After 10 long years, Cosecha, a popular Mexican cafe in Oakland, is leaving Swan’s Market.
“We’ve lost 80% of our regular business because of COVID,” said Dominica Rice-Cisneros, owner of Cosecha.
“The line for our cafe would be right here, this whole front area at lunch crunch,” she explained, gesturing across the entirety of the food hall. “We’re used to that five days a week of lunch activity down here from the offices, and then at dinner for people going to the theater or sporting events, but we don’t have that anymore. Nobody has that right now.”
Inside Swan’s Market, businesses like izakaya B-Dama, remain temporarily closed, while others, such as Rosamunde Sausage Grill, have permanently closed their doors for good back in September.
However, despite the current situation, other restaurants are still holding strong. Caribbean restaurant Miss Ollie’s remains open, as well as café and wine bar The Cook And Her Farmer, smoothie shop Super Juiced, fish market Sincere Seafood and meat market Taylor’s Sausage.
Berkeleyside reported that Cosecha’s lease is only until the end of the month and will operate for the last time on March 27. However, the venture of owner Rice-Cisneros isn’t ending anytime soon as she plans to open her new restaurant on April 27 in a long-closed fire station in Dimond District at 3459 Champion Street.
“Bombera means female firefighter,” she explained. “The project is in a location that used to be a firehouse, but it was only built for men to stay there. It wasn’t built for women and men. This is one of the reasons why it was shut down like 25 years ago. … I think it needs my full attention, especially right now more than ever because there’s no wiggle room for mistakes.”
Rice-Cisneros bought the property in 2017, planning to open Bombera and keeping Cosecha open at the same time. However, COVID-19 halted her plans with permitting and renovations being delayed. Meanwhile, Cosecha was facing a downtime.
“I still haven’t received my PPP loan,” she said. “We applied in February and we’re still being told to reapply. And so I don’t know how we can maintain both properties. So moving into the back garden of the new project is going to be our best bet long-term, so that we’re not paying more rent.”
Bombera is designed to best suit the COVID situation, with both a back garden and a front patio. The team at Cosecha will move, bringing with them all-time favorites from the Cosecha menu, such as the Cosecha Market Salad, the aguas frescas, and some of their cocktails.
With the new space, Rice-Cisneros will be able to bring in new equipment that she never got to fit in the small space that Swan’s Market offers, like a mesquite grill and a wood-burning oven.