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Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi Close Oakland Locol

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It’s a blow to the California fast-food chain

Locol Oakland
Patricia Chang
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

In what will no doubt be viewed as a major setback for the socially conscious fast-food brand Locol, founders Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson are closing the restaurant’s uptown Oakland location. Inside Scoop SF broke the news today, reporting that “the store has been moved to Locol’s West Oakland space (3446 Market St.), which opened as a bakery earlier this year.”

The uptown Oakland location opened in May 2016, the brand’s first outpost in the Bay Area and second store opening, after Watts in Los Angeles. The Oakland location is perhaps best known for the now-infamous New York Times review from January 2017, in which Pete Wells goose-egged the restaurant, complaining about the food. (Why would a reporter from The New York Times fly 3,000 miles to go apeshit on a five-dollar burger?,” Patterson asked in a recent profile.) The backlash to the review was swift and severe, but perhaps real damage was done.

It’s been a tumultuous run for the fast-food mini-chain. Following the NYT review, Patterson revealed that the Watts location — in many ways a more fully realized concept — was losing money. A menu overhaul, a food truck, and a new catering operation were meant to help lift the tides. Locol has also gone deeper into the coffee business: Patterson and Choi partnered with Tonx Coffee co-founder Tony Konecny to develop Yes, Plz — a coffee company inspired the Locol’s $1 cup. It’s a big deal. There’s also a possibility that Locol will have a nonprofit component, as Choi suggested just a few weeks ago.

But right now, Locol Bakery is the brand’s only presence in the Bay Area. It opened in West Oakland in March 2017 serving an abbreviated menu of to-go items, coffee, and juices. Eater SF described the Oakland closure as “sudden” and has reached out for more details. Stay tuned.

Locol Closes Uptown Oakland Location [ISSF]
Locol Has Suddenly Shuttered Its Uptown Oakland Location [ESF]