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Rainbow Grocery

13 Cooperatively-Owned Restaurants, Bakeries, and Markets in the Bay Area

From Rainbow Grocery to Cheeseboard to Understory, a baker’s dozen businesses where workers lead

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The Bay Area is home to several long standing worker-run cooperatives, and many of these include food businesses such as restaurants, bars, and bakeries. During the pandemic, food businesses were hit especially hard as restaurants had to close, pivot later to takeout only, and wrestle with ever-changing rules around indoor and outdoor dining. At the same time and in an effort to find a more sustainable business model, several coop restaurants opened or converted into a coop in the Bay Area during the pandemic. Vegan Singaporean restaurant Lion Dance Cafe and Reem’s are also in the process of transitioning into worker cooperatives.

“When workers own their places of work, they prioritize worker safety, preserving jobs, paying living wages, and even providing benefits like flexible hours and childcare,” said Julian McKinley, Senior Director of Communications at the Democracy at Work Institute about some positives of worker-run businesses. Particularly for low-wage jobs in essential work forces such as the restaurant and food industry, workers seem to benefit from the coop model. Here are 13 coop food businesses in San Francisco and the East Bay.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Cheese Board Collective Pizzeria

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One of the OG food co-ops in Northern California and a pioneer of the thin crust sourdough vegetarian daily special slice, the place is going as strong as ever with a line out the door most days, and selling upwards of thousands of pies on the weekends. They have a robust cheese counter and many delectable baked goods as well. Over the years, Cheeseboard has spawned and inspired other pizza/bakery coops too including Arizmendi, Sliver, and Dimond Slice.

Cheese Board Collective Pizzeria

The Local Butcher Shop

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The 10-year-old butcher Berkeley shop transitioned to a worker-owned co-op in the middle of the pandemic in 2021, although the idea didn’t come out of nowhere; they’d been planning the change for about two years. The local meat shop sells locally-sourced and sustainably raised cuts, made-in-house sausages, meat broths, meatballs, and more. They also hold classes so you can learn how to make your own sausage and butcher a chicken.

The Local Butcher Shop

Three Stone Hearth

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Three Stone Hearth is a long-standing community kitchen in Berkeley that started as a to-go spot and is now a market. They still primarily focus on slow cooked homemade broths, hearty soups, pickles and made-in-house sauces. They also sell curated pantry items such as sardines, local bacon from the Baconer, a host of cultured beverages including kefir and kombuchas, and more.

Oceanview Diner

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The nearly 40-year-old diner in West Berkeley known as Bette’s Oceanview has a storied history, known for fluffy pancakes and takeout pizza from the to-go counter. In recent times, the family-run business decided to close. However, to the delight of many patrons, workers banded together and recently reopened it under the new name, Oceanview Diner — and as a cooperatively-run business. The menu remains the same. 

Alchemy Collective Cafe and Roaster

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This Black-owned, collectively run cafe and roaster features pour-overs, cold brews, and espresso drinks. The cafe also serves made-on-site tamales. Their roasted coffee beans are available for sale via subscription or wholesale.

Alchemy Collective Cafe and Roaster

A Taste of Denmark Bakery

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The original location of Neldam’s Danish Bakery, Neldam’s, became Taste of Denmark after some of its longterm employees decided to re-open it when Neldam’s closed after being in business for 81 years. Taste of Denmark continues the legacy of Danish and French pastries and cakes. The bakery features a similar menu with croissants, danishes, custom cakes (including wedding cakes).

A Taste of Denmark Bakery

Mandela Grocery Cooperative

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This West Oakland neighborhood grocery store features many great pantry staples, organic produce, and fruit — all with a focus on community health and well-being. The shop sources from local farms and vendors (some of which are also coops). Anyone using SNAP/EBT also receives 50 percent off California-grown fruits and vegetables at the store. The store also has regular healthy cooking classes and other events.

Mandela Grocery Cooperative

Understory Oakland

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This restaurant and commissary kitchen opened during the pandemic and just officially became a worker-run cooperative, also snagging the Emerging Leadership award from the James Beard Foundation. The restaurant serves cuisines that reflect the diversity of its worker-owners, including Filipino, Moroccan, Mexican, and Lao foods. The menu also features daily vegan specials, and many weekends, the space hosts pop-ups from immigrant-run businesses from Oakland Bloom’s kitchen incubator program. Brunch is now offered on both Saturday and Sunday.

Hasta Muerte Coffee

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Located in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, this coffee shop received national attention for refusing to serve uniformed police officers in 2018. The cafe serves strong espresso drinks, baked goods, and grain bowls, and is a kid-friendly environment. Besides coffee, there’s also kombucha, agua frescas, and more.

Rainbow Grocery

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This fabulous store first opened in the Mission district in 1975, later moving to SoMa and doubling its size. The natural food store has everything a San Francisco Bay Area person would want, including beautiful organic produce, organic baby products and gear, and so much more.

Rainbow Grocery

Arizmendi Bakery

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This bakery inspired by the Cheeseboard Collective is similarly tasty and affordable. The San Francisco, Oakland, and Emeryville locations have slightly different menus. The vegetarian sourdough crust pizza topped with seasonale ingredients is the star, but other offerings such as housemade granola, green salads, and more all deserve praise and love as well.

Other Avenues Grocery Cooperative

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Other Avenues started as a part of a grassroots movement to provide groceries to people for wholesale prices, a part of “The People’s Food System.” The last standing among these stores, it became an official coop in 1999. They boast a 100 percent certified organic produce section and serve the Outer Sunset neighborhood.

