Complex Oakland to Focus on Coffee and Creole Food Instead of Clubbing

by

2 comments
Available Friday nights at Complex Oakland: Dungeness crab, blackened shrimp, and garlic noodles. - INSTAGRAM @CHEFSMELLY
  • Instagram @chefsmelly
  • Available Friday nights at Complex Oakland: Dungeness crab, blackened shrimp, and garlic noodles.

Oscar Edwards saw all of the shiny new high-rise apartment buildings planned for Downtown Oakland and figured the writing was on the wall: There probably wasn’t much of a future in running a nightclub in that neighborhood.

So, Edwards, who owns the three-story downtown Oakland entertainment complex formerly known as Venue, shut down Vinyl, the nightclub on the second floor, and is redoubling his efforts to establish the facility — now called Complex Oakland (420 14th St.) — as a destination for live shows by national hip-hop and rock acts. He’s also putting a renewed focus on something else that he knows people in Oakland care about: food and drink.

The last time What the Fork checked in with Edwards, he had just launched a pop-up restaurant space (Crate) on the first floor of the building. Last summer, he moved the restaurant up to the second floor, where it essentially replaced the nightclub. Pop-up chefs rotated frequently during restaurant’s early days, but right now, the only regular guest is Smelly’s Authentic Creole and Soul Food, which pops up every Friday night with a menu heavy on things like Dungeness crab, blackened prawns, garlic noodles, and “Surf & Turf Fries.” Edwards said he’s now working to fill in the other days of the week — especially the weekday lunch slots — with food truck operators and other aspiring food entrepreneurs who want to work out of a brick-and-mortar space a few times a month.

Meanwhile, the first floor of Complex is in the process of being turned into a coffee shop called Feral, which will be run by the folks behind the Grand Avenue coffee shop Perch. Edwards expects Feral to be ready to open by April 15.

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment
 

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.