A Home for Hospitality

Dive deeper into the story of Reem Assil to learn about the food, sustainability, and social justice work that makes Reem’s California a leader in the Bay Area food community.

source: Luke Beard Photography

How Reem Started:
Inspired by the moments of community people share when eating fresh warm bread at Arab street corner bakeries in Lebanon, and a yearning to create a sense of home in the United States, Reem founded Reem’s California. Her vision was to offer a welcoming space with delicious food and jobs with livable wages. After graduating from La Cocina, the preeminent women’s food business incubator program, Reem opened her first restaurant in Oakland in May 2017. It was a bright, airy space that spilled out onto a courtyard where people connected, from across cultures, through the warmth of bread and her hospitality. In 2020 Reem continued to grow her impact across the Bay by opening a second restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Reem’s Community Work:
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Reem believes it’s not enough to simply serve good food. Reem is a pioneer and leader in advocating for employment benefits and sustainable living wages, specifically for those in marginalized communities. Baked into her business model are core values of community building, social justice, and sustainability. She’s working to create an ecosystem by locally sourcing all her ingredients, and conscientiously partnering with nearby businesses to reduce her carbon footprint.

And Then Came COVID:
As with many restaurants, Reem and her business felt the impact of the pandemic deeply. However, while the doors of Reem’s Oakland closed, a new door opened for the community she’s so deeply committed to serving. After rethinking her operations, Reem realized increased unemployment meant a rise in food insecurity in the Bay Area. The need was there, and she decided to fill it. What once was a restaurant in Fruitvale now operates as a bustling commissary kitchen producing thousands of meals each week to feed vulnerable populations. As with other challenges, Reem uses the love, passion, and integrity central to her business and herself to rise above and create new opportunities to give back.

Reem at Bi-Rite:
At Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, our mission of Creating Community Through Food® means we partner with people and companies working toward something greater. In Reem there’s an aligned commitment to sustainability, to giving back to the community, and stemming the tide of food insecurity in the Bay Area. We’re thrilled to be featuring Reem’s products including Classic Falafel, Cheese & Nigella Fatayer, and Za’atar Mana’eesh available in-store in both Markets and on Instacart. And we congratulate Reem on being a 2022 James Beard Award Outstanding Chef finalist!

Reem’s California 2901 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 #FeelTheWarmth