Reem Assil dreams of channeling her community organizing past into a delicious, neighborhood-empowering bakery in Oakland.
Assil hopes to raise at least $35,000 via a Kickstarter campaign to help towards a projected cost of $300,000 to help transform Reem's from a catering company that serves farmer's markets and special events to a permanent bakery that will both employ and bring together people in the Fruitvale neighborhood where she has secured a space.
As she explains in the campaign video, it was on a trip to Beirut where Assil had an epiphany inside a street corner bakery. She noticed that the freshly baked flatbreads that flew out of the oven into customers' hands was a unifying daily activity that could be applied here at home. She strives to create a place where you can "literally feel the warmth."
One of the specialty items for Reem's is man'oushe, a hot, griddled flatbread that is topped with vegetables or meat and then rolled up. It is a ubiquitous street food snack in the Arab world, but not as easy to find in the Bay Area.
Reem's Kickstarter campaign is one of three finalists in the OpenTable Restaurant OPEN 2016 contest, which will donate an additional $15,000 to the project that raises the most money by September 10.