Opening a new grocery store and eatery during a pandemic could try the nerves of the best of us, but Oakland native Corinne Kinczel is a gal who successfully weathered a divorce while raising young children, so this chef/nutritionist already knows how to keep her world thriving and fed through adversity.
Kinczel also admits to a fondness for her city’s history and loves that her new market at Brooklyn Basin allows her to be a participant in an important revitalization project at the Port of Oakland.
“I love old buildings,” she says. “I drove by [Brooklyn Basin] for years trying to see what they were doing.”
In 2016, Kinczel and her life and work partner Brady Bellis took over Rocky’s Market on Leimert in Oakmore. They have maintained both the continuity and the ambience of the neighborhood’s old grocery store, which Rocky Dudum opened in 1961. He sold it to Kinczel and Bellis in 2015 and they set about upgrading the store’s products by switching to premium, local, and organic goods in every case possible. The chef put her catering background to work in the prepared-foods section, and they’ve also set up a weekly food truck event, adding their house-smoked tri tip and baby back ribs to the festivities.
When the duo made the decision to expand Rocky’s to Brooklyn Basin, they stepped into the grand vision for a brand-new mixed commercial and residential neighborhood in a formerly industrial part of the city. The market and eatery occupy one corner of the huge, airy 9th Avenue Terminal structure, and the operation also utilizes an expansive, partially covered (seasonally heated) outdoor area that opens seamlessly onto paved areas that connect to a dedicated parking lot and the San Francisco Bay Trail. Whether you’re arriving by car, foot, or bicycle, staying distanced is a cinch.
Inside the market, you’ll find organic produce from local farms like Full Belly, Blue House, Blossom Bluff, Hidden Star, Riverdog, and Castlemont Farm and Gardens (a project of the Oakland Unified School District), plus a great selection of local beverages and packaged goods. A highlight is Kinzcel’s menu of prepared foods, which continue her Two Local Girls catering business, started previously when she also worked as a personal chef.
Early risers might go all out for the Basin Breakfast Sammy on a croissant or brioche bun with lemon aioli, melted Havarti, caramelized onions, house-made bacon or sausage, two poached organic farm eggs topped with lemon zest. For a seasonal late-summer lunch, try the grilled corn with heirloom tomatoes and arugula topped with house-made bacon or grilled smoked paprika prawns. Kinzcel shares a taste from “The Kitchen” with this signature seasonal salad recipe.
Rocky’s Market in Oakmore
1440 Leimert Blvd., Oakland
Rocky’s Market at Brooklyn Basin
288 9th Ave., Oakland
Photos by Stephanie Amberg