Vibrant and Rooted in East Oakland

Dig in the dirt, build community, get beautiful, and eat well in East Oakland.


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Photos by Paul Haggard

International Boulevard — often still called East 14th — offers a range of delicious foods, community organizations, and unique shopping opportunities in Deep East. See what you may be missing.

 

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Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project is on a mission to provide a safe and creative outdoor space for kids, youth, and families in East Oakland. This grassroots community organization offers day camps for kids, field trips, farm visits, and CSA boxes for East Oakland residents. Farm manager Aaron De La Cerda leads community work days on the first Saturday of each month. “It’s a day folks can go out and pick the farm manager’s brain, familiarize themselves with gardening, and get experience with weeding, watering, and completing projects such as making gardening beds,” explained ANV’s Ayano Jeffers-Fabro who is gauging general interest about the creation of an East Oakland grocery co-op. To get involved with Acta Non Verba, visit ANVFarm.org, 1001 83rd Ave., 510-878-7235.

For 41 years, the East Oakland Youth Development Center has been developing the social and leadership skills of area youth. The vibrant center headquarters serves as a community hub for empowering youth ages 6 to 24 via educational, cultural, recreational, and artistic programs. “We offer so much for youth development and leadership. To list just a few of our offerings, there are educational programs, dance, karate, an art program; we have a basketball team,” explained alumni Bryce Bell, 23, a Cal Poly grad who has returned to work for the organization that helped pave his pathway to college “There’s something for everyone.” Parents can enroll kids in afterschool programs, high school and college students can receive mentoring from alumni, and EOYDC offers GED preparation for all ages. Get involved for your child’s education and development, for your own education, or as a way to volunteer and give back to the community. 8200 International Blvd., 510-569-8088, EOYDC.org.

Shape up your look with a visit to Cedric’s Barber Shop. Tucked between 88th and 89th, the shop is filled with skilled barbers specializing in design work. The neighborhood go-to for high-style cuts also offers faux-hawks, mohawks, flat-tops, beard trimming, and razor shaves. Call ahead or stop in and hang out until there’s a chair free. 8819 International Blvd., 510-729-6297.

 

Shop

Want a cooking range like a Viking or Thermador Professional at a fraction of the new retail cost? Visit The ReUse People’s retail store where salvaged goods and building materials are sold instead of being dumped in a landfill. The retail warehouse is well organized by home section and features sweet monthly specials (like 25 percent off marked prices). Check The ReUse People for your next building project, remodel, or interior upgrade to see what you just might find. 9235 San Leandro St., 510-383-1983, TheReUsePeople.org.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore shares a driveway with The ReUse People, making environmentally and budget-friendly shopping easier. Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to provide affordable housing for the East Bay community. By purchasing used home goods, furniture, building materials, lighting, and more at the ReStore, you’re contributing to one solution for the housing challenge — and you get great stuff for super cheap. 9235 San Leandro Blvd., 408-933-3609, ReStore.HabitatEBSV.org.

Ebony Beauty Supply has been a neighborhood staple since 1990. The spacious, well-lit beauty supply store goes beyond makeup and hair. The store stocks wigs in a range of colors, styles, and lengths and sells jewelry and accessories, sandals and slides, handbags and hair trimmers. There’s also an array of hair choices for weaving and braiding. Stop in and elevate your look and receive a 10 percent discount if you’re a licensed cosmetologist. Open every day except Sunday. 8302 International Blvd., 510-562-5529.

 

Eat

Feed your belly and your soul at Corners Cafe. On the Youth Uprising campus, Corners Cafe develops youth and young adult leadership through its social enterprise programs, and employees gain culinary training and management skills while providing healthy food to the community. With a farm-fresh menu designed to rival any brunch spot, Corners Cafe features favorites like dressed up avocado toast, chicken and waffles (with brown sugar maple syrup), or a veggie breakfast sandwich (with spinach, grilled red onion, tomato, garlic aioli, and fried eggs). There are plenty of lunch specialties on the menu as well, and Corners Café also caters. 8711 MacArthur Blvd., 510-777-9909, YouthUprising.org/socialenterprise/yueat.

Enjoy home cooking at Masala Cuisine. Open since 2010, the two-person restaurant, run by husband-and-wife team Rooplal and Sushil Masih, delights diners with its homestyle Indian food. The duo cooks meals to order, so be prepared to wait 45 minutes or more if you don’t call ahead. Much of the charm comes in watching them chop the vegetables, prepare the spices, and pan-fry your protein as you sit facing the open-air kitchen that dominates the eight-seat dining area. The baigan bhartha (mashed eggplant with special spices) is extra delicious, and the chefs let you test spice level before plating or packaging your food so you can make changes. Masala Cuisine is closed Tuesdays and is cash only. 7912 International Blvd., 510-878-2643, MasalaOakland.weebly.com.

Enjoy a laid-back meal at Taqueria La Palma. This no-frills taqueria offers all your favorites at affordable pricing — like $2 tacos — with fast and friendly service. La Palma has a large seafood menu, too, if you’re looking for camarones a la diabla or mojarra frita (whole fried fish). Open weekdays 3-10 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m.-10 p.m. 8217 International Blvd., 510-472-7871.

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