We are Grease Box, Oakland
We are the destination for gluten-free, uncompromisingly delicious comfort food.
We started Grease Box on a mission to make something valuable that was appealing to everyone. Inspired by my own celiac disease which made dining out difficult and which could only be treated by a completely gluten-free diet, we opened Grease Box in 2013 to make the most delicious diner-style comfort food you've ever had—gluten-free or not. Here, we make beautiful organic food for myself and others and never get sick. BOOM.
"In a tiny, shack-like spot in Oakland, there's a menu filled with fried chicken, gluten-free breads, vegan food, and burgers. There's something for everyone, plus beer, at this small but mighty breakfast and lunch spot. "
Meet Our Grub
The menu is inspired by traditional recipes and comfort food combining our Southern flare with a California twist. We bake gluten-free yeasted breads along with other baked goods, using locally sourced grains.
"...I would eat bread from Grease Box every day."
"The chicken was perfectly cooked and damn delicious. "
"...Best waffle I have ever had. Gluten free OR otherwise."
Our Growth So Far
We became profitable in our second year of business—which is very rare for restaurants.
Growth from 2014 to 2015
Sales in 2016
Our Journey So Far
We've spent the past three years mastering our recipes and building a tightknit, devoted community in Oakland.
*Projections are dependent on variables outside of our control and may not materialize as displayed.
Our very first pop up as Grease Box, and we received press immediately:
The Bold Italic - THE GREASE BOX MOBILE KITCHEN
Luke Tsai said our fried chicken is "amazingly good" in an article that very eloquently introduced us to Oakland as a legit business.
Signed the lease and opened the cafe at 942 Stanford Ave.
Started serving local beer and wine!
Named an essential East Bay restaurant by Eater SF!
"I knew Greasebox when it was Lizzy and a grill on a sidewalk. It's not easy to go from that to owning your own restaurant, and yet I am not surprised that this is where Greasebox finds itself. When you cook with that much heart, and become such an integral part of feeding your community, you're bound to expand. "
FEAST WITH US!
When I found out I had celiac disease, I didn't realize what a long road I had to recovery. I had existed my whole life with extreme pain, anxiety, migraines and a host of other health problems that seemed to me to be just part of life. I had to re-learn how to eat because the only cure for celiac disease is going on a very strict and completely gluten free diet. As I eventually discovered, things like cross contamination (with gluten) and certified gluten free food products began to matter very much to me, as it greatly affected my health.
Restaurants became dangerous and servers and chefs were put off by my specific requests to prepare my food in a certain manner (separately from all the other food and completely without gluten). I swore off sandwiches and eventually swore off eating at restaurants all together. No more toast and jam because gluten free bread was too bad to be eaten on its own. No more fried anything because cross contamination is everywhere (for example, even though french fries are naturally gluten free, I often can't eat them because they are fried in the same oil as breaded chicken or onion rings or the like).
I began to make all my own food and then sharing it with my friends. I worked at a farmers market and came home with so much produce that we started having big dinners every weekend for our friends and whoever else wanted to show up. I still worked in restaurants, more specifically a wood fired pizza place, because life is full of irony. I learned a lot about food at Pizzaiolo, but I couldn't eat anything that I was making and serving. My path was obvious, and I started to see there was a fast growing demand for innovative gluten free cuisine.
I wanted natural, real food made with healthful ingredients, but I still wanted a thick slice of sourdough with butter and I still wanted Fried Chicken (damnit!). So, I set out to make my food dreams come true. I researched and tested hundreds of recipes for dozens of things like muffins, cornbread, scones and so on. I began to sell my food through pop-ups and was able to more deeply understand what the gluten free market was like while meeting TONS of people who are, for one reason or another, drawn to gluten free cuisine. The problem was, there were slow food restaurants with locally sourced ingredients and seasonally inspired high end cuisine that was full of gluten and there were crappy but totally gluten free cafes full of cupcakes and cookies and badly made faux bread products. Most of the folks I met who wanted to eat gluten free were trying to be more healthy, not just fill up on cupcakes. There was a rather large missing piece in the market: Gluten Free Slow Food (made with organic and locally sourced all natural ingredients and without the use of additives and chemical stabilizers and binders). So, we filled that void with a project I called the Grease Box mobile kitchen. Then we opened a brick and mortar location in a funky shack on a mostly quiet street in North Oakland.
Grease Box existed for 3 1/2 years in a tiny, run down shack in a half industrial half residential neighborhood. In spite of the facilities, we created a bustling brunch spot full of American favorites like Fried Chicken and Waffles, Burgers, Bacon and Eggs, Sourdough Toast, Muffins, Donuts and so on. We gathered a handful of local beers and ciders, linked up with some local farms and a coffee roaster, and kept with the California philosophy of simple, fresh and natural cuisine. We made everything in house, from scratch, using simple and traditional recipes and natural, healthful ingredients, and we made it all completely Gluten Free (including the beer! ha HA).
We developed a hearty group of regulars from all over the Bay area, some drive an hour or more to see us, and we had a good amount of neighborhood folks that considered us their local spot for things like morning coffee and a muffin or a fried chicken sandwich delivered on a rainy afternoon. We grew our business through social media, word of mouth, and by taking advantage of the marketing services provided by tech food delivery apps, TryCaviar and UberEats.
I chose Wefunder because I want people to really invest in us and our success, not just give us a hand out. I want to also be able to reach a wider audience and get people excited about the kind of innovative cuisine we are creating. Even with the prevalence of connectivity provided by social media, its hard to fundraise without a platform like Wefunder.
We have had success with Kiva, a crowd sourced funding site, but they only offer microloans of up to $10,000. In order to properly build and design our new space, we need a bigger investment and I love that it will come from lots of people! I want our investors to be able to enjoy the fruits of their investment and be involved with our growth as a company.