When the Saturn Cafe comes to mind it brings up so many happy and satiated memories for me. When I was approached to help with the revival of the Saturn at its new location in Oakland, in a “cloud kitchen” of all places, I was thrilled to be asked. So many tasty memories and so many memories of growing friendships, social justice organizing, and building community connections.
But the memory that truly stands out is the day of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, not the easiest of days to remember. When the earthquake hit I was preparing the news to go on air at KZSC, it was truly frightening as the station on stilts shook violently with records flying and huge hanging speakers rattling overhead in their chains, the building itself was shifting away from the hill to which is was anchored. After the initial quake I walked off campus downhill and headed to the closest haven where I knew I’d find comfort and friendly faces — the Saturn Cafe in its original location on Mission St. There I found myself with staff and friends in the kitchen eating my way through the quickly melting Mud Pies…and figuring out where do we go from here?
As you know, the Saturn’s been around for over 40 years now, and many of you each have your own Saturn stories. It has grown and changed, but never lost focus on three important goals: community, social justice, and the environment. With commitment to a menu that supports all of these while serving up tasty, comforting food.
The pandemic has hit hard in more ways than we all truly understand yet — much like the Loma Prieta earthquake— with wave after wave of after shocks undermining our progress and challenging our resilience. At the start of the pandemic restaurants in the Bay Area were already being crushed by the exorbitant tide of increasing rent.
The new model of cloud kitchens, as guest blogger Jae Larson details in Contactless Pick-Up, Ordering Apps, Robo-Delivery, Ghost Kitchens, gave Saturn the opportunity to persist in a new way. Reviving the Saturn at the Longfellow Hall cloud kitchen has had its own challenges including supply chain woes sourcing your favorite crispy fries and delicious vegan shake bases. (Saturn shakes ARE coming back, more on that soon…)
What makes this revival of the Saturn possible? The team at the Saturn knows that its resilience is grounded in you, the community, and it cannot move forward without you.
We need your help in getting the word out that the SATURN IS BACK in the East Bay and that there are many ways to bring the Saturn home. Please reach out to friends, family, colleagues that you have been wanting to share a meal with and invite them to join you for a pickup picnic in one of the many fun outdoor spaces that the East Bay has to offer. Reach out to those five Bay Area buddies who you have been trying to convince that plant-based food is not only sustainable but delicious, and have them join you for a Saturn eat fest. Encourage your colleagues to try out the Saturn for their next office lunch, via Zoom or onsite. Tantalize your followers with photos, videos, and reels of your favorite Saturn dish before you devour it. Show off your foodie flare when you review us on Yelp, Tripadvisor, and the partner carts (Uber Eats, DoorDash, ChowNow, GrubHub, and FlipDish).
There are many ways to help, even if you aren’t a Bay Area local. Follow the Saturn on Facebook, Instagram, and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter so that you are in the know to share the latest specials, deals, and news. Interested in doing more to get the word out? DM us on Facebook or Instagram, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect.
The Saturn was my haven in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake as I knew that I could connect with people I trusted when I really needed them. The kind of connection that stays with you for decades. The team at the Saturn is really excited to continue to feed you with love. Thank you for the continued support.
— Guest blogger Barb McDonald Loe
Shout out of thanks to all of Saturn fans that have been sharing their photos with us of their taste of Saturn experiences. Pictured above in order off appearance: IG: @godsbathroomfloor, @jaesontrouble; @thatsbennett2u; @bornapaintbrush; @barb_in_rainbowland. Not pictured: IG: @lindseykdean, @bootfagg, @floreciendo77, @ziggy.zuchini. Thanks all!