Grand opening during a pandemic? Here's how some new East Bay restaurants are doing it

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Good news for some restaurants as they open during pandemic
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As we adapt to another shelter-in-place order, some brave people are actually opening new restaurants in the East Bay, saying it's an opportunity to provide not just takeout food, but jobs.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Many of the headlines the last few days have been about restaurants having to close not only indoor dining, but outdoor dining, pushing many of them to the edge and forcing some to close down. But there is some bright news on the cuisine scene, as new restaurants find a way to open.

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It's a rare bird indeed to see a restaurant grand opening during the shelter-in-place order in Downtown Oakland. And there was quite a crowd on Tuesday, all wearing masks and distancing as they waited for Shake Shack favorites.

The manager held up the bait saying, "This is a "golden state double - It has garlic aoli in it and white cheese and pickles."

Shake Shack has other Bay Area locations and they felt that they had the perfect recipe for opening here in a pandemic as another take out business to help the community.

VIDEO: CA restaurant owner claims to find 'loophole' to remain open during COVID-19 shelter order

Denis Xenos, the owner of Denis' Country Kitchen in Lodi, California, claims to have found a loophole to legally keep his small business open against the state's stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic.

Abby Tan, the Oakland Shake Shack Manager said, "We get to hire a lot of people in spite of it's a time a lot of people get laid off. So this is an opportunity to give people a chance to work."

But it's not just corporations that see this time and place as a moment to realize their dream.

Carey Richardson drove all the over from Daly City to Berkeley to pick up a "Queen Emma" cake for his wife's birthday from a new place called Ono Bakehouse.

We were hearing about this cake from all our friends," he said.

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Desiree Valencia is the owner of Ono Bakehouse. She said it's scary to open up in a pandemic because, "You just don't know what's going to happen next week, next month, next year and when you open a business you should know what's going to happen in the next five years."

The pandemic allowed Valencia to seize this opportunity to use her California ingredients to make Hawaiian pastries.

"Unfortunately a lot of places are closing so a lot of things are going on the market for a lot less than they normally be going for and there's a lot less competition to get those places," she said.

She fearlessly opens Friday, offering inspiration to customers. One said "With all the negativity, right now, I think it's great, it gives us hope you know?"

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