Other Avenues Grocery Cooperative

Niles Pie Company

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The pie company and bakery features sweet and savory pies with fruit and produce fillings. The pies can be picked up at a retail store in Union City or at a variety of farmers markets in the Bay Area, including Old Oakland, Willow Glen in San Jose, and Montclair in Oakland. They also offer a Friday Supper Club which includes organic, seasonal dishes.

Cheese Board Collective Pizzeria

Cheese Board Collective Pizzeria

One of the OG food co-ops in Northern California and a pioneer of the thin crust sourdough vegetarian daily special slice, the place is going as strong as ever with a line out the door most days, and selling upwards of thousands of pies on the weekends. They have a robust cheese counter and many delectable baked goods as well. Over the years, Cheeseboard has spawned and inspired other pizza/bakery coops too including Arizmendi, Sliver, and Dimond Slice.

Cheese Board Collective Pizzeria

The Local Butcher Shop

The Local Butcher Shop

The 10-year-old butcher Berkeley shop transitioned to a worker-owned co-op in the middle of the pandemic in 2021, although the idea didn’t come out of nowhere; they’d been planning the change for about two years. The local meat shop sells locally-sourced and sustainably raised cuts, made-in-house sausages, meat broths, meatballs, and more. They also hold classes so you can learn how to make your own sausage and butcher a chicken.

The Local Butcher Shop

Three Stone Hearth

Three Stone Hearth is a long-standing community kitchen in Berkeley that started as a to-go spot and is now a market. They still primarily focus on slow cooked homemade broths, hearty soups, pickles and made-in-house sauces. They also sell curated pantry items such as sardines, local bacon from the Baconer, a host of cultured beverages including kefir and kombuchas, and more.

Oceanview Diner

The nearly 40-year-old diner in West Berkeley known as Bette’s Oceanview has a storied history, known for fluffy pancakes and takeout pizza from the to-go counter. In recent times, the family-run business decided to close. However, to the delight of many patrons, workers banded together and recently reopened it under the new name, Oceanview Diner — and as a cooperatively-run business. The menu remains the same. 

Alchemy Collective Cafe and Roaster

Alchemy Collective Cafe and Roaster

This Black-owned, collectively run cafe and roaster features pour-overs, cold brews, and espresso drinks. The cafe also serves made-on-site tamales. Their roasted coffee beans are available for sale via subscription or wholesale.

Alchemy Collective Cafe and Roaster

A Taste of Denmark Bakery

A Taste of Denmark Bakery

The original location of Neldam’s Danish Bakery, Neldam’s, became Taste of Denmark after some of its longterm employees decided to re-open it when Neldam’s closed after being in business for 81 years. Taste of Denmark continues the legacy of Danish and French pastries and cakes. The bakery features a similar menu with croissants, danishes, custom cakes (including wedding cakes).

A Taste of Denmark Bakery

Mandela Grocery Cooperative

Mandela Grocery Cooperative

This West Oakland neighborhood grocery store features many great pantry staples, organic produce, and fruit — all with a focus on community health and well-being. The shop sources from local farms and vendors (some of which are also coops). Anyone using SNAP/EBT also receives 50 percent off California-grown fruits and vegetables at the store. The store also has regular healthy cooking classes and other events.

Mandela Grocery Cooperative

Understory Oakland

This restaurant and commissary kitchen opened during the pandemic and just officially became a worker-run cooperative, also snagging the Emerging Leadership award from the James Beard Foundation. The restaurant serves cuisines that reflect the diversity of its worker-owners, including Filipino, Moroccan, Mexican, and Lao foods. The menu also features daily vegan specials, and many weekends, the space hosts pop-ups from immigrant-run businesses from Oakland Bloom’s kitchen incubator program. Brunch is now offered on both Saturday and Sunday.

Hasta Muerte Coffee

Located in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, this coffee shop received national attention for refusing to serve uniformed police officers in 2018. The cafe serves strong espresso drinks, baked goods, and grain bowls, and is a kid-friendly environment. Besides coffee, there’s also kombucha, agua frescas, and more.

Rainbow Grocery

Rainbow Grocery

This fabulous store first opened in the Mission district in 1975, later moving to SoMa and doubling its size. The natural food store has everything a San Francisco Bay Area person would want, including beautiful organic produce, organic baby products and gear, and so much more.

Rainbow Grocery

Arizmendi Bakery

This bakery inspired by the Cheeseboard Collective is similarly tasty and affordable. The San Francisco, Oakland, and Emeryville locations have slightly different menus. The vegetarian sourdough crust pizza topped with seasonale ingredients is the star, but other offerings such as housemade granola, green salads, and more all deserve praise and love as well.

Other Avenues Grocery Cooperative

Other Avenues Grocery Cooperative

Other Avenues started as a part of a grassroots movement to provide groceries to people for wholesale prices, a part of “The People’s Food System.” The last standing among these stores, it became an official coop in 1999. They boast a 100 percent certified organic produce section and serve the Outer Sunset neighborhood.

Other Avenues Grocery Cooperative

Niles Pie Company

The pie company and bakery features sweet and savory pies with fruit and produce fillings. The pies can be picked up at a retail store in Union City or at a variety of farmers markets in the Bay Area, including Old Oakland, Willow Glen in San Jose, and Montclair in Oakland. They also offer a Friday Supper Club which includes organic, seasonal dishes.

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