Oakland, Berkeley, And East Bay News, Events, Restaurants, Music, & Arts
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"Maybe it's unkind for me, a restaurant critic, to disparage the food of the ill and allergy-ridden."
I take offense at your article. The shepherd's pie is delicious and so is everything else. This restaurant deserves nothing but praise for bringing good food to those who cannot go to most other cafes and restaurants. For months, this was the only place where the food did not hurt me. Shame on you for discrediting them and their efforts just based on your personal tastes.
Word! Great article but Alchemy Collective in Berkeley next time! Worker-owned by mostly queer/POC folks.
For real! How is Alchemy Collective not on this list? They've even been a member of EBX's Think Indie Campaign for over a year!
Here are a few reasons why they might deserve to be on this list:
(1) THE SOLIDARITY ECONOMY
Alchemy is 100% worker-owned and 100% democratically run by a squad of predominantly Black, brown, and queer folks.
Alchemy was founded by three low-income baristas who wanted to create dignified careers (and business ownership) for themselves and other working class folks. And that's more impressive than businesses founded by well-meaning well-off investors with predetermined missions who hire members from marginalized groups to execute those missions without giving them real control over the capital they create. Right? Right.
They let community groups host events and fundraisers after hours for FREE. Such groups include Hasta Muerte Coffee, Community Democracy Project (Oakland), Sustainable Economies Law Center, Alipato Project, Justice for My Sister, an art therapy group, an anti-gentrification reading group, and more!
They incubate other worker-owned businesses for free and provide a lot of free emotional labor to houseless folks and other folks in need.
(2) MOVEMENT-ART GALLERY
Months after movement-artist Oree Originol's art show at Alchemy ended, his "Justice for Eric Garner," "Justice for Mike Brown," and "Justice for Sandra Bland" posters remain on Alchemy's windows. They host other local artists every month.
(3) ANTI-GENTRIFICATION AND LOCAL POLITICS
Alchemy is a member of the only business association in Berkeley that fights criminalizing homelessness. Ever aware of the dangerous effects of gentrification, instead of relying on the police, Alchemy established a network of social workers, family members, and neighboring businesses to help de-escalate potentially dangerous conflicts.
(4) NATIONAL POLITICS AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Alchemy joined the national inaugural strike on January 20th. A portion of the proceeds from Alchemy's Snakebite blend goes to Standing Rock. But their #NODAPL efforts don't stop there. Alchemy inspires folks to be more aware and more accountable: To the left of the Alchemy cash register is a list of banks that fund DAPL. To the right of their cash register is a Standing Rock donation box.
Alchemy sources food from the farmer's market, their beans are organic, their take-out stuff is compostable, and they use solar power. They have hosted events about community-owned renewable energy and fundraisers for environmental justice.
(5) COMMUNITY EDUCATION
They provide access to an expensive curated radical book collection to the public even though someone keeps stealing their James Baldwin books. They help resisters of domestic violence by selling the Radical Feminist Coloring Book and distributing "know-your-rights" brochures.
How is Alchemy Collective not on this list?
I suggest a conference specifically geared to local restaurants in the medium price & affordable price ranges to help them buy rather than rent. That way they can transcend rent increases & property ownership changes. They would be the owners.
There are several organizations specializing in these type of programs. We've got to help them target & meet restaurants.
Too bad southern Thai food isn't being served in the flats and at a more reasonable price.
I am a big fan of your writing and your palate. I lost count of the number of restaurants that you have alerted me to. Thanks.
I was ecstatic that you visited our newest restaurant in the village, and even more ecstatic that you like the place. We do too.
I am a business owner in Montclair and a Hills resident, and I find your typification of my business district and my neighborhood as 'lilywhite' to be demeaning, inaccurate and quite frankly, racist, short sighted and insensitive.
In fact, I showed your review to several people, who all questioned your use of the word "lily white."
In the Montclair business district, I see owners and employees of every color and background; in my residential neighborhood, I see the same mix.
Yes, the population of African Americans, Asian Americans and Latino Americans is less than in West and East Oakland, the San Antonio district and Chinatown/KoBe, but that is due to the high cost of housing more than any other factor, and is a sad statement on our institutionally racist society, not of any individual neighborhood.
Still on my block in the Hills - 150 families - there are families of every race.
A retraction would be nice.
Jeff Diamond, president Montclair Village Association
People who live in Montclair today didn't choose the restaurants that are in the village. Rents are incredibly high, there's little available retail space due to too many realtors on the ground floor, and that is what determines who can stay, who can't come in. People who live in Montclair eat in restaurants all over Oakland. Don't equate white with non-adventurous eating.
@Pete O -- I know, rite? This guy can't even handle eating rotting fish guts, and WE'RE the provincial rubes? Come on bro, toughen up.
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