Oakland’s Eastlake Little Saigon neighborhood will be swarmed by adorable hordes of Bulbasaur and Butterfree this Saturday, accompanied by phone-toting trainers trying to catch ’em all—and perhaps get their COVID vaccination and eat a bowl of delicious pho while they’re at it.
With Saturday’s event, dubbed Summer Fest, the East Bay-based community org Good Good Eatz is tapping into the power of Pokémon Go to bring foot traffic back to the neighborhood’s restaurants and grocery stores.
“Our mission is to help small food businesses, as well as business and cultural districts in Oakland, pivot into the 21st century,” says Tommy Wong, who runs Good Good Eatz along with co-founder Trinh Banh. “Pokémon Go is still widely played nationally and internationally by a really diverse group of people. It definitely had its heyday when it first started, but it’s still going strong now. And so it’s a tremendous opportunity for us to connect Little Saigon with a way to attract more customers and bring vibrancy back to its streets and parks.”