All over the Bay Area, creatives, techies, and foodies are looