This post was written by Faustina Ngo, Business Outreach Intern and Laurel District resident.
East Oakland has countless amazing local small businesses that provide important services to the community around them. Particularly, the Laurel District is a place you don’t want to miss out on. The places featured in this blog post are personal recommendations from the author, who actually lives in this district herself. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to explore Laurel after seeing the spots we’ve shared with you. Happy visiting!
Start off your day with some yummy brunch! Cafe of the Bay serves meals all-day, but are most famous for their superb breakfast items, such as french toast with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Their interior decor gives off a traditional American diner vibe, as they offer a variety of items like grits, home-fried potatoes, burgers, and salads. Also, if you get a bit thirsty while enjoying a meal there, no worries. They also serve lots of beverages here, with plenty of selection for your tastebuds.
While you’re out, stop by The Laurel Cyclery, a “Best Bike Shop” nominee by East Bay Express for two consecutive years! They offer new and refurbished bikes for people of all ages, and also sell repair services and bike accessories. They are an inclusive environment, speaking three languages in the store: English, Vietnamese, and Chinese. The owner of the store has over 20 years of experience in his field, and is loved by all his customers.
Since you’re in the Laurel district, why not treat yourself? Showin’ Out Hair Gallery & Boutique on Macarthur Blvd is owned by an Oakland native, Tillie, who has been managing the business for over 25 years. They offer a multitude of beauty services, including: haircuts, coloring, weaving, waxing, eyelash extensions, and more. On top of that, the store also carries handbags, jewelry, and holiday cards, among other items. Here, you can get your beauty fix and run errands at the same time!
Hungry from running errands or a day out? Try Phnom Penh House Restaurant! They’re a family owned small business with over 30 years of experience. This is a Laurel district fan-favorite that serves Cambodian and Asian Fusion foods. Some popular menu items include their char broil pork chops, papaya salad, stuffed chicken wings, and more.
What better way to end the day than to head to the bar? Laurel Lounge is on MacArthur Blvd, close to all the action in the Laurel District. Outside the bar, they have murals that celebrate Oakland’s diversity. Inside, sports channels featuring teams like the Warriors are always playing. They also have a T.V., pool table, and a jukebox enjoyed by many locals and regulars. Their drinks are fairly priced, and the vibes here are amazing. You’re sure to have a good time here at the lounge!
The Laurel district is known for having their annual summer street fair for almost 20 years. This festival brings together vibrant music and cultures from all around the globe, and feature vendors that sell cool items in the community. This street fair is also Oakland Magazine’s “Best Cultural Event” 2018 Nominee! Check out more about the Laurel district street fair here.
Tell us your favorite places in the Laurel District on social media @shopoaklandnow. Click here to see more small businesses in the Laurel District.