As a Korean-American foodie who resides in West Oakland, I’m lucky that there’s a slew of fine eateries not too far from our home all along Telegraph Avenue in Temescal.
Valencia is a humming thoroughfare teeming with restaurants, bars, vintage stores, galleries, furniture vendors, shops hawking expensive curiosities, construction projects, pigeons, and one small, loud street performer with a bright blue guitar. I don’t know what the street was like in the 90s, but it’s changed remarkably since I arrived just seven years ago. The blocks have built up, becoming denser. Spaces have changed hands, but fewer proprietors without public relations teams still hold court over the bike lanes, shimmering cars, and busy pedestrian paths. Notably, many restaurants have closed, and many new ones have taken their place. The climate brims with potential, yet it’s simultaneously harsh: with so many eating options tangling in such close proximity, survivors must stake out unique corners of the market — or place a premium on a convenience they provide.