Will a new California law open up opportunities for Oakland’s home cooks?

Olivia Villa walks less than 300 steps to work every morning. She’s the owner of Libby’s West Coast BBQ which she runs as a licensed home cook out of her own kitchen. California recently passed a law to become the only state in the U.S. legalizing the sale of home-cooked food to the public. Villa lives in Riverside County, the first county in California to issue permits to home cooks. According to the law, each county or jurisdiction in the state has to opt-in for the law to apply. Alameda Co

Oakland small business owners turn to hybrid entrepreneurship to launch their passion projects

Latoya McInnis’ first fashion sale was a bag of her old clothes. She sold it to a thrift shop on Polk Street in San Francisco for $300. She was just 15 years old. McInnis now owns CocoaCentric, an accessory and jewelry line she started in 2017. McInnis spent years working as a stylist for Bay Area musicians and performing artists. She didn’t have enough funding to start her own business full-time, so she began part-time. “For some people it’s hard to think long term about having a business bec

Oakland’s Chinatown business owners struggle to weather the pandemic

Charles Hong is the second-generation owner of Shandong Restaurant. His father started the business in 1991, and the restaurant has been in Oakland’s Chinatown for almost 30 years now. “Before COVID I could put around 12 tables and serve 50 people at the same time,” Hong said. Now, he says he can only accommodate three to four tables because of social distancing rules. But he still needs to hire staff, including chefs and waiters. “The cost of people dining in is bigger than the money I can m

Soul food restaurants spice up Oakland’s vegan culinary landscape

Ronnishia Johnson and Rheema Calloway founded The Vegan Hood Chefs in 2017 to blend healthy, plant-based food with the rich, flavorful seasoning of soul food. Johnson and Calloway are among a host of new vegan soul restaurant owners catering to residents with plant-based diets, which have been growing in popularity among Millennials and Gen Z. Both Johnson and Calloway emphasize the importance of using their platform to inform people about health issues. A recent study published by the American

Gluten-free restaurants in Oakland go against the grain to provide safe, healthy fare

Sadie Scheffer baked gluten-free bread for the first time in 2009 after trying to impress her college crush. Scheffer found out he had a gluten intolerance and taught herself to make the specialized bread, so she could win him over. She succeeded at both. Now the two have been married for four-and-a-half years and they both work at the gluten-free sourdough bakery that Scheffer owns. She started Bread Srsly (pronounced ‘Seriously’) with just $100. Spending on gluten-free foods in the U.S. was