/operator of Bounce Blow Bar Salon is feverishly finishing her remodel to that bare bones space. She immediately contacted the BID and asked how she could get involved-we’re thrilled to have her.
You’ve probably been wondering what’s going on at the former Mezze, though you may have heard some talk, yes it is going to be a completely remodeled space with a grand bar for its “affordable, seasonal cocktail menu”, lots more tables and some communal seating areas “an open and airy sixty-seat dining room with a long, comfortable sixteen-seat bar where you can sit before you are seated at a table or dine with one of our fantastic bartenders.” The menu will be “filled with our favorites from Mediterranean countries like Spain, Turkey, and North Africa, with our own special twists…” The restaurant remodel was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and while the chefs, Jennifer Biestly and Tim Nugent, are well known to the San Francisco foodie scene, they are excited to be setting up in Oakland as are we. They hope to be serving us their “simple food with a Mediterranean twist and serving mouthwatering cocktails” starting sometime in April. We will post photos of the remodel, as it progresses, on our Facebook page.
So now that your mouth is watering for Mediterranean cuisine, are you ready for a French-style bistro on Lakeshore? The owner-operators of Amelie in San Francisco (there is one in Manhattan also) have taken over the spot that Yayu Ethiopian recently vacated. That space was once known as the Vine Wine Bar which dissolved amid charges that it ran an illegal cabaret-type club and disturbed the neighbors all the way up Trestle Glen Road many nights a week.
When we heard of the application for a transfer of liquor licenses, neighbors and merchants were alarmed until we met with the new owners who assured us that this restaurant would be neighborhood friendly with well-priced and carefully selected wine flights, cocktails, and homey French food for the whole family. They, too, are remodeling the in and outsides completely but hope to open in March. Lakeshore has seen a slowdown of evening business but that may change with warm, comfy but top notch dining and drinking options soon to be added to our retail mix.
Grand Avenue, which has become a well-known shopping and dining destination in its own right, has been staging a First Thursday art walk for some time now; and we are considering joining forces with Grand come springtime. Even though most people think of the Grand Lake neighborhood as one, we have always had separate leadership and governance structures, but we believe that if we work together, we will have a shopping/dining district to rival any in the East Bay.
Samar Nasser, owner of Lakeshore’s fabulous dance exercise studio Hipline, and I went out to last week’s February event on Grand. Despite the chilly and wet weather, we found people visiting the galleries, some of the shops (not all were open late), and dining in the restaurants. Here is a short clip of Samar and other visitors enjoying the musical entertainment put on by Urban Furniture. I’m also posting the wonderful flash mob of Michael Jackson’s Thriller that Hipline organized last Halloween in case you missed it. Keep a look out for all the great changes coming up on Lakeshore and let us know what you think!