Over the weekend, Twitter followers of Oakland's Pal's Takeaway were confronted with a disturbing message: Pal's had split with Firebrand Artisan Breads, the bakery where the former pop-up was permanently ensconced.
Pal's has been part of Firebrand since it opened last fall, serving chef Jeff Mason's inventive sandwiches from a window inside the spacious bakery. Formerly a weekend-only pop-up with three or four sandwich options, Pal's already had a following of regulars, who were delighted by an expanded offering, seven days a week. And, a recent guest chef series pulled in sandwiches curated by the likes of Stuart Brioza (State Bird Provisions), James Syhabout (Commis, Hawker Fare) and Kenji López-Alt (Serious Eats), drawing big crowds to the bakery.
Mason told Eater that the decision to part ways with the bakery, which is owned by Matt Kreutz and Colleen Orlando, was amicable, and that he is supportive of the ambitious business they're running. However, he wasn't interested in the possibility of expanding service to a full brunch or dinner, saying "It's not what I do best." Now he's looking for a permanent place of his own, which he says will likely be in Berkeley. In the meantime, pop-ups are already in the works— the next one will be called "Pal's Goes to the Dogs," featuring sandwiches like his popular deep-fried lao sausage and other hot dog-like fare. Stay tuned for more details on that, and what will take Pal's place at Firebrand.