Reem’s California, a famous San Francisco bakery, experienced an incident where its central oven exploded early Wednesday morning, prompting the store to close its doors for the remainder of the month after the damages were found to be beyond repair, said owner and chef Reem Assil.
In a statement, Assil said, “The five employees who were present were thankfully not in the crossfire of the explosion and were unharmed.” She said the staff were able to localize the damage and avoid any unnecessary injuries successfully.
Initial inspections have not yet discovered the origin of the explosion that has forced the bakery’s San Francisco branch to shut down all of its operations. The incident also came amid a time when takeout and delivery services are barely just providing sufficient revenue to the store.
The time when it moved to 2901 Mission Street, Reem’s made history as San Francisco’s first full-fledged Arab bakery. The shop’s owner, Assil, had previously worked for several successful pop-up events where she showcased her own flatbreads called Man’oushe Mondays. The new bakery opened in March, just a few days before officials implemented the shelter-in-place order amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Reem’s said it would focus on investing in cross-training and staff development over the next few weeks while authorities assess the damage done by the explosion. Officials said they would continue compensating the shop’s employees until they could safely reopen in 2021.
Helping the community
Despite hundreds of thousands of independent eateries across the nation closing their doors due to the difficulties of the pandemic, Assil said she does not plan on including her bakery among them. She said, “We know the threat of this fate is real, but we are committed to building resilience across our restaurants so that we can pave a different path and tell a different story.”
The bakery would turn its attention to supporting its original Fruitvale branch found in Oakland that was transformed into a commissary kitchen earlier this year. The store donated hundreds of free meals to East Bay residents suffering amid the coronavirus pandemic, the San Francisco Gate reported.
Reem’s said, “No material thing can replace the value of the lives of essential workers who put their bodies on the line to keep our community fed and nourished.” It also noted the resilience of its staff for handling the incident so well and kept the damage to a minimum.