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Comment Archives: stories: Food & Drink

Re: “LocoL is Fast Food with Heart and Soul

Why all the hate? I tell you what, when someone, maybe you Sam, can open a healthy, cheap, profit sharing, community, sustainable, local, unionized, happy happy fast food joint, I will be the first to go. But until then, I'm heading to Local. It's a fantastic vision & we should all support it. And if Patterson & Choi make a few bucks along the way, don't they kind of deserve it? I mean, I hope they do well so they will keep the vision going & who knows? Maybe they will convert to employee owned in the future.

It won't happen if we throw a bunch of hate on them & they fail. So, I say, go!

Posted by andrewdeangelo on 07/06/2016 at 6:58 PM

Re: “LocoL is Fast Food with Heart and Soul

I am very excited to try LocoL but my only question is why is the price for everything in the Oakland storefront one dollar more than everything at the Watts location? I feel as though they are trying to exploit the tech profits of the bay area. A dollar may not be a huge difference to the new influx of gentrification but to the original inhabitants of Oakland a dollar can make a big decision on where they spend their money. Especially if you're trying to feed a low-income family which I feel is their mission.


Posted by Dale Gribbel on 07/06/2016 at 6:06 PM

Re: “LocoL is Fast Food with Heart and Soul

Michael's comment proves it - Tea Party Republican folks love LOCOL! haha

Posted by Sam Lowry on 07/06/2016 at 3:44 PM

Re: “LocoL is Fast Food with Heart and Soul

Sam-profit is good. The only obligation of a business is to obey the law-health codes, minimum wage requirements, and pay taxes to the minimum levels needed and make a return for their investors. Their menu, their locations, and their slogans is their own business, not the damn government's or these elusive "communities" people proclaim. I'm a teacher- don't eat out much, but like simple and low priced food.

Posted by michael.sagehorn on 07/06/2016 at 2:24 PM

Re: “Oliveto's New Rosticceria Serves Your Meat and Two

had dinner there last night, olivetos, with my family! Bravissimo! Incredible meats, pastas, etc. For a special occasion or just for the hell of it, this is the place to go. Very nice and quiet upstairs with terrific service. That young chef, jonah, cooks beyond his years.
the brooklyn foodie

Posted by harold banks on 07/06/2016 at 1:40 PM

Re: “LocoL is Fast Food with Heart and Soul

I'm really confused about what their "revolution" means...

Is it a stretch to think they are using vague positive, social slogans to simply push their brand? How well would a new low production cost fast-food franchise do these days, especially in CA without dropping vague slogans like "building community", "empowering", and so forth? What do they actually mean? My guesses:

It seems like they kinda use Republican "job creator" rhetoric as one of their benefits. What's going on here is that you are paying people to make profit for you. If this was purely about "community", you'd use a cooperative ownership model. But, nah, it is about profit...even if they pay their workers slightly more than minimum wage.

Next, you dropped one of your initial locations in arguably the most white, gentrified area in Oakland (a block from the new Uber HQ). There are loads of restaurants affordable to techies and hospital execs who live and work around here. If part of Locol's mission is about solving the food desert issue, why build one of your few locations in one of the richest parts of the Bay Area?

The whole line about "teaching job skills" is also bogus. Every company from Walmart to TGI Fridays acts like employees who are underpaid and don't benefit from profit sharing are actually "developing job skills" or whatever. Bogus corporate sloganeering that actually means "you are benefiting from exploitation."

Not selling sodas, and the political discussion on "soda taxes" is paternalistic and frequently has racist undertones. Another item that I wouldn't say is suspect at best and far from "revolutionary."

Without any clear benefit to any of the Bay Area's most deserving communities, their "revolution" seems like nothing more than to make the owners rich. Revolutionizing their pocket books.

Posted by Sam Lowry on 07/06/2016 at 11:41 AM

Re: “Mama's Royal Cafe Is for Sale

Hey Mitchell, my understanding is that the Full House chef has since moved onto Miliki (whose own future is a big question mark). But yes, Marino said he wants to find a new owner who will keep the staff — though of course it may be impossible to guarantee it.

Posted by Luke Tsai on 07/06/2016 at 9:40 AM

Re: “Mama's Royal Cafe Is for Sale

Has he held onto the former chef from the Full House Café? Any talk of whether the staff (as well as the recipes) might be part of the package when he sells?

