Navi Kitchen, the much hyped “Cal-Indian” cafe by rock star chef Preeti Mistry, will finally unveil its highly anticipated pizzas to the neighborhood on Saturday, July 15th. Since the establishment opened back in April, neighbors have eagerly awaited dinner service that will bring evening foot-traffic and vibrancy to the strip of Adeline on the Emeryville-Oakland Border.
Mistry has been teasing the pizza’s through social media and working to assemble the right staff. She noted recruiting the right people as one of the biggest challenges for new restaurants like hers. “The increasing cost of living in the Bay Area doesn’t help. We’d love to pay people more but there’s only so much we can charge for food and therefore only so much we can pay them.”
Navi’s Neapolitan-style pizzas with Indian-influenced toppings and flavors include The Kheema Kale (Lamb & Beef tomato ), Leelu Patso (fenugreek pesto, potato), Preeti’s Peppah (Pepperoni, pickled peppers) and Love Veggie (Eggplant crush, marinated paneer).
According to their menu, their 14″ pie serves 2-3 people and are priced between $19.50 – $22. Pies are made daily in their small kitchen and quantities are limited.
The reviews on Navi have been mostly positive with a few cost-sensitive customers scoffing at the prices and mandatory 15% “Fair Pay” service fee that goes directly to staff. The patio area has been praised by the neighborhood for its ambiance and dog-friendliness.
Mistri identifies the challenges that establishments like hers are in with increasing labor mandates, but is rolling up her sleeves trying to change her industry and the mindsets of diners. “We’ve found ourselves as the ones trying to solve the world’s problems,” speaking for small business restauranteurs. “But this industry was built on the oppression of women and people of color. Changing that dynamic and what people expect to pay for food is going to be hard when there’s hundreds of years of history behind it.”
Mistri is an advocate for many social causes and the interior of Navi is adorned with posters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and stances on issues like the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. She and her wife Ann Nadeau donate to local non-profits like Destiny Arts Center by hosting their annual party.
Mistry will also be releasing her first cookbook, The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook: Indian Spice, Oakland Soul in October.
Navi will also be expanding its hours until 8 pm to include dinner service. Pizza’s will begin being served at 4 pm.
Wed – Sun: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Mon & Tues: Closed
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