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A Los Angeles floral designer named Joseph Free was brought in to style the real flowers on the big day.
Then, this weekend, Reem Acra debuted her Fall 2018 bridal collection.
The bakery will feature plenty of seating, and Assil said she also plans to offer good coffee, an array of Middle Eastern pastries, and street food breakfast items such as fatteh: a kind of fried pita that’s layered like bread pudding, with chickpeas, yogurt, olive oil, and various spices.
When asked how her prior work as a labor organizer would inform the kind of business she wants to run, Assil said she’s very conscious of the way that gentrification is playing out in Oakland and wants to do her part to offer a living wage to workers who have existing barriers to employment — refugees and the formerly incarcerated, for example — and to integrate her business into the existing community.
She enrolled in a baking program at Laney College; worked at Arizmendi Bakery to hone her craft; and, finally, with the help of San Francisco’s La Cocina kitchen incubator program, set up her own business — Reem’s — which allowed her to sell bread at several Bay Area farmers’ markets, including the Friday market in Old Oakland.
Now, Assil is getting ready to take her business to the next level: She’s finalizing the terms on a lease for what will be a brick-and-mortar bakery in the Fruitvale district.
'@reem_acra servin' up some serious DIY @rodarte garlands for bridal week.
If all goes according to plan, the bakery will open at a still-undisclosed location in Fruitvale Village in early 2017.
“I wanted to bring that warmth and hospitality back [to the Bay Area] and show people those Arab traditions,” she said.
Back in Oakland, where she had worked as a community and labor organizer, Assil set about launching a career change.
In many ways, then, Assil feels Fruitvale is the ideal neighborhood for her bakery, in part because of the area’s vibrant Middle Eastern population, and because one of her great pleasures has been making connections with Latino customers, with whom she’ll chat about how the Mexican comal was influenced by things like the saj.
Shadi Askari-Farhat, the designer behind Tbags Los Angeles, launched MISA in Spring 2016.
Assil, who is of Syrian and Palestinian descent, explained the central role of the corner bakery in the Middle East — as a social hub and a place where people could feel a deep connection to their community.