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Ten years ago, Assil came home from her trip feeling like this was what was missing here in the States — not bakeries per se, though the East Bay has a relative dearth of bakeries that specialize in freshly baked Middle Eastern breads.Rather, Assil was interested in providing a kind of refuge for the community — a place where, “despite the political turmoil, you could find a sense of calm and a sense of home.” The main specialty at Reem’s will be the man’oushe, a kind of flatbread that is a popular street food throughout the Levantine region of the Middle East — in Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon.Back in Oakland, where she had worked as a community and labor organizer, Assil set about launching a career change.She enrolled in a baking program at Laney College; worked at Arizmendi Bakery to hone her craft; and, finally, with the help of San Francisco’s La Cocina kitchen incubator program, set up her own business — Reem’s — which allowed her to sell bread at several Bay Area farmers’ markets, including the Friday market in Old Oakland.The website design itself is pretty clean and easy to navigate. Play 90, 80, 75 and even 30 ball speed bingo games at Reem.The colour scheme is black but it doesn’t feel too dark due to all the bling and glitz. The choice is endless and tickets start from just a penny each.OT & Reem kick it by the Dukkan stoop to catch up and discuss OT's latest endeavor, his infamous trip to Cannes, but most importantly, his interview with Gary Vaynerchuk.During the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, OT caught up with Gary Vee a...

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In essence, Dukkan is the simple joy of companionship and spirited discussion.

Now, Assil is getting ready to take her business to the next level: She’s finalizing the terms on a lease for what will be a brick-and-mortar bakery in the Fruitvale district.

Reem’s California recently capped off a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised roughly ,000 — well over Assil’s original ,000 goal — that will go toward funding what she estimates will be a 0,000 build-out.

Reem Assil was part way through a soul-searching trip along the coast of Syria and Lebanon when she walked into a corner bakery in Beirut, felt the warmth of the place, and realized that she had finally found what she was looking for.

“I wanted to bring that warmth and hospitality back [to the Bay Area] and show people those Arab traditions,” she said.