Quiet Storm suddenly abated, but a new one may be slowly brewing.
You likely won't recognize it by its name — AVA Café + Lounge — or location (just north of Centre Avenue on Craig Street.) But take a hard look at the chairs and the vegan-friendly options, and chances are you'll find yourself on familiar ground.
Jill MacDowell, former owner/chef at the now-shuttered Quiet Storm, in Friendship, is running the month-old food operation at Justin Strong's AVA. (Strong, who ran Shadow Lounge and its sister bar, AVA, in East Liberty, is a fellow transplant to the North Oakland location.)
MacDowell acknowledges the clientele at the old Shadow Lounge and Quiet Storm don't overlap much, and the new venue is not the sum of its parts. For starters, "I don't have a kitchen," MacDowell says. For now, the menu is a "placeholder," limited to items like bagels, salads, a tasty tofu wrap and turkey sandwich — plus a couple of specials each day to mix things up.
And even though she "doubts that Quiet Storm Two will ever happen," MacDowell says they're in the process of getting a liquor license and putting together a new kitchen upstairs. That addition will pave the way for a version of MacDowell's popular brunch, and the return of best-sellers like Quiet Storm home fries — by May, she hopes.
And even though MacDowell says it's been difficult to get people through the door, she's hoping that the place will soon look "kind of Quiet Stormish."