Main Street Kitchen and Café 15 (located in Oakland) are owned and operated by a husband and wife team with almost 40 years of restaurant experience between them. The Chef, Arash, began his culinary career in the kitchens of Amsterdam, where he acquired the bulk of his speed and skill on the line. He eventually opened his own bistro, but his dream to come to America held strong. And so it was that he found himself in the Bay Area.
In 2004, he began what he refers to as finishing school. He learned more of the finer techniques of modern and traditional cooking at the acclaimed Eccolo in Berkeley, CA, but more importantly, he learned about the vast selection and high quality of produce and product available in the Bay Area. Arash acquired a vast network of farmers at the local markets and restaurant suppliers that consistently give high quality for the best prices.
Main Street Kitchen has another team member – the Chef’s wife & partner, Lauren. With a degree in design and advertising, she is the artist who dreams of the inviting space, the company logo, and the manager of all the social media. Lauren, has herself, been in the restaurant industry since 1997, working as a hostess, waitress, bartender, manager, corporate trainer, banquet captain, catering coordinator, and now, as an owner. Through these experiences, she learned the fine art of service to her costumers and to her team. She learned how to lead and how to motivate, and teach the skills required to give great service.
Living the Dream
In the summer of 2008, Arash and Lauren set out to open a quick service restaurant that would offer amazing quality product for reasonable prices. After searching out several locations, they settled on a downtrodden corner in the heart of Downtown Oakland. The area was far from a prime location, but had lots of potential. Shortly after taking over the lease, the American economy collapsed, but Arash and Lauren forged on. Using vision and long hours of hard work, they turned an old greasy burger joint into Café 15.
After seven years of hard work and personal attention, Café 15 has managed to not only make it, but to succeed. By working smart and buying smart, Arash and Lauren are able to keep a very close hand on expenses.
Part of the brilliance of Café 15 is in the menu offered for that particular location. Nothing like it was available in the area, they set themselves apart by focusing on the high quality ingredients and being green minded. All natural, seasonal, local, wild, organic and biodegradable is their mantra. With this outlook, Arash and Laurent continue down this road in a new location in their home town Walnut Creek, choosing to extend the familial warmth using a design aesthetic that feels more like home than a restaurant. An open kitchen gives the illusion that one is simply standing at a friend’s house while they prepare the evening’s meal so much so that guests loosen the boundary between the kitchen and the restaurant, and often mistakenly cross that boundary.
This homey dining room decor allowed for the use of plates and catering platters from estate sales and swap meets and as well as keeping waste out of the trash bin. It gives the added feeling of dining at home with family. At Main Street Kitchen, you are like our family, and with family, it doesn’t matter if they match, but simply look good. Below small hung, yet interesting light fixtures and the effect is a sense of sitting at one’s dining room, not out to lunch. There is hope that the neighborhood feeling and extended family they loved so much in Oakland can continue to grow in Walnut Creek.