San Francisco

Oakland Eats: Stork Club to close; Specialty's shuts down; new empanada spot on the way; more

Here's everything you need to know about Oakland's food and drink scene this week. In this edition: Shafter is getting a new empanada spot, a longstanding nightclub loses its lease downtown, and a popular cafe-bakery closes all its locations, including in Oakland.



9 Julio Empanada Kitchen (5239 Claremont Ave.)

Photo: Albertino M./Hoodline Tipline

Hoodline's veteran tipster Al M. alerts us that 9 Julioan Oakland-based company specializing in empanadas, is preparing to open its first brick-and-mortar location. The empanada shop will be housed on the ground floor of the Idora Apartments complex, near the DMV and UCSF Children's Hospital.

Named for the date of Argentina's independence, 9 Julio specializes in creative empanada flavors like chorizo and potato, chimichurri beef and Jamaican beef with yellow curry. Sweet empanadas, salads and alfajores (Argentine sandwich cookies) round out the menu.

Owner Erica Sanders, a Bay Area native who previously worked in the packaged-food industry, raised $10,000 on Kiva to help open the restaurant. She's also built her business through catering and appearances at farmers markets.

According to a sign on its doors, 9 Julio was set to open this winter; it's unclear how the coronavirus pandemic impacted its plans. We reached out to Sanders for more information on an opening date, but did not receive a response.



Stork Club (2330 Telegraph Ave.)

Photo: Porsche C./Yelp

Berkeleyside reporter Darwin BondGraham broke the news on Twitter that long-standing dive bar and music venue Stork Club is closing.

"Well folks ... that's it ... end of an era and another nail in the coffin of rock 'n' roll," the bar wrote on Facebook, alongside photos of the staff clearing out the space. 

On Twitter, BondGraham said manager Tom Chittock told him that the club could no longer afford its rent after two months of no customers. However, he plans to look for a new location for the club, which has operated on Telegraph Avenue for decades.

Specialty's Café & Bakery (555 12th St. & 155 Grand Ave.)


Specialty's Cafe & Bakery is synonymous with downtown offices, thanks to a menu of sandwiches, salads and its signature giant cookies. But with the entire Bay Area working from home, the Pleasanton-based local chain has gone belly-up. 

In a statement on its website, Specialty's says that "current market conditions attributed to COVID-19 and shelter-in-place policies have decimated company revenues."

The Chronicle reports that the company's closure will leave 1,400 people out of work, including all the employees at its two downtown Oakland locations.

As a final goodbye gesture, the company gave away its remaining boxes of frozen cookie dough at its warehouse in Redwood City this morning. The dough disappeared in just two hours.

"We sincerely thank you for your business and support over the years," its statement concludes. 

Thanks to Al M.! Have you noticed a new addition to (or subtraction from) Oakland's food landscape? Text a tip and a horizontal photo to (415) 200-3233, and we'll look into it.


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