clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Locol Responds to News of Uptown Oakland Closure

New, 2 comments

It was “planned”

Locol’s West Oakland bakery
Ellen Fort

Yesterday’s news of Locol’s closure in Uptown Oakland was abrupt, though co-founder Daniel Patterson had been open in recent interviews about the fact that the revolutionary fast-food operation was barely covering payroll. Now the restaurant has released a statement via Instagram that indicates that the closure was “planned,” the result of a one-year lease in the space that previously housed Patterson’s upscale Plum restaurant.

“As planned, our one-year lease is up and we’ve decided that our chapter here in updtown has come to an end. The communities of East and West Oakland echoed our vision, but Uptown provided us the chance TO PROVIDE JOBS IMMEDIATELY, so we jumped at the opportunity. With our West Oakland location now up and running, we’re ready to say goodbye to the awesome people we’ve met here in Uptown! Come see us in the West, where we’ll be serving up your Locol favorites + baked goods and pizzas. Thank you Uptown!!!”

Accompanying the Instagram is the following message from local rapper Bambu DePistola, who was hired by Patterson and partner Roy Choi to provide outreach to youth, helping them find jobs within the organization. Here’s his statement in full:

What an amazing year in Oakland! I know some of our followers didn't understand our decision to go from the tight knit neighborhood of Watts, to the downtown food mall of Oakland's Grand-Broadway district. We've said it from jump, we're here to serve the community through food made from scratch + fair wage employment. The latter was a complete success in Uptown. In one year we employed about a hundred residents of Oakland's communities where livable wages are scarce. While we integrated + fortified our team, we simultaneously went to work building our joint in the West! We opened the Bakery to an overwhelming welcome by the neighborhood, + we knew we were home.

With Uptown's lease up, we're finally able to focus our energy on feeding West O + expanding into the East! Getting back to our vision - a vision supported by so many in Uptown. Our regulars from Pandora, Kaiser + all our neighboring offices spent many lunches hanging with us, eating our signature hitters + spreading the word about us. We collab'd with local artists + chefs to put on some great events that helped us push our culture forward. Thank YOU! I know we'll be seeing you at our new spot on the Market St. block!

We planted our neighborhood fast food restaurant in the eye of gentrification's storm, + don't regret it for a sec. It confused people like Pete, who expected to be catered to + served as part of the food elite, + was instead met by a delicious meal made for + by people from our hood. We shook a lot of y'all up, challenged expectations + proved to y'all we can hang with a $20 burger, while recycling money into The Town on wages above proposed gov't minimums, using high quality ingredients + applying the science of a Chef. We trained people who'd never held a job, who've since moved on to work in 'fine dining' -- an industry we've been systematically excluded from. We've had our obstacles, but we've learned from them, licked our wounds, flipped our fingers to the ops + kept it moving. On behalf of the whole squad, I say THANK YOU for supporting Uptown. NOW get your a** over to the West + see what LocoL is really about!

Love + LocoL: BAM"@bambudepistola

Notably, DePistola mentions the zero star review given the restaurant by NY Times critic Pete Wells, who flew in from New York to critique it. It was a blow that the restaurant never truly recovered from, despite a rehaul of the menu at both the Uptown location and the flagship restaurant in LA’s Watts neighborhood.

The growing chain’s mission is to change the way people eat, providing jobs for people in underprivileged neighborhoods and providing healthier, affordable food to those living in food deserts. The journey has been long, and fraught with setbacks like Wells’ review; though it made sense for the first Oakland location of Locol to open in a space already managed by Patterson, complete with permits and infrastructure, many questioned its presence in an already affluent part of the city. Now, that location’s operations, employees, and menu will make the move over to the very small bakery location in West Oakland.

Meanwhile, no updates are available on the status of the restaurants planned for East Oakland and the Tenderloin. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.

From BAM: "What an amazing year in Oakland! I know some of our followers didn't understand our decision to go from the tight knit neighborhood of Watts, to the downtown food mall of Oakland's Grand-Broadway district. We've said it from jump, we're here to serve the community through food made from scratch + fair wage employment. The latter was a complete success in Uptown. In one year we employed about a hundred residents of Oakland's communities where livable wages are scarce. While we integrated + fortified our team, we simultaneously went to work building our joint in the West! We opened the Bakery to an overwhelming welcome by the neighborhood, + we knew we were home. With Uptown's lease up, we're finally able to focus our energy on feeding West O + expanding into the East! Getting back to our vision - a vision supported by so many in Uptown. Our regulars from Pandora, Kaiser + all our neighboring offices spent many lunches hanging with us, eating our signature hitters + spreading the word about us. We collab'd with local artists + chefs to put on some great events that helped us push our culture forward. Thank YOU! I know we'll be seeing you at our new spot on the Market St. block! We planted our neighborhood fast food restaurant in the eye of gentrification's storm, + don't regret it for a sec. It confused people like Pete, who expected to be catered to + served as part of the food elite, + was instead met by a delicious meal made for + by people from our hood. We shook a lot of y'all up, challenged expectations + proved to y'all we can hang with a $20 burger, while recycling money into The Town on wages above proposed gov't minimums, using high quality ingredients + applying the science of a Chef. We trained people who'd never held a job, who've since moved on to work in 'fine dining' -- an industry we've been systematically excluded from. We've had our obstacles, but we've learned from them, licked our wounds, flipped our fingers to the ops + kept it moving. On behalf of the whole squad, I say THANK YOU for supporting Uptown. NOW get your a** over to the West + see what LocoL is really about! Love + LocoL: BAM" @bambudepistola

A post shared by LocoL (@welocol) on

Locol

2216 Broadway, oakland, ca

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater San Francisco newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world