Fist of Flour Doughjo is OPEN! Reflections on the past six open days

Just in case you’ve missed it, we have officially opened the door to the Doughjo for limited dinner service, weekly from 5-9pm Wednesday-Sunday. We have been open six whole days! (at the time of this post) and we’re going strong, despite several minor obstacles we’ve encountered during all of this including the top oven blow out, the almost electrical meltdown, and learning how to use the hold/mute feature properly on our new phone. I hope I’m not over-sharing with everyone here, but this is how I blog.

I want everyone to know, we will start this small, and grow into our new shell, just like we did with our First trailer, heck, just like our first few BYO private parties in my back yard with the first hand built pizza oven. I overheard a customer tonight say they had been in attendance to one of those early parties and had my “backyard pizza.” That was four years ago, in the winter of 2010, maybe the spring. Tonight, another blast from the Laurel past came in who worked with the Oakland Food Connection when we were first starting out, slingin at the Farmers market in the Giant Burger parking lot in the fall of 2010. I hope the customer who always paid with $2 bills finds out we’re back in the Laurel, and stops in to say hi. I do remember a lot of cold rainy mornings back then in the early days. What did happen to all of our rain this year by the way?

I do find it rather ironic, I and my crew have spent the last three Bay area winters working through all kinds of conditions in a 10×10 fabric tent, and now we’ve taken shelter under some brick and mortar in the driest year and warmest winter for some time, right across the street from where we went public without actual permission from anyone of authority over such matters. Cosmic solid with a twist perhaps? Not sure, but it feels good being where we are. I looked at several places around Oakland before finding our new digs: Downtown, Mid town, Temescal, Emeryville border, you name it, if it had a for rent sign I was knockin. We even tried to make a couple deals, thought we had this or that, and none of those panned out. I think we were supposed to land right here, close to home where we had planted roots. I mean I must’ve sat and stared a dozen times over at Roma Pizza from the Giant Burger parking lot with a terrible hangover at 9am saturday morning going, I wonder what kind of thing they got going there? I bet they’d sell. I dunno, I wasn’t quite ready for that. I think I had only sold 20-30 pizzas by then over a couple weekends. But I saw it. I thought someday, maybe, a little tiny takeaway spot. I vaguely remember wondering if they’d call the cops or the health department on us because we were a similar business operating as a rogue unit of one guy. Just me. Little did I know, they weren’t inviting anyone of authority around that place lemme tell ya…

Now I stand in the “fishbowl” as we affectionately call our storefront of glass and security bars, gazing across MacArthur Boulevard at the Giant Burger parking lot, looking back at a simpler time where ideas and inspiration were all around me. That feeling is back again. A new space, a new set of ovens and a whole bunch of new menu ideas and extended hours in the works. Not to say I haven’t had the feeling all along, every step of the way, but the entity reaches a certain point where its alive, sustaining, growing, moving, doing, learning, adapting and surviving without as much help from me. It’s a good feeling, and a scary one too. I believe the line that comes to mind was “feed me Seymour.”

Come see us at the Doughjo, 4166 MacArthur Blvd, right off the High St. exit from 580. Please use appropriate navigational devices to guide you. I think most of our immediate neighbors have been following their sense of smell. We start taking the night’s orders at 4:30. Call 510 531-6367. Revised_Limited_menu012314

2 thoughts on “Fist of Flour Doughjo is OPEN! Reflections on the past six open days

  1. Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein)

    Sorry to be commenting again on this, but wanted to add that it seems I was charged sales tax twice — as it’s built into the cash price already. Seems that for credit card payments, if Square is going to add sales tax automatically, the price to be be input by you for credit card payments is what’s on the menu minus the 9% sales tax. Thanks again, though, and I’m sure you’ll iron out this issue soon.

  2. Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein)

    Hello, I really liked reading your story of how this project came to be visualized and then baked and offered to the Laurel by you and your crew. As a neighborhood resident, I feel lucky and appreciative. I bought a big pizza tonight, half and half of two kinds, and very much enjoyed it. There was an annoying problem, though: I didn’t know there was an option to pay by credit card, and when I asked if I could tonight, was glad to hear a yes. However, I was not informed there would be a fee for it which turned out to be 11.8% above the menu price. After paying, I noticed I was charged more than the menu price, and assumed it was the sales tax as I went out without doing the math. Upon returning (ordered as a walk-in and came back to get it) I asked why there was the extra charge. The nice counterwoman said that the extra $3.06 “was a Square fee.” Now I see from the emailed receipt that $2.34 was sales tax and the rest the Square fee. Calling it a Square fee at all is a bit weird — all food establishments and any business I’ve dealt with except gas stations takes credit cards but absorbs the fee they’re paying to whoever makes that possible, whether Square, a bank, PayPal, etc. As a business owner myself, that’s what I do – absorb it. Anyway, it’s up to you to do that or not, but you should let your customers know what your policy is before they pay. What I would have liked from the counter staff was a simple, “Sure, we take credit cards, but you’ll be paying an extra $3.06.” That works out to an 11.8% extra above the $26 price — something I would not have done, and would have just pulled out cash if I’d been properly warned. I think the woman tonight at the counter understood and was apologetic (despite not really taking responsibility that it’s a business choice of yours, not really “a Square fee”), but it would be great if all your staff were trained to explain to your customers that there’s an unusual extra charge for using credit cards. All that said, I think your place is great, I loved the pizza, and I hope you stay, grow, and prosper. Congratulations on fulfilling your dream and serving our great neighborhood.

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