Restaurant grows with Mission Bay neighborhood

Emin Tekin. Photo: Vivien Want

Located at 1500 Owens Street, Oda opened in 2014 as a crowd-friendly coffeeshop at the University of California at San Francisco. Today it is a full service restaurant with plenty of indoor and outdoor dining serving a growing neighborhood.

Emin Tekin took over the facility in 2018, seeking to build a family-run, community-driven establishment. After training as a cook in Turkey, he arrived in the United States in 2000. Together with his brother, Bawer, he previously owned and operated the former Hayes Valley Terra Brazilis and Hayes & Kebab establishments.

Tekin acquired Oda following a chance meeting with the former owner, Valon Grajqevci, three years ago. He was helping Bawer – who owns SF Kebab nearby – with restoration work at the Mission Bay Orthopedic Institute, where Oda is staying. While delivering food, he met Grajqevci, who said, “I would like you to take control of this place and be able to continue our catering business. At the time, Grajqevci owned several businesses and wanted to spend more time with his family.

Given its location, Oda’s morning crowd tends to consist of patients on their way to surgery. They stop for an Illy coffee or one of Oda’s fresh pastries, baked on site every day. spanakopita and pogaca, a Turkish pastry filled with feta and parsley, are offered. From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tekin typically serves busy administrators during 30-minute lunch breaks. In the afternoon until late evening, the neighbors come to dine and relax.

“Oda has four different personalities,” Tekin said. “In the morning, we provide our clients with the care they need, just as they would with health care. Our lunch customers have limited time, so we move as fast as possible to serve them. The afternoon is more spent socializing and people talking about their day.

From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily, happy hour cocktails and wines are available for $ 9, craft beers $ 6. On Friday nights, a DJ plays salsa and cumbia from 7:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. for what Tekin calls “a mature crowd of European-style revelers.”

“In this industry, serving comfort is the most important thing,” Tekin said.

This means responding to customer requests for bespoke or off-menu items, whether due to restrictions or dietary preferences.

Oda’s offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner include pizzas, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pastas, and other small platters.

“Everything is homemade; nothing is frozen or in cans, ”Tekin said. He changes his menu according to customer demand and seasonal ingredients.

Thanks to the restaurants at Tekin’s head in Hayes Valley, Oda attracts loyal patrons from the San Francisco Symphony, Ballet, and Opera. Former SF Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas regularly drinks his hummus there.

“MTT will tell you ‘Emin makes the best hummus in San Francisco!’ Tekin said.

When Tekin took over Oda, there was a full bar, but the license was on hold. The restaurant now offers seven craft beers, brewed on site. Tekin’s personal favorite is the Mango IPA; customers tend to prefer Elise’s favorite blonde, named after a regular customer.

Tekin often offers its space for fundraising events at no cost, donating a day’s profits to the cause after covering the expenses.

Recently, Oda has extended its hours of operation to include weekends, serving daily specials as well as brunch favorites on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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