We made our goal! Thank you to all our generous backers.
We can still use additional funds for things like outdoor furniture, plants, improvements to our parklet, and more, so don't stop yet! We still have a few more hours for you to contribute a few more dollars!
photo by Jenny Oh (@plattyjo), Bay Area Bites
We're struggling against the tide of uninteresting chain stores, and here in Oakland, we're winning. We're staking out neighborhoods with unique and sometimes revolutionary indie businesses, one block at a time. Compared to chains, we can create a better product, present it in a more interesting way, give better service, and keep more of our customers' hard-earned money circulating in our own community, which just makes us all stronger. There's no reason for every city or every neighborhood or every state to be full of the same businesses - this does not enhance our quality of life. When all our towns look and feel the same, what connects us to our surroundings? Why care where we live?
Victory Burger recalls a time before McDonald's, before fast food, before strip malls, when virtually all business was independent. Our city and neighborhood came into its own during the late 1930s and 1940s, when workers migrated here from around the country to work in the local shipyards and factories. This was a time when individuals worked hard, and recognized that sacrifice in service of the common good was necessary, and beneficial.
And now, we're combining the lessons of history with the gritty spirit of our hometown, and adding a modern taste and aesthetic. This is Victory Burger.
We cannot do this project without your help...Victory begins with YOU!
Who Are We?
We're a sister business of Actual Cafe, and another brainchild of Sal Bednarz. We want to build on the excitement and neighborhood feeling we've helped create at San Pablo & Alcatraz. We've gained a committed following from our neighbors who appreciate that we're not every other cafe. We've done interesting and sometimes controversial things, all in the service of making our neighborhood more vibrant and strong.
And the food?
Victory Burger will bring high-quality hamburgers to the Golden Gate District of North Oakland. We'll feature beef from Five Dot Ranch, artisan rolls from Acme Bread Company, organic (mostly) local produce and dairy. In addition to burgers, we'll serve a delicious and unique (vegan) veggie burger, gluten-free bread alternatives, awesome house pickles, other unique sandwiches, with crispy fries and thick milkshakes. We're focused on creating the best possible product from the best possible ingredients, while keeping our prices affordable by minimizing overhead and being really efficient.
photo by Jenny Oh (@plattyjo), Bay Area Bites
We're inspired by one of the best things about the modern food truck movement: those food trucks have proven that it's possible to have a small, simple menu, focus on great execution, present it casually (wrapped in paper), and get people excited. We think that there's a lot more room for this sort of combination of casual atmosphere and high quality - the best kind of street food experience - and we'll deliver it.
Where will your money go?
Building restaurants is expensive work, and we'll be spending many times the amount we're raising here on the kickstarter to pay for all the functional aspects of the place (cooking equipment, plumbing and electrical installations, permits, drawings, and on and on). But grills and tile and concrete and all that mess are not the sexiest things you could contribute toward, so...here's where you come in:
We know if we do the aesthetics of the restaurant right, we'll change the visual experience of the neighborhood, make it a more interesting and livable place, and get passers-by excited about the area and Victory Burger!
We'll build a beautiful facade on Victory Burger, which will make it really stand out, and make our intersection and our neighborhood an even more exciting place than it already is. Your donations will fund this part of the project, helping us pay for big rolling doors, restoration of the wood siding of the building, a nice big patio roof, and other aesthetic elements that you'll be proud of every time you see Victory Burger.
We'll incorporate our facade into the surrounding neighborhood in a unique way, taking advantage of the parklet being built by Actual Cafe and our outdoor patio area to blur the distinction between city outside and restaurant inside.
When will it be done?
We're in the process of getting permits to build the restaurant now, and we expect (barring invasion, hailstorms, occupations, or acts of god) to be open before the end of 2012. Follow our updates for up-to-the-minute details on the project.
What's in it for you?
We appreciate any donation you can make toward the project, and we'll recognize every single donor, even at the $1 level, with a mention on the Victory Burger Facebook page, and permanent mention on our Donor Cloud page on our website.
We have some great rewards, including physical things like Victory Burger product and graphics, meals once we're open, canned pickles and such, but also experiences for our more generous donors like participation in our tasting focus groups, and participation in our Grand Opening VB-Day Ticker Tape Parade! Donors at the higher tiers will also get their names engraved on a plaque to be installed in our patio area once we're done with this.
Also, see our FAQs (below) and the Updates tab on this project for more information and breaking news...
We'll be making a delicious vegan patty, from fresh vegetables/grains/legumes, which will be entirely vegan (and gluten-free), and served on a vegan bun (all our buns will be vegan).
We're excited about providing something extra-special in this area - we've been disappointed by almost all the veggie burgers we've encountered, but we've found a couple exceptions which we're drawing on for inspiration.
We'll also have a dinner salad option, and if you've had the Actual Cafe Real Big Salad, you know that we know salad, so we'll make this one special as well, with great dressing, lots of fresh and some pickled veggies.
We're working on a gluten-free bun alternative, based on fresh corn and cornmeal. It's a takeoff of an arepa (a south american corn cake that's often stuffed with delicious things), but we'll but our own spin on it. We're feverishly recipe testing this right now, and we're closing in on something that we'll be excited about, and think you will, too.
We're building one of our sandwiches around this bread - a slow-roasted pork sandwich with spicy sauce and egg.
The corn-bread will also be vegan on its own, and we'll offer a vegan sandwich variant of it stuffed with fresh and pickled veggies and delicious sauce.
Also, we'll offer all our sandwiches 'deconstructed' (without bun, over mixed greens) for no charge for those of you who prefer.
Five Dot Ranch (http://www.fivedotranch.com) is based in Northern California, near Susanville (just east of Lassen National Forest and near the Nevada border). It is a family-owned enterprise: the Swickard family has been ranching for seven generations, and founded the current ranch in 1959.
They are committed to strict sustainable ranching, land-management, and animal welfare practices. Their cattle are free-range, and fed a diet of pasture grass supplemented with grain (their feed is corn-free). They use no antibiotics or hormones.
Their meat makes the best ground beef we've found for hamburgers - it's got a slightly tangy flavor imparted by their grass diet, but it's subtle, and is brought out nicely by searing over a hot flame. We love it for all these reasons, and think you will, too.
We're pretty darn confident we'll be open in 2012. If things go really well, we'll open in the fall of this year, but we know that this sort of project often gets hung up during the permit application/construction/inspection process for weeks at a time. We know how to manage this process, and we know we'll get it done as quickly as possible without compromising the restaurant, and we'll post updates for backers here about the details of the construction process as it evolves.
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