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Why the City of San Jose Is Being Sued Over a Proposed Whole Foods

Plus, a Pacific Heights oyster bar and more food news

Whole Foods
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Whole Foods, the bulk grocer turned technocratic lightning rod of gentrification and workers’ rights complaints, gained a new group of detractors in San Jose. In fact, the uproar over a proposed Whole Foods location at El Paseo de Saratoga shopping center brings the complaints directly to the city: A community group is outright suing San Jose over what it claims to be malpractice. The Mercury News reports Citizens for Inclusive Development take issue with the 40,000-square-foot anchor store because they allege the city specifically stated the space is meant for “generic, non-grocery use.” The El Paseo de Saratoga compound is a Signature Project, where the city builds market-rate housing in addition to commercial developments.

The lawsuit, filed on July 22 in Santa Clara County Superior Court, alleges the city of San Jose also failed to disclose the environmental impacts of a Whole Foods, specifically. “At least one organization submitted expert opinion documenting that the air quality and public health impacts from a Whole Foods grocery store will far exceed the impacts disclosed and evaluated in the draft and final (Environmental Impact Report),” the lawsuit reads. The suit also states the current rendering of the project violates the city’s own Signature Project guidelines. The city declined to comment, but Sand Hill Property Co., the land developers, said in a statement “this lawsuit is an unfortunate attempt to block much-needed housing in the city and our region despite the fact that this project was a Signature Project, had significant community engagement and received unanimous City Council approval.”

Pac Heights bar to expand into oysters and swankiness

Neighborhood favorite The Snug looks to deepen its roots in the area. The San Francisco Chronicle writes the business will open a sister location, Little Shucker, a raw oyster bar with a focus on lighter fare and natural wine. The chef in charge, Adrian Garcia, cooked at both Benu and Quince before this appointment.

Imperfect Foods vacates Bayview production facility, laying off 50 workers

Like Amy’s Kitchen and Anheuser Busch before them, sustainable grocery delivery company Imperfect Foods announces it will close its Bayview facility by mid-September. The San Francisco Business Times reports the company, blaming “shifting market dynamics,” will consolidate its production in Los Angeles and will offer severance and relocation opportunities to its warehouse employees at 1616 Donner Avenue.

Oakland International Airport food and drink plans underway

Plenty of developments fell on the wayside during the pandemic, but the Oakland International Airport restaurants are back on schedule. SFGATE reports Bay Area favorites like Farley’s Cafe, Oaklandish Coffee Collective, and Oakland Draft House have already opened. Brown Sugar Kitchen and Luka’s Taproom & Lounge initially were set to open up offshoots of the restaurants in the airport as well, but wound up pulling back from those plans as those restaurants both shuttered during the pandemic.

Donation-based queer soup pop-up returns to Oakland

Soup kitchens come with their own connotations, but Queer Soup Night is a bit different: started by chef Liz Alpern, the idea is to gather with queer folks, share food, and raise money for important causes. The group offers a sliding suggested donation rate of $10 to $20 with proceeds going to Flying Over Walls, a nonprofit connecting incarcerated queer people with other queer folks through letter writing. Register in advance to attend their Oakland pop-up on August 7 at the Rare Barrel — Bay Area contributors include Lion Dance Cafe and Fish and Bonez.

Lion Dance Cafe

380 17th Street, , CA 94612 Visit Website

Brown Sugar Kitchen

2295 Broadway, , CA 94612 (510) 839-7685 Visit Website

The Snug

2301 Fillmore Street, , CA 94115 Visit Website

The Rare Barrel

940 Parker Street, , CA 94710 (510) 984-6585 Visit Website


470 Pacific Avenue, , CA 94133 (415) 775-8500 Visit Website


22 Hawthorne Street, , CA 94105 (415) 685-4860 Visit Website