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 07/06/2016 at 8:57 AM

Re: “LocoL is Fast Food with Heart and Soul

Hey Luke,

Great review on LocoL. It's very cool to see new retail food business find success in areas like Oakland. Here's a few tips on opening a retail food business:

Thanks for sharing,

Posted by Dennis Jordan on 07/06/2016 at 8:31 AM

Re: “Assemble Offers a Timid Salute to American History

The food was as described bland for the price. Burger & Fries with Club Soda ( no refill) was $18 + some change before tip. I ate at the bar. I did not think the food was worth the money. But then I am 67 and do not know who the target market is.

Posted by Ed Jr Shelden on 07/01/2016 at 3:55 PM

Re: “Liba Falafel Takes Its Food Truck Off the Road

As a falafel fiend (and alternative press newshound) living in the "financially innovative" CARTOPIA of Portland, Ore aka Po'Town, I appreciate the coverage of brave Gail Lillian's attempt to make a go of both her LIBA Falafel food cart and her brick & mortar restaurant. However, reporter Luke Tsai is way off-base to jump on the national Chamber of Commerce line that LABOR SHORTAGES are causing U.S. businesses to suffer. THERE IS NO LABOR SHORTAGE for any type of job in our diverse U.S.

Up here in Po'town one of our otherwise admirable alternative weeklies, namely the PORTLAND MERCURY (sister indie of Seattle's alt weekly THE STRANGER) also ran a food feature this week by Andrea Damewood trying to explain the latest "financial innovation" of 'Pop-ups' in the restaurant biz by blaming this phantom LABOR SHORTAGE. Damewood explains:

"The result is a ballooning number of pop-ups, carts, and other low-cost entries into the food scene, like Cho's hybrid restaurant Han Oak, or Mae, chef Maya Lovelace's twice-weekly Southern feast run out of the back of Northeast Portland's Old Salt Marketplace."

A Commenter using the moniker GB1 weighed in before me briefly noting:
"The only labor shortage described in the article is line cooks. There are many people looking for work in this city, the easy solution is to train your own line cooks, which restaurants used to do."

My own reply to GB1's concise analysis and response to the national canard of any actual U.S. LABOR SHORTAGE is as follows:

GB1's Comment above about there being NO LABOR SHORTAGE, however, NO LINE COOK training anymore seems about right. Yet, it begs the question: With all the culinary academies turning out graduates, and not much access to start-up capital available, how low is the pay being offered to line cooks?

Not only can nobody live on $9.25 per hour minimum wage in Po'town, but with the remedy we've chosen of phasing in the climb to $15.00 per hour being years away, no current or new venture seems likely to survive to see what a $15.00 minimum wage will mean in 2022, or whenever the few states phasing in token minimum wage increases take effect.

Unlike Seattle, where with the sensible exception of businesses with fewer than 50 employees their $15.00 minimum wage enacted 4 years ago has created more money circulation on the city's streets (unlike the FEDERAL RESERVE's QUANTITATIVE EASING or QE I and II that only fed the banks and other lenders who did not improve cash circulation on Main Street, only on Wall Street). Even the PUGET BUSINESS JOURNAL which cried Cassandra in greeting Seattle-Tacoma Socialist Alternative council member Kshama Sawant when she and her fellow labor activists launched the $15.00 NOW! minimum wage movement, the same PUGET BUSINESS JOURNAL went back after 2 years to study the results and headlined their own admission of error in screaming there'd be a mass exodus of locally-owned businesses from Seattle by declaring "APOCALYPSE NOT."

Moreover, this week's EAST BAY EXPRESS down in Oakland-Berkeley-Richmond-Albany-El Cerrito-Emeryville etc ran the same scare tactic of floating the ridiculous claim of a LABOR SHORTAGE in explaining why food carts are not the low-overhead remedy to the boom\bust cycle of commercial real estate markets. THE EB EXPRESS' reporter Luke Tsai used long-time Oakland food cart and restaurant entrepreneur Gail Lillian as his illustration of why a LABOR SHORTAGE was forcing her to close her popular LIBA FALAFEL food cart. See:…

I support alternative weeklies that try to broaden coverage, but both the MERCURY & EB EXPRESS could use a BUSINESS section that broadens the discussion of failed local businesses to the wider trends of the 1/10th of 1% that can access capital to start up businesses without resorting to Kickstarter friends in shifting the risk of a new venture. Even the mainstream business community, so slow to recognize the Reagan-Bush-Norquist-Wanniski SUPPLY SIDE HOAX, TRICKLE DOWN FALLACIES and the laughable LAFFER CURVE (you can buy used LAFFER CURVES on Ebay autographed by Ted Koppel of ABC's NIGHTLINE which lent Arthur Laffer the credibility to sway even DNC legislators) are, with the possible exception of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback coming around to acknowledge the snake-oil about WHO REALLY CREATES JOBS and who should be able to shift costs & risks to the public while keeping all the profits. Why even SUPPLY SIDERS (except for Gov. Brownback and the GOP field of unfettered capital dreams) are facing the contradiction of cutting costs of LABOR so much over 40 years of Stag-flation on worker wages that DEMAND has dried up because there is no money left for working folks to spend.

