Oakland Burger Joint to permanently close next month

November 28, 2023 by No Comments

After nearly three years of serving mouthwatering vegan burgers and milkshakes, Malibu’s Oakland flagship location will be bidding farewell on Wednesday, December 27. Owner Darren Preston cites the high operating costs associated with the large space as the primary reason for the closure, acknowledging that he hasn’t been fully utilizing the space like a traditional restaurant might.

Despite this setback, Malibu’s is not calling it quits. The visionary entrepreneur behind this plant-based culinary haven is actively exploring new locations within Oakland and is confident that a fresh start awaits.

Preston also candidly shared his mixed feelings about the Piedmont Avenue location. While he took pride in being a Black-owned business in an upscale neighborhood, the financial pressures, sometimes reaching $10,000 to $11,000 per month in rent and utilities, ultimately proved unsustainable.

The business has faced its fair share of challenges over the years. In March 2022, Preston was forced to file for bankruptcy due to a predatory loan that jeopardized the future of Malibu’s. With the support of the Small Business Majority, Preston bravely shared his story at a Senate hearing, advocating for stricter regulations to protect Black entrepreneurs from predatory lending practices.

Amidst these challenges, Preston welcomed his second child into the world in late November, fueling his determination to create a more stable and less financially precarious environment for his family.

The closure of the Piedmont Avenue location marks a turning point for Malibu’s, but it is far from the end. Preston remains optimistic about the future, confident that a new chapter will unfold in Oakland, offering a fresh start and a continued commitment to tantalizing vegan cuisine.

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