Chefs, owners welcome Oakland Restaurant Week with open arms after difficult year

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Skyrocketing rent. Changing demographics. Picky diners. Power shutoffs. That's just a sample list of what restaurant owners and chefs have had to deal with all over the Bay Area last year.

So, the 10th year anniversary of Oakland Restaurant Week is especially welcome this year.

More than 100 restaurants are participating, offering menus ranging from $10 to $80, showcasing Oakland's rich and diverse culinary traditions.

Celebrity chefs, trendy cuisines, pop-ups, neighborhood staples are just some of the options.

Jen Biesty, celebrity chef and owner at Shakewell, is offering a $45 tasting menu. Biesty was recently crowned champion on the Food Network's "Chopped." She knows how hard it is to keep a restaurant open.

"If we band together and do things like this Oakland restaurant week and really get the word out together, it kinda becomes a go team situation," she said.

You can find a long list of pop-ups and events, including how to make reservations and a complete rundown of participating restaurants here : Oakland Restaurant Week.

In Montclair, where some restaurants had to shut down for days during PG&E's public safety power shutoffs in 2019, Oakland's Restaurant Week is a chance to win over new customers and make up for revenue losses.

"It was catastrophic, it took us to the brink," said Robert Lam, owner, and chef at Perle.

"In the restaurant business, the margins are really thin, it really takes all 30 days in a month to show any profits, so when you lose a few days, we obviously lost money that month," said Alan Carlson at Italian Colors.

Restaurant Week starts Jan. 9 and runs until Jan. 20. Proceeds from the event will go to the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

See more stories and videos about Building a Better Bay Area here.
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