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As Eastside West Closes, Owners Plan Multiple Oakland Restaurants

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Including a partnership with Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant

Eastside West
Eastside West/Facebook

Eastside West has closed its debauched doors after ten years of inebriating Marina and Cow Hollow dwellers, after the building’s landlords proposed rent increase from $12,000 to $38,000 per month.

“That took away basically all of our profit,” partner Rob Lam told Eater SF. “So we said, make us an offer.” The landlords listed on the liquor license application, investment group B.M. Tonkin, agreed to the sale. Eastside West’s last night of drinking and carrying on was November 30.

“I think [the closure] will be a good thing for the city,” said Lam, laughing. “I’ll be honest: Eastside West never contributed anything to the social fabric of San Francisco. In fact, we were a detriment. That era has ended for us, we’re all getting older.”

Lam will now focus his energies on Perle, the wine bar he recently opened in Oakland’s Montclair neighborhood with Marcus Garcia (former sommelier at Fleur de Lys), which has received early praise from critics. That will also leave room for more projects, teaming up with Eastside West partner and chef Dino Vasquez on more restaurants in Oakland.

One of those projects includes La Jima, a Mexican restaurant focusing on Oaxacan food and drinks — Julio Bermejo, the scion of SF’s Inner Richmond tequila mecca Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, will partner in the restaurant, bringing his intimate knowledge of the food and culture of the that region.

“We wanted to bring in his style of Mayan Oaxacan cuisine, the food of the workers,” says Lam. “He’s got a very farm-to-table belief about it.” Details are still coming together, but Vasquez and Lam hope to open in or around Montclair when the right space becomes available.

Another project in the works: Aloha Bowl, a spinoff of the poke takeout window, Sammy’s Aloha, at Lam’s former Embarcadero restaurant The Butterfly, which closed in early 2017. Aloha Bowl will offer a similar menu to Sammy’s Aloha, including rice bowls, salads, and bao. Lam is on the hunt for a space in Oakland for that concept as well, which will also include candlepin bowling, a game using smaller wooden pins that is more similar to bocce than standard bowling alleys.

Stay tuned for more details on these restaurants, and what may become of Eastside West’s former location.

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