Temescal wellness cafe under new ownership

Photo: The Well/Yelp

By Cirrus Wood - Published on June 12, 2018.

At the end of last month, Anwen Cai Baumeister took over Temescal health and natural foods cafe The Well (5443 Telegraph Ave. at 55th Street).

Now, the new owner has launched a crowdfunding campaign so she can reopen the space with an expanded menu and other changes that will make the spot an inclusive community hub.

Previous owner Marielle Amrhein opened The Well in June of 2017 after taking over the space the year before, but decided to close the location six months later.

“It has become clear that I am no longer able to provide the leadership that is needed for the sustainability and thriving of The Well,” Amrhein wrote in an open letter on cafe's website.

She put out a call seeking prospective new owners, and connected with Baumeister through a mutual friend before agreeing to sell earlier this year.

Anwen Cai Baumeister. | Photo: Cirrus Wood/hoodline

“I will be turning my energies toward tending to my family, but will be continuing to do some medicine making for The Well and support the community events at the space,” wrote Amrhein.

Baumeister said she's excited to begin her new role. “It was really crazy because a year ago I walked in here for the first time not knowing anyone in the space, and the first words that I said when I walked in through that door was ‘Wow, I love this place; I wish I had a place like this one day,’” she said.

Baumeister, who hails from San Rafael, grows culinary and medicinal herbs which will be incorporated into many of the cafe's offerings.

“I realized growing herbs on the farm, that was a really big part of my life and if I didn’t have place to share that passion with folks in a public setting, then it wasn’t fulfilling what I wanted,” she said.

She also has a background in business and cafe culture, having co-opened Key Tea in San Rafael. Baumeister told Hoodline she wants The Well to remain a space that fosters personal and community health, centered around herbalism and traditional knowledge of food. “I’m definitely keeping all those visions,” she said.

Photo: Cirrus Wood/hoodline

New changes include longer hours, including keeping the space open until midnight several days to create “an alternative late night lounge space that’s alcohol free,” she said. She's also planning the city's first kava bar, occasional live music, and tea tastings and ceremonies.

Baumeister said she also plans to introduce "karma bowls" and "karma drinks," a rotating menu of pay-what-you-can items intended to make health and wellness more accessible. Karma meals will consist of a nutritionally balanced bowl with rice, vegetables and a protein with sauce, plus a drink item.

According to an Indiegogo page, she's already invested $90,000 of her own money and is seeking $24,000 to cover a cold case for grab-and-go items, a stage and PA system, expanded indoor and outdoor seating, an indoor living wall, and other additions.

“In the knowledge that Temescal is a highly gentrified area and understanding what The Well’s impact can be with the social environment, I’m really committed to making this place as successful for all people as possible,” said Baumeister.

The Well is located at 5443 Telegraph Avenue and will reopen August 1. Tentative hours are 9 a.m.  midnight Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m on Sunday.

Oct 26, 2020

Oakland artist brings giant Trump head to Lake Merritt for people to roll around, get dirty

A giant papier-mache head of Donald Trump landed on the shore of Lake Merritt on Saturday. The interactive art piece, titled "Let’s Roll Trump Out of Office," is the work of Oakland artist Larry McSpadden who says it has been three years in the making. Read More

Oct 23, 2020

Horn Barbecue finally opens in West Oakland after multiple delays

Respected local pitmaster Matthew Horn is finally opening the doors of Horn Barbecue (2534 Mandela Parkway) this weekend in the former Brown Sugar Kitchen space near the West Oakland/Emeryville border. Read More

Oct 22, 2020

East Bay's new shoreline park opens more than 50 years after conception

East Bay Regional Parks’ newest park opened this week, spanning 45 acres of Oakland’s historic shoreline and reusing some of the old Bay Bridge’s foundation for public space. Read More

Oct 07, 2020

50s-inspired diner opens in downtown Oakland with avocado poppers and housemade ice cream in tow

The upscale-casual Daughter's Diner had hoped to open in downtown Oakland earlier this year — but then the pandemic derailed those plans. Read More