Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 9, 2019

Make no Spinning Bones about it

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

It always amazes me to read complaints from folks about the proliferation of too many nail salons and too many Boba places and bemoan the fact that we don’t have enough unique establishments in Alameda.   Then when an interesting concept does try to open in Alameda (and establish business practices to make sure they can stay in business) there are others (maybe the same people) who then attempt to either stop the business from opening or severely limit the ability of that business to do business to stay in business.

A quick aside: you can be happy about neat new places opening in the City without crapping all over the concept of a bubble tea joint or a nail salon.  Because, look, if those businesses weren’t making money and providing income for their owners, they’d be closed down by now.  Perhaps we should be marveling at the entrepreneurial spirit of these small business owners rather than assuming an air of superiority because you, personally, have no idea who drinks bubble tea or gets their nails done so you can’t fathom how there are so many of these joints are open.

Anyway, the latest Planning Board brouhaha comes in the form of a new proposed barbecue restaurant on Park Street: Spinning Bones.   The brouhaha is over a small patio area in the back of the space. which was used by the bar that existed there without proper permits.  The restaurant is trying to get the proper use permit to use the space but it appears that residents who have suffered through the rowdy, drunk bar patrons at a bar down the street are attempting to punish the new restaurant tenants because of bad behavior from a previous and different use location.

It appears that the business is only seeking enough space for 15 customers in the back patio, which doesn’t seem unreasonable and according to the staff report the allowable operating hours for these types of uses for the zoning in that area is 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM. but staff is suggesting an end time of 9:00 PM to minimize the impact on residents which seems reasonable.

But what is unreasonable is the fact that one of the neighbors attempted to tank the alcohol license for the new business because of noise from construction and the possibility of too much noise when the business opens.  Not only that some residents want the Planning Board to limit the overall operating hours for the restaurant as well.

I guess we’ll see how business friendly this Planning Board is if they’re willing to limit, beyond the zoned and allowable operating hours, because of the complaints of residents who live in a mixed use neighborhood.

Staff is recommending approval of the patio use but that the use permit can be reviewed if there are three verified complaints.  Based on the complaint activity of residential neighbors, it looks like the business owners will need to mind this activity carefully because they aren’t shy about filing complaints.



  1. The Planning Board should do a taste test. If the barbecue is any good, then grant the permit.

    Comment by dave — September 9, 2019 @ 6:29 am

    • Proposing that a Bay Area barbecue place submit to a taste test to qualify for permits is dead giveaway of NIMBY tendencies. It’s a set up for failure.

      Comment by MP — September 9, 2019 @ 9:43 am

  2. Raintree Studios occupied the space for 35 years. Hard to imagine that there was ever a Bar there and ‘people would remember noise’.

    Comment by frank — September 9, 2019 @ 7:51 am

    • Pretty sure the bar that is referred to is the Club House, a few doors up the street.

      Comment by dave — September 9, 2019 @ 7:57 am

      • Ooops, Brian said it first

        Comment by dave — September 9, 2019 @ 7:58 am

  3. The bar that residents are upset about is a couple doors down.

    Comment by BMac — September 9, 2019 @ 7:52 am

    • Then that makes even less sense as to why the neighbors are upset. At least if it was a replacement of the bar space I could understand and empathize with the bad feelings but this is just bizarre.

      Comment by Lauren Do — September 9, 2019 @ 8:07 am

      • The two places are close enough that people are probably worried the noise & rowdiness will double. Having had noise problems myself with a local business that refused to follow rules, I can empathize with them.

        That said, a 9PM cutoff plus an agreement to have no speakers, music etc would probably be fine. The real solution is to apply same limits to the bar (and enforce them).

        Comment by dave — September 9, 2019 @ 8:33 am

      • Same landlord. Obviously different applicant.

        Comment by BMac — September 9, 2019 @ 8:34 am

  4. I did a little research on the Chef, and his name is Michael Yakura. He was the Executive Chef of a restaurant called Ozumo in Oakland for over 4 years. They have locations in San Jose and San Francisco, but the one in Oakland closed. Not sure why the one in Oakland closed — I loved it – it was one of my favorites.

    I think we should welcome him to Alameda. For a business district like Park Street, it’s important to have a healthy mix of retail and restaurants. Here’s to his success in Alameda!

    Comment by Karen Bey — September 9, 2019 @ 8:00 am

    • The rent went way up on the Oakland location, and business declined once that area filled up with other choices. Ironically, that corner (Grand/Broadway) location is still empty, though other restaurants (Brown Sugar Kitchen, Mixt) and a clothing store have opened up on that same block. Fingers crossed he can make a go of it here, it would be a nice addition to that stretch of Park.

