Bay Area/ Oakland/ Food & Drinks
Published on June 14, 2019
Oakland Eats: MeloMelo Kava Bar expanding to Oakland, Bissap Baobab reopens tomorrow, moreMeloMelo Kava Bar. | Photo: Allen P./Yelp

In this edition: Grand Lake adds a kava bar with a floor-to-ceiling living wall, Downtown Oakland's Senegalese restaurant reopens and a diner is set to share tables with a Downtown coworking space.


Grand Lake

MeloMelo Kava Bar (3264 Grand Ave.)

Photo: Albertino M./Hoodline Tipline

Hoodline's veteran tipster Al M. informed us that Berkeley-based MeloMelo Kava Bar is expanding to Oakland, taking over the former Grand Bakery space on Grand Avenue.

Co-owner Rami Kayali confirmed the news, telling Hoodline via email that the Oakland location "is going to be very similar to the Berkeley location, with a few updates."

Instead of alcohol, MeloMelo exclusively serves kava, an ancient beverage made from the roots of a plant native to the South Pacific. Kava is prized for its anti-anxiety properties, and is also believed to alleviate insomnia. At MeloMelo, customers can enjoy it mixed with organic coconut water, ginger juice or pineapple juice, among other options. Hot chocolate, tea and kombucha are also on offer.

The new location will have a floor-to-ceiling living wall, as well as a projector system that will be used for monthly events, with "a visual artist tak[ing] over and projecting something on the entirety of the interior wall." Kayali said he'd like the art installation to look similar — although "on a much smaller scale" — to what ARTECHOUSE in Washington, DC or teamLab in Tokyo are doing.

MeloMelo's new location is currently set to open in mid- to late July, with a grand opening event planned for August.


Bissap Baobab (381 15th St.)

Photo: Stan L./Yelp

After closing its San Francisco location in April, Senegalese restaurant and dance club Bissap Baobab is relaunching its Oakland location this Saturday night, with live performances and dance music from 6:30–10 p.m.

As we previously reported, owner Marco Senghor has faced serious legal challenges around his citizenship application that forced him to close his Mission District location, though he's held onto the smaller neighboring restaurant, Little Baobab.

The Oakland location of Bissap Baobab previously shuttered last August, when it briefly became a metal club called The Gargoyle. Now, Senghor is bringing it back. 

For Saturday's opening event, organizers promise "to make your body move and your soul satisfied," with live music and DJs. The event is free and open to all ages.

The Lede (906 Washington St.)

The patio area of the coworking space. | Photo: Studio To Be/Yelp

Later this summer, former Chez Panisse chef Cal Peternell will open a new lunch and dinner eatery in partnership with a coworking space.

Named for the journalism term for the opening paragraph of a story, The Lede will share its space with Studio To Be, a collaborative workspace centered on storytelling. Studio To Be was formerly home to Pacific Coast Brewing, and its space still has an on-site professional kitchen.

Eater SF reports that Peternell — who also records the cooking podcast Cooking by Ear out of Studio To Be — will be serving Mediterranean-inspired fare, like salads, pastas and cheese plates. Dishes will change seasonally, and diners will be able to enjoy them alongside cocktails, beer and wine. 

The restaurant will be counter-service and open to the public, sharing its tables with the workspace. Peternell says he's aiming to keep it affordable, in order to draw nearby office workers and families with kids.

Thanks to our veteran tipster Al M.! Have you noticed a new addition to (or subtraction from) Oakland's food landscape? Text a tip and a horizontal photo to 510-757-9959, and we'll look into it.