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Opportunity Knocks

I said a week or two ago that I was on the lookout for ways that our economic troubles were affecting the look and feel of our cities, but that can be a depressing project, so I’m trying to keep an eye out for hopeful signs too. A surprising number of new bars and restaurants have been opening in Oakland in the last few months, and many of them seem to be doing well despite the lousy economy.

There is one business that I’m most excited about. Ever since I read about the Middle Eastern and African emporium that is scheduled to open on a somewhat desolate stretch of Telegraph, I’ve been monitoring the progress whenever I pass by, and tonight I was happy to see that the interior is looking near completion, and something you don’t see very often these days, a help wanted sign, is posted on the window:

Opportunity Knocks

As the owner told Oakland North, a local news website run by Berkeley J-School students, “I’m from Yemen originally, and here we are missing a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. Sometimes you have to go to L.A. Here there’s not even a single Middle East bakery that sells Lebanese pastries!”

He told the reporter that he might have to bring in a pastry chef from New York or Michigan, because there might be no one in Oakland who is up to the job. Whether he finds a pastry chef here or brings one in from elsewhere, I hope he finds a good one, because I’d hate to have to go to L.A. for my Lebanese pastries…