      Comment by Kristen — September 9, 2019 @ 4:51 pm

  5. Something tells me that Michael’s crowd at Spinning Bones will be quite differrent from the crowd at the Club House. I copied this article about Michael Yakura from a piece written about the Dobbs Ferry in San Francisco, a California Bistro in the Hayes Valley District:

    Mike Yakura, Executive Chef

    Michael Yakura was the Corporate Chef of Ozumo Concepts International which manages and oversees the Ozumo Restaurants in San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Monica, as well as the Sonoma Wine Garden, a new “wine bar” concept. Ozumo is a contemporary Japanese restaurant that specializes in all aspects of Japanese cuisine from sushi, robata-yaki, tempura, and nabemono in an upscale interior with polished service. For 4 and-a-half years Yakura was at the helm of the San Francisco Ozumo and was proud to finally be able to craft the cuisine of his family’s heritage. After all it was the influence of his 102 year-old grandmother and his Nisei (second generation Japanese) parents that inspired him to move away from a career in design and pursue a professional culinary career.

    In 2003 Yakura was appointed the Executive Chef at Le Colonial San Francisco, and continued the restaurant’s tradition of serving contemporary Vietnamese cuisine with French colonial influences. His enhancement of the menu brought the restaurant to three-star status as determined by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer, and he was honored as one of the “Rising Star Chefs of 2006”.

    Yakura received a Bachelor of Arts in Design from San Francisco State University in 1995 and worked professionally in the design field as a graphic designer and project manager. He has also appeared on the television programs Bravo’s Top Chef (season 1 and 2), California Country and Feast or Famine, a culinary reality show that he co-hosted for almost three years. When away from his busy life in the kitchen, Yakura, enjoys spending time with his wife Andrea and their three children Miles, Davis and Sami.

    Comment by Karen Bey — September 9, 2019 @ 8:38 am

  6. He has put a lot of $$$ into this Restaurant. Hopefully it will be a success.

    Comment by frank — September 9, 2019 @ 12:06 pm

  7. The complaint seems a bit silly at first. But a bit of sleuthing via Google Maps’ satellite pic does show what the issue might be – a single property (with multiple units – I counted at least 5) borders along both the Club House and Spinning Bones. The side of the property adjacent with the Club House has only one unit and there is a bit of space in between them, but the majority of the other units are directly adjacent with Spinning Bones, right up against its patio. I think a 9pm cutoff and no speakers is a fair compromise for everyone.,-122.2457545,128a,35y,16.38h/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x808f86bdab7cf557:0xca8fae5fb0ce6797!8m2!3d37.7613782!4d-122.2455173

    Comment by JRB — September 9, 2019 @ 1:05 pm

  8. Looks like the renters who are neighbors to the restaurant would be losing access to what has been a shared patio. Idk, you guys, this one might actually be complicated

    Comment by Gaylon — September 9, 2019 @ 1:55 pm

  9. If he’s invested alot of money in the restaurant, it’s hard to imagine that he hasn’t done his due diligence and worked it out with his neighbors.

    Comment by Karen Bey — September 9, 2019 @ 3:04 pm

    • Is it though? I wouldn’t be at all surprised, especially if he doesn’t consider renters as his neighbors. That isn’t uncommon in this town.

      Comment by Gaylon — September 9, 2019 @ 3:12 pm

      • Are we making assumptions here? Lets hope they can work it out.

        Comment by Karen Bey — September 9, 2019 @ 3:17 pm

      • Are we making assumptions here? Lets hope for the best, that they can work it out.

        Comment by Karen Bey — September 9, 2019 @ 3:21 pm

  10. While on the topic, there are two new restaurants on Park that I “just noticed” this weekend. One is Cholita Linda where Flavors of India used to be and the other, I think, is called Just Pho You – which has me confessing that I haven’t made an attempt yet at Lauren Do’s all-day+ pho recipe – where a ramen place used to be. Anyone been/reviewed?

    Comment by MP — September 9, 2019 @ 6:53 pm

    • MP Cholita Linda has been open some time and is very good … many trips there.
      Made Pho You is a few months open now and is also very good.

      Comment by Ron Mooney — September 10, 2019 @ 8:24 am

    • Have gone to Pho You twice already. It’s a family owned and run business and the food has been excellent. Owner was very friendly and said he had previously owned a restaurant in San Leandro.

      Comment by Serena T Chen — September 11, 2019 @ 10:54 am

  11. I’m one of the owners of Spinning Bones and would very much like to speak with the creator of this post. We appreciate your support and have gotten completely railroaded by the city every step of the way. We also are tenants and were told that the city of Alameda wanted to revitalize Park Street and bring in new local stores and restaurants. We have leveraged our collective life savings to build this building and treatment by the city has been completely egregious. In any case, we both really appreciate the supportive comments and if there is a way to connect directly that would be great.

    Comment by Danny — September 11, 2019 @ 1:30 pm

  12. I am curious what exact kind of cooking method Spinning Bones will be using. I know it is barbecue, but does that mean charcoal/wood burning?

    Comment by Noelle Robbins — October 7, 2019 @ 7:59 am

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