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Locol's Community Organizer Weighs In on Sudden Oakland Closure

Bambu de Pistola on that NYT review and what this means for the Bay Area

Locol Oakland
Monica Burton is the deputy editor of

Yesterday, news broke that founders Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson would be closing the Oakland location of socially conscious fast-food mini chain Locol. And today, local Filipino rapper Bambu de Pistola, who partnered with Locol for community outreach, has shared his take on the sudden shuttering on Locol’s Instagram.

De Pistola put a positive spin on the closing of the Uptown Oakland restaurant, writing, “With Uptown’s lease up, we’re finally able to focus our energy on feeding West O and expanding into the East!” The accompanying graphic suggests everything is going “as planned.” But the infamous zero-star review from New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells still seems to smart. De Pistola continues: “[Locol] confused people like Pete, who expected to be catered to [and] served as part of the food elite, [and] was instead met by a delicious meal made for [and] by people from our hood.”

Inside Scoop SF reported yesterday that “the store has been moved to Locol’s West Oakland space (3446 Market St.), which opened as a bakery earlier this year.” The bakery, now Locol’s only operation in the Bay Area, serves an abbreviated menu of to-go items, but Locol’s Instagram account assures fans that that will include “foldies and burgs.”

See de Pistola’s full statement below:

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!

Update 6/19, 10:10 a.m.: Daniel Patterson has also weighed in on the Oakland location’s closing. In an Instagram post, the Locol co-founder reiterated the experimental nature of the Locol project:

Taking risks is how society moves forward. Taking risks means accepting that not everything is going to go right. Otherwise it wouldn't be risky, right? We said it from day one, this is an experiment in real time, and we're going to figure this out as we go. I've done this before, and so has @ridingshotgunla. We changed our industry through our little mom and pop businesses, Coi and Kogi. We're going to change even more with LocoL. Believe that.

@welocol [Instagram]
@dcpatterson [Instagram]
Locol Responds to News of Oakland Closure [ESF]
Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi Close Oakland Locol [E]