Oakland Updates: La Santa Torta Soft Opens Their First Brick-and-Mortar Location, Changes at Reem's Fruitvale

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A trio of red tacos (quesabirria) from the La Santa Torta truck. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Crystal Wahpepah of Wahpepah’s Kitchen (flanked by Franco Esqueda and Aliza Gallo) is opening in the former’s Reem’s Oakland. Instagram photo by @wahpepahskitchen.

Big congrats to the ~LA SANTA TORTA~ taco truck team (cofounders Leo Oblea and Victor Guzman) on getting their first brick-and-mortar location (softly) open in the former Old Kan Beer & Co. taproom in West Oakland. The La Santa Torta trucks often pull up at breweries around the Bay, so this arrangement fits their usual M.O. The team is as known for their Jalisco-style quesabirria tacos as their charitable ways, from feeding vulnerable people impacted by the pandemic to fires, so their dedicated fans like to turn up and out for them.

There is both indoor and outdoor seating on a spacious patio (don’t forget to show your vax card), and since they have more room to cook, there are some new dishes, like whole shrimp aguachile, birria chilaquiles (OMG yes), and they’re even going to be making some birria gorditas and sopes (Guzman laughs over how much pushback he’s getting from the “hardcore Mexican ladies” that you don’t put birria in gorditas and sopes, even though he says it’s so delicious). As we get closer to the holidays, get excited for the return of their birria tamales, made by his Mom!

During this soft-opening period, they’re open on the weekends (Sat-Sun 12pm-7pm or maybe even until 8pm) and are looking at opening on Monday evenings for viewing the game over some tacos, stand by. Old Kan will be reopening their taproom in October, so you’ll be able to enjoy some of Adam Lamoreaux’s beers (with co-owner James Syhabout) with your birria. In coming weeks, the La Santa Torta team is busy staffing up, training, and getting ramped up for their grand opening on November 1st for Día de los Muertos.

Follow their Instagram (@lasantatorta) for updates as they get up to speed, as well as for their ongoing truck locations. Hours: Sat-Sun 12pm-7pm-ish (for now). 95 Linden St. at 3rd St., Oakland.

A little bit over a week ago, Reem Assil of Reem’s California announced on Instagram that the team is closing the original ~REEM’S OAKLAND~ location in Fruitvale. For the past year and a half during the pandemic, their Oakland team “produced thousands of meals a week in partnership with programs such as World Central Kitchen and SF New Deal, putting food into the hands of frontline medical workers and people experiencing homelessness, those most vulnerable and impacted by this pandemic.” She also mentions, “We have also worked to launch a wholesale program, making signature Reem’s products available in local grocery stores such as Good Eggs and Berkeley Bowl, an operation that took months of scheming, learning about food packaging, and perfecting our mana’eesh and fatayer production so you can enjoy Reem’s at home!”

Since the Reem dream team can’t stop/won’t stop, they’re also continuing to work on opening a worker-owned flagship bakery, and have moved their kitchen operations just a few blocks away to Restore Oakland on 34th Avenue and International.

As for the next tenant, there’s some great news: they are “proud to be passing along our original Fruitvale space to Crystal Wahpepah, an indigenous cook, activist, and educator from East Oakland.” Get ready for updates on her plans for the location. In the meantime, she’s running some teasers of coming soon dishes at @wahpepahskitchen! Hello, maple cream-squash blossom corn bread!