“A lot about this neighborhood is hidden from view,” says Sal Bednarz, owner of the Actual Café and Victory Burger, on the corner of Alcatraz and San Pablo Avenues in North Oakland.

Here are three reasons to visit this up-and-coming part of Oakland:

  1. The food:  If you like to make your way through a neighborhood on your stomach, you might want to start with Victory Burger’s artisanal meats and deep-fried pickled vegetables, but you won’t want to stop there. Tribu Café and the Actual Café provide café life and full menus. If you don’t have time to sit and sip, you can grab a slice from Red Door Pizza. When you are ready for a little sweetness, try a cupcake from James and the Giant Cupcake or a donut from Pepple’s Donuts, which also offers vegan lunch or brunch.
  2. The art and the craft of it all:  Art openings abound at local cafés and galleries such as Compound Gallery, Grease Diner, Pallet Space and Ogaard Textile Work. If you want to do more than just admire the art, many of the galleries offer classes as well: learn screen-printing at the Grease Diner; try out letterpress at Compound Gallery; make something you can wear at one of A Verb for Keeping Warm’s many sewing, needlework or dyeing workshops; or get your hands dirty at Create in Clay.
  3. Second Saturday festivities: Purdey Darrow, proprietor of Pallet Space, promises that, if you visit his shop on a second Saturday, “Random things will happen throughout the day,” followed by a musical performance starting at about 6:30. Bednarz sees a neighborhood Second Saturday event as a “way to get people in the neighborhood out on the street.” Look for more daytime happenings in the new year – perhaps even an Oaklavia on San Pablo!

Look for in 2014:  an Oaklavia?  On San Pablo?  Stay tuned!

Purdey Darrow and Mara the dog in front of Pallet Space.

Purdey Darrow and Mara the dog in front of Pallet Space.


See a related story about the Golden Gate here: New destinations, part one: Golden Gate merchants reflect their eclectic neighborhood

See more stories about this area here: 

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This story is part of a series funded by a generous grant from Oaklandish to Oakland Local.


About The Author

Laura McCamy, is a freelance writer, editor and researcher, and a contributing production editor at Oakland Local. Her work also appears in Momentum Magazine and the Intuit Small Business Blog. Follow Laura on twitter @lmcwords

3 Responses

  1. RJ

    Gentrification is a complicated phenomenon. On the one hand, neighborhoods like Golden Gate need investments, new businesses and new opportunities. On the other hand, I used to live right off of San Pablo in the 60s, and I had to move away a few years ago because my rent kept getting higher. The neighborhood now looks nothing like it did even a few years ago, and all these new businesses mentioned here are not places that are frequented by long-time residents of that area. If you go to a spot like Eastern City or Wilma’s, the crowd there is almost entirely different than what you’d find at Awaken Cafe even though it’s in the same area. How can we introduce new businesses into an area without it creating a new social barrier? Like I said, it’s not as simple as saying “gentrification is bad,” but these are questions that we need to be asking ourselves.

  2. boo

    4. a neighborhood carelessly engaging in gentrification with no regard for the community that already exists here. the merchants and cool chic happening is generally white people pushing out the community that already existed for decades before. the effort of the golden gate community neighborhood is policing and “community planning” with the exclusion of representative voices. the difference between this neighborhood and a few of history past is this neighborhood fully knows what it is doing and embraces its intolerance of people of color, particularly their children, homeless and mentally ill people.

  3. GoldenGateNeighbor

    boo-I don’t like empty words. Your comments make no sense and if you were truly involved in the Golden Gate community you might know how many are working on positive change and preservation for all the people that live here. It is so patronizing to assume that long term residents can’t speak for themselves and are not involved in their own communities. I’m tired of the empty, racist, and classist rhetoric masked as progressive anti gentrification speak.


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