California Restaurant Month: Culinary Oakland Emerges from the Shadows

Food and Beverage

Oakland, California, has been basking in the national limelight recently, and it’s largely due to the city’s thriving food scene. But what about those ice cream parlours and fast food joints we all used to know and love?


Fentons Creamery, an Oakland icon since 1894. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Next to its professional sports franchises – who hasn’t heard of the Oakland Raiders or the Oakland A’s? – Oaktown, as the locals like to refer to it, is best known as the place that gave birth to the Hells Angels, the Black Panthers, and Dreyers Grand Ice Cream.

When it comes to fine dining, however, Oakland has long dwelled in the shadows of not only San Francisco to the West, but also Berkeley to the North.

Locally, Oaktown is FAR far more famous for its indigenous fast food joints – read: Kwik Way Drive-In – and its ice cream parlours – such as Fentons Creamery, which has a history of 110 years – than for its purveyors of haute cuisine.

With apologies to Bay Wolf Restaurant, which opened on Piedmont Avenue in 1975, there have only been a few exceptions.

All that has changed in recent years, however, as Oakland – with its lower rents – has managed to attract a mushrooming menagerie of highly respected chefs and restauranteurs.

They have taken advantage of the lower costs on the Sunny Side of the Bay to open critically acclaimed food and beverage outlets, turning the city into a virtual Foodie’s Paradise.

Prix Fixe Menus

And if you’re worried about prices, take note! More than 50 of these restaurants will take part in Oakland’s fourth annual Restaurant Week, which will run from 17 to 26 January 2014.

During that 10 day period, these eateries will offer prix fixe meals at US$20, US$30, and US$40 for lunch and/or dinner – and in most cases that is far cheaper than you would normally pay if you were ordering ala carte. 

“Oakland Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to experience our destination. Food is a universal language that brings people together, and visitors will enjoy getting to know Oakland through our diverse culinary offerings,” says Alison Best, President and CEO of Visit Oakland.

“People around the country are talking about Oakland’s food scene, yet many within an hour’s distance have yet to experience it. Restaurant Week is the time to dine in Oakland!”

Reality Check

That’s all well and good. And on my next trip home, I hope to check some of these places out.

More importantly, however, I’m hoping that some of those ice cream parlours and fast food joints that I grew up with are still serving those calorie laden sundaes and greasy shoe-string potatoes that I loved as a kid.

I know that Doggie Diner has closed. But what about Caspers Famous Hot Dogs or The Original Kasper’s Hot Dogs?

Caspers with a ‘C’ or Kasper’s with a ‘K’? We all had a preference!

Could someone please tell me if they are still in business (and if they still have a branch in Oakland)?

If so, that will be my FIRST stop on my next trip home! Then I will go check out some of those critically acclaimed (and newly opened) restaurants …

Your Response Wanted!

Do you live in Oakland? Have you ever been to Oakland? If so, what do you think of the Town’s eating out scene?

Please post your comment in the Comment Box below or on Facebook at the following link: Accidental Travel Writer on Facebook. And don’t forget to LIKE us while you’re there!

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