All those GLOBAL TRADE DEALS never did create a middle class demanding anything but high-tech weaponry (our last surplus trading export) in kleptocracies or slave-labor states like Mexico and China. DEMAND has never been made up to counter our TRADE DEFICITS from where the NIKE's and other off-shore labor-seekers have gone in shredding our hard-earned Social Contract and reasonable tariff and trade barriers that once made U.S. internal markets, diversified manufacturing base and the growing middle class the envy of the world.

(Creative Commons) Mitch Ritter
Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
Nike-Town, Intel-Land LLC
Pheudal Phiephdom of Phil, Ka-ching
In Anti-Trust PERP-E-tuity Throughout the Universe

Posted by Mitch Ritter on 06/29/2016 at 10:43 PM

Re: “Eddie Huang Doesn't Care About the New Shit in Your City

there is alot of responsibility in being a serviceman/women, we defend and protect, while most just sit on their fat ass and reap the rewards!

Posted by JL Brown Jr on 06/26/2016 at 4:14 PM

Re: “Eddie Huang Doesn't Care About the New Shit in Your City

I dont give a damn about him or his ideas, I am a strong supporter of the Bill or rights, all of them. I served 23 yrs in the military, and if I could afford a assault weapon I would have one, but I cant, so I keep a AR15

Posted by JL Brown Jr on 06/26/2016 at 4:13 PM

Re: “The Economics of a $16 Cup of Coffee

About half-a-century ago advertising agencies came up with the same principle: "sell the sizzle not the steak."

Folks in Oakland who like coffee should look at local coffee importer Sweet Maria's website. You can buy green coffee from all over the world there, roast it at home and have a fine cup at a lower cost than buying grocery store coffee.

One of the major problems with commercially-produced coffee is that it is 'way over-roasted so that it has nothing other than the taste of burnt beans. Then you add milk, sugar and other flavorings to make it palatable.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/26/2016 at 10:34 AM

Re: “The Economics of a $16 Cup of Coffee

Obscene first world pricing or not, if coffee was grown commercially in California it would cost as much for 12 ounces as you pay for a good glass of red wine in a 6 ounce cup. Get accustomed to paying more for coffee as the coffee producing world (read: dveloping world) develops and wants what we have had for decades. Namely, a living wage.

Posted by David Evans on 06/23/2016 at 1:32 PM

Re: “The Economics of a $16 Cup of Coffee

Sorry, but I think this is an obscene first world price to pay for a cup of coffee no matter how difficult it is to get it here or how good it tastes. Enough is enough. I had it last year with the "warmed toast" for several dollars story. Leave our coffee excellent but reasonable, say the 99%-ers. Thank you - end of mini-rant.

Posted by Francesca M. Austin on 06/22/2016 at 1:03 PM

Re: “Noodles Fresh: The Intra-National House of Noodles

Go again, Michael. Every restaurant, as you mention, takes a couple months to hit its stride. It's coming up on a year now and the service and most of the food offerings are wonderful. I go all the time and take all my friends. We love it. Don't miss the amazing garlic cucumbers, but don't eat them before a date...unless your date is going to eat them, too!

Posted by Jessie West on 06/16/2016 at 11:15 AM

Re: “Faux Meat Keeps It Real at The Butcher's Son and Taqueria La Venganza

The veganism of hipster bearded gentrification.

Posted by Jono Schneider on 06/13/2016 at 11:54 PM

Re: “Faux Meat Keeps It Real at The Butcher's Son and Taqueria La Venganza

So overrated. I find it so odd that so many people are falling all over themselves to heap praise on this food. Everything at the Butchers Son tastes exactly the same. And does a real NY Deli charge $9+ for a bagel with a couple pathetic toppings?

And while the taqueria does much better, especially with regards to price, the well to do white kids waiting in line kinda takes away the idea that you're magically being transported to Fruitvale...

Posted by Kelly H williams on 06/12/2016 at 6:19 PM

Re: “Algerian Food Comes to Berkeley

Glad there is algerian food around , it has been 4 months for me here , struggling to cook algerian recepes, I live in oakland and I will definitely pass by for couscous and mhajeb, I'm from setif by the way , good luck guys and I'm really proud of you

Posted by Ahlam Ziani on 06/12/2016 at 1:23 AM

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