You may have wondered about Spice Monkey’s unique setting. The building was once the home of Howden & Sons Tile Company, owned and operated by master tiler Robert Howden, Sr. from 1893 to 1926. The 1920s were a “Golden Age” for tile in the U.S., and this building is the only tile showroom from that era known to survive nearly


During the years his company was in business, Mr. Howden and his team of tile setters decorated the interior and exterior walls of the building with tiles donated from a vast array of tile manufacturers from around the country. Mr. Howden’s intention was for his sons to continue the operation of his tile business in years to come, but his sons declined and the building was later sold.

The building was declared an Oakland Historic Landmark on
November 13, 1984. Fortunately, during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the building’s unique design and structure remained unharmed.

This home of Spice Monkey restaurant was built with attention to detail, a passion for art, and an appreciation for craftsmanship. We are appreciative of Robert Howden’s vision and inspiration and are pleased and honored to share this unique location with you as part of our offering. When we moved into the space, we took extensive measures to restore tiles and remodel the space to keep the integrity of the interiors original design. We wanted to create a beautiful, enjoyable atmosphere for the community.

So let us raise a glass to the memory of Robert Howden, Sr. in appreciation of his beautiful legacy. May his zeal for creativity continue to inspire ours here at Spice Monkey for years to come!

The Spice Monkey Family

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