Cozy-Eating Restaurateurs Cross The Bay With 'Paradise Park Café'

The partners behind San Francisco’s popular Park Café chain of cozy-eating spots are opening their newest spot in Oakland’s Paradise Park neighborhood.

Paradise Park Café will open August 17 in the former location of Actual Café near the intersection of Alcatraz and San Pablo, co-owner Rachel Herbert told Hoodline. 

"It has a very similar foot traffic and vibe to what we’ve done,” she said, referring to the group’s popular eateries near Precita, Duboce and Dolores parks. "It is also a neighborhood that is evolving a little bit; lots of 20-somethings moving in with young kids.”

A typical brunch at Duboce Park Café. | Duboce Park Café/Facebook

Herbert said she and her partner Dana Oppenheim weren’t necessarily looking to open a new location in the East Bay, but hadn’t figured out how the they could afford to expand in San Francisco. When Actual Café closed last year, the couple took advantage. 

"I don’t want to say Oakland is the new frontier because that sounds obnoxious, but it has a new, fresh vibe,” Herbert said. “It sort of reminds me of San Francisco 20 years ago. There are a lot of artists, there’s a lot of creative energy and diversity, ethnically and age wise.”

"There is just a sort of openness about the Oakland culture,” she added. "Oakland is open to the possibilities.”

It helps that many of the staff who work at the group's other San Francisco cafés have moved to Oakland, including some of the musicians who used to play at Dolores Park Café before tiring of the commute. They’ll now sometimes play at the Paradise Park spot, Herbert said. 

The menu will be similar to those at the other locations, including a quinoa burger, fried chicken sandwich, grass-fed burger, ice cream burrito and organic salads. 

"We’re going to have more vegan options because it is Oakland,” Herbert said. "I think that is an important part of any menu, in Oakland specifically."

Herbert said she hoped to become a part of the Paradise Park neighborhood. 

"The reason that neighborhood was attractive is that we realized that neighborhood needed something to help them build community,” she said. “There was no neighborhood coffee shop. That’s what we do, build community."

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