This Monday, a wealth of new lunchtime options arived in the Koreatown-Northgate, or KONO, neighborhood with the KONO Food Alley. The KONO Food Alley is a collection of food stands and food trucks that appear at the outdoor space in front of 3188 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland every Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from now until October 10.
Five vendors have been confirmed so far. One is Tacos y Chelas (TacosYChelas.oak), a taco stand headed by chef-owner Gerardo Avila, who has worked at Bay Area restaurants including Nido. Another is Javier Sandes of Javi's Cooking (@javiscooking). Sandes is best known for his Argentinian empanadas, which he also sells at his brick-and-mortar in West Oakland. There's also Curbside Kitchen (@curbside.kitchen), a Filipino-American fusion pop-up from Ray Lozano that serves Filipino burgers and tocino loaded fries. Beverages are provided by Dripdash (@dripdash), which serves Kyoto drip coffee, and LaVidaBoba (@la_vidaboba), a Latinx boba vendor.
The producer of the KONO Food Alley, George Dy, created this summer pop-up as a way to "bring culinary diversity to the KONO area," he said.
"I was pretty frustrated with how traditional dining environments were created," Dy said. Dy brings years of experience with commercial real estate, design, and property management. His last food venture was a commissary kitchen called Kitchen 1014, which allowed caterers to build their businesses within a fully licensed and permitted kitchen — enabling them to bypass many expensive and time-consuming requirements of starting a new business.
When selecting vendors, Dy looked for what he calls "chef-hustlers" — food businesses serving creative, delicious food that haven't yet amassed a large following on social media.
"I'm sure we all know food trucks in the area that are very popular," Dy said. "It's just kind of hard to get your name out sometimes when you're a new food vendor."
Dy hopes that with the launch of KONO Food Alley, guests will talk to the vendors and learn more about their stories and spread the word about their businesses via social media.
"I want [guests] to learn about the vendors and where they came from," Dy said. "Each of these vendors has a really cool background and cool story."
"And I want people to understand that it's not just the food that they're eating, but the people that they're supporting," he added.