I got a chance to catch up with chef-owner Sarah Kirnon of MISS OLLIE’S in Old Oakland, and she tells me things are in process for the next iteration, Sanctuary, with co-founder Miles Dotson. A recent mission statement states: “Sanctuary was birthed from chef Sarah Kirnon’s passion to provide a homestead to nurture, empower, and sustain the dreams of Black art and food creators in her Bay Area community. As a non-profit organization, Sanctuary will activate the talent of these creators to serve and feed the community in a series of active initiatives hosted in and around Oakland.”
This reconcepting of Miss Ollie’s from a restaurant to a community nonprofit was brought about because “they have been forced to rethink their purpose and impact on residents of the East Bay, and what it will look like to continue business into the future now, chasing meager revenue due to reduction of traffic by patrons and visitors to the city. In parallel, there is an increasing number of Bay Area families who now are unable to put food on the table and an unhoused population of people on their last limb as cold temperatures make survival that much harder.”
Sarah shares some difficulties that have come with the new year, beyond the usual endless pandemic challenges. It ends up their contract with World Central Kitchen—which had Miss Ollie’s preparing 1,500 meals a month for their unhoused neighbors (at $10/meal)—wrapped up at the end of December (as it did for other East Bay partners in the initiative). So, a significant part of steady income they were depending upon to weather this stage of the pandemic has dried up, and they’re looking for a way to continue to feed the community, which is an important part of their ethos at Miss Ollie’s (Sarah has always offered patrons who could not afford a meal the opportunity to receive a community plate).
Let’s support Sarah in her passion to do much more impactful work. Kindred will be the first initiative of Sanctuary, working to mobilize food distribution and CSA boxes for community members in need, starting next month (February). If there are any donors/companies interested and able made a tax-deductible contribution of $5K-$50K in order to help fund Kindred’s food program operations (and maintain their staff), please get in touch with Miles Dotson, who can send you a deck. Thank you for thinking about how to assist Sanctuary/Miss Ollie’s, and the community!
In the meantime, she is still operating Miss Ollie’s with her dedicated team Wed-Sat 12pm-7pm, and you should know she has a jerk crab that has been popping up on the menu lately! (She said it’s spicy, mmmhmmm.) She was selling the two-and-a-half pound crab for $40, serving it with yucca, sweet potato fries, chicory salad, homemade ketchup, sour cream, and grilled lemons. All the things! Keep your eyes peeled on their online menu and you can hope to crack some jerk crab soon. (I also see Dungeness crab and grits!) 901 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-285-6188.
Some great news for Sarah’s new neighbors at Swan’s Market in Old Oakland: after suffering a tragic fire last year, HUANGCHENG NOODLE HOUSE has opened their new location in the the former Rosamunde Sausage Grill space (thanks in part to Good Good Eatz, Save Our Chinatowns, and so many generous community members for making this happen so quickly). Come by for chef-owner Jimmy Huang’s Shanxi knife-cut noodles, body-and-soul-warming soups, and more. Perfect for these wet and chilly days. Stand by for new dishes to be added in time. Open daily 10am-9pm. There are also some outdoor seats (coming soon). 911 Washington St. at 10th St. in Old Oakland. [Via Eater]
Something to track for later this winter: GHOST TOWN BREWING is opening a second location in the former 4505 Burgers & BBQ in Oakland’s Laurel District. They will be opening a taphouse and beer garden soon—the restaurant part of the concept is forthcoming. You can read further details in this Nosh piece. 3506 MacArthur Blvd. at 35th Ave, Oakland.
Another upcoming project will be the permanent brick-and-mortar location of the Salvadoran (and wood-fire-based) POPOCA from chef-owner Anthony Salguero at Classic Cars West in Uptown Oakland (read more in this Eater piece here). He launched a Kickstarter to get this exciting project off the ground (the plans include a restaurant, bar, retail hub, and micro-business incubator), please take a look and support if you can—$50 will get you a bomb Salvadoran breakfast for two! 411 26th St. at Telegraph, Oakland.
Chef-owner Sarah Kirnon seated at her altar honoring her ancestors and community at Miss Ollie’s. Photo: © tablehopper.com.