We had the good fortune of connecting with May Seto Wasem and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi May, how do you think about risk?
I’m probably a bad one to ask. I always take the risk first and make it happen afterwards. I’ve bitten off more than I can chew my entire life and (knock on wood) I’ve been fortunate enough to continue doing it this way. You need to have a healthy attitude, supportive network, energy to create, a little intuition, and empathy for those you drag along for the ride. If you have all that, it’s okay to be a little impulsive. And if you’re not at least a little impulsive, you’ll never take the risk.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The thing I’m most excited about right now is our newest restaurant concept Carbona Pizza! My husband, David Wasem, and I own Grand Lake Kitchen. It’s an all day cafe (with two locations) that’s busy for brunch and goes right into dinner with a full bar and vivacious atmosphere. Pre-covid anyways. With all the state restrictions, we were nervous about our newest/largest location surviving the winter. So we found a used pizza oven and started doing Detroit-Style pizzas in the late summer. Carbona Pizza popped up in the Fall and never left, I guess! The pizzas are delicious and so different. The vibe is punk rock and unapologetic. It’s pretty lucky that in a dark time, we found this crazy little thing that is so happy and fun. We are currently looking for new locations to grow this concept, possibly in small hotels with a similar vibe.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would eat almost the entire time! Oakland has an amazing food scene. So many different kinds of businesses and people emerging in non-traditional spaces. Places to eat – Grand Lake Kitchen and Carbona Pizza, of course! Lion Dance Cafe (vegan singaporean cuisine), Delage (omakase), Okkonpopup @ Soba Ichi, Comal Next Door, Junes Pizza, Tay Ho, Jong Ga (Korean BBQ), Commis (a classic), Aburaya (JFC), Nido’s Backyard, Shakewell Where we would drink – The Alley – Jameson the whole time. Hang outs – Jack London Square (doggy walks and wine breaks), Brooklyn Basin (toddler scootering), Lake Merritt, Lake Temescal Other – Oaktown Spice Shop is a must visit! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom! Jean Seto. We may not have the typical mother-daughter relationship, but it works for us and I would not be where I am without her patience and love.
Instagram: @grandlakekitchen … @carbonapizza … @m.a.s.e.w.a
Remy Anthes May Seto