Mission Pie’s former location at 25th and Mission streets will become Reem’s California, an Arab bakery, by February 2020, its owner said.
Reem Assil, the bakery’s founder, says finding a location in the Mission brings her back to the neighborhood where she got her start in the food business.
“I felt like it was fate to some extent. If there was anywhere I wanted to be, it’s in the Mission,” said Assil.
Assil said she was contacted by the new owners of the building, the Hanhan family, who purchased the structure from Mission Pie co-founders Karen Heisler and Krystin Rubin for $4 million in August.
The Hanhan family contacted Assil because they wanted to have another community-oriented restaurant in the building — a request from the former Mission Pie owners Heisler and Rubin.
It probably helped that Assil, like the Hanhan family, has Palestinian roots.
Reem’s, which has one location in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, specializes in Arab foods with California ingredients. They bake their bread — cakes, scones and flatbreads — in-house. They also have pastries and desserts, as well as beer, wine and soft drinks and juices from Lebanon and Palestine.
“My food is very Arab, but it’s very Californian. It’s what keeps Reem’s interesting,” she said.
Four years ago, Assil began selling items at Thursday’s Mission Community Market. She broke in at La Cocina, a nonprofit that helps immigrants develop food businesses, in 2015 — and then held pop-up events at Mission Pie. These were known as Man’oushe Mondays.
Man’oushe is a flatbread, she said, and every pop-up event they had was packed.
In 2016 Assil opened her first brick-and-mortar location in the transit village at BART’s Fruitvale Station. Like Fruitvale, she said, the Mission, too, is a Latino neighborhood with a rich culture and history that is dealing with gentrification and high rents.
Reem’s also offers catering, and when Mission Local spoke with Assil, she was in the midst of getting through a catering order for 300 people. The new location, she said, will allow her to process more catering orders.
Though Reem’s will be offering the same menu as its Oakland counterpart, its Mission location might add items. Assali said, for example, that she plans to expand her coffee, sweets and pastry offerings — which is something she hasn’t been able to do much of in Fruitvale.
“I’m very fortunate, truly blessed to expand our operations and return to our customer base from where we started,” Assil said. “We get to be rooted in Oakland and in San Francisco.”