anna perez 
Member since Jul 9, 2009


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Recent Comments

Re: “What Is Killing the East Bay's Soul Food Restaurants?

D. Cloudwalker, you make some very good points, but I have to ask, if the food, price and physical plant at the cafe with the Farrakhan paper were stellar, would you continue to patronize it?

As for the other comments about substandard service, location, decor and high prices, all are valid points. But let's be clear, they are not specific to Black owned resto's. My husband and I recently had lunch at the Pine Cone Diner in Point Reyes Station. Though the food was really good (oyster po'boy is one of the best) my husband is old school and expects at least a smile from the server. Yes, the service was curt but I thought efficient so while he didn't want to leave a tip, I did, so I did. Like many more famous resto's the curt (but efficient) service at Pine Cone is kind of their signature. But if the food were not really good and the physical plant charming and comfortable and the prices right, I would not return. Again, let's be clear, people of all races and nationalities make the mistake of serving sub-standard food in way less than charming surroundings at higher than sustainable prices.

One more thing Cloudwalker, if you want to know what "soul food" really should be, google the late, really great Ms. Edna Lewis. James Beard was her #1 fan and to my mind, Ms. Lewis was the "original" Alice Walker.

Posted by anna perez on 07/09/2009 at 5:43 PM

Re: “What Is Killing the East Bay's Soul Food Restaurants?

I'm not so sure about the comment about "inherent discrimination." Many years ago, I wrote small business loan applications for a non-profit in Oakland. Some of my clients were aspiring restauranteurs (White and Black) and the first thing I told them was that more resto's fail in their first couple of years than in any other business sector--and that's just for starters.

Must haves include enough financing (most aspirants greatly underestimate how much money they will need), solid research (location, product, personnel, target market, scope and size of business, etc.) to support a really tight business plan, realistic projections, creative marketing and advertising and last, but unfortunately least, stand out food. Passion, good intentions and mad kitchen skills are not nearly enough to create an enduringly successful business of any kind, especially a resto.

Many successful resto's featuring "niche" cusines also offer some very tasty American or Americanized dishes on their menus. Many also start and stay small until they can raise enough capital and have enough experience and dependable vendors. I could go on--but I'm no longer in that business. As a Black woman of Hispanic descent it truely saddens me to see the businesses fail and these dreams die, but please let's not go to the default position of "inherent discrimination" until all the facts are in. Single proprietorships of all kinds, owned by people of all races fail everyday, particularly in bad economic times. "Only the strong survive."

Posted by anna perez on 07/09/2009 at 2:23 PM

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