Hooked on a Feeling at Feel Good Kitchen
Successful baker takes his talents to new heights.
Rick Kellner of Feel Good Bakery has added a restaurant, Feel Good Kitchen, to his culinary lineup in Alameda.
Photo by Chris Duffey
Rick Kellner, owner of Feel Good Bakery, raised the bar on bread in the Bay Area 10 years ago. His newest venture, Feel Good Kitchen, is also on the rise. Kellner is passionate about his businesses and takes feeling good very seriously.
What drove you to go from being a baker to a restaurateur?
Most people don’t know that several years ago I had a café in the Mariner Square Athletic Club. I didn’t get a lot of exposure there, but I got experience. My background in the food industry also makes the transition a natural one for me. Opening a breakfast and lunch spot in Alameda is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and besides, there’s a definite connection between my two businesses—both encourage healthy, happy ways of living and eating. Upon popular demand, we will start having a bread section at the restaurant and start serving slices of pizza at both locations.
Tell me more about Feel Good Kitchen.
The restaurant, located in the Encinal Market Center, is a place where I want people to sit back, relax, and feel good. It’s a slower pace than the bakery, but we offer the same quality of service and have unique offerings compared to other breakfast and lunch spots. Our yeasted Belgian waffles, corned beef hash and house-made English muffins are some of our best sellers, but then again, so are our egg dishes and salads. We use farm-direct purveyors and mostly all organic and natural ingredients and definitely no GMOs. And we have a new chef whom I am very excited about.
Would you describe yourself as a health nut?
Yeah, I guess I would. We all have a choice as to what we put in our mouths and for me, eating nutritiously is an integral part of my being. I’ve focused on healthy living and fitness for over 30 years. I get my meats and seafood from Baron’s and like supporting other local suppliers who are also committed to high-quality food. I’m not into soda or white sugar but am big on salads and tending to my organic garden from which I eat. What I choose to eat is what I choose to serve. I consider it an honor and responsibility to feed the community. I wouldn’t know how else to live or have a food business.
Do you have any guilty food pleasures or favorite comfort foods?
Hmm, I guess I’d have to say I turn to frozen treats for comfort. I love coconut milk and almond milk frozen pints with fun concoctions in them. You can get them at Alameda Natural Grocery and other health food stores. I especially like the truffle fries at Hobnob and the buffalo fries from Scolari’s. It’s important for me to splurge now and again, keeping an enjoyable food balance in my life.
How did you choose Alameda as your destination for starting a business?
I grew up on an island on the East Coast, Manhattan, where there is an intense side of living, and decided to move to a West Coast island, Alameda, where it’s not so intense but still progressive and interesting. I was living in San Francisco when I met Donna [Layburn] from the Marketplace and saw what she was developing there. I knew instantly that that was where I wanted my bakery to open and was so happy it was located in Alameda. I absolutely love the feeling of community here and am thrilled with the changes I’ve witnessed over the past 10 years. I have a sense that things are just going to get better. I’m also incredibly grateful for how I have been embraced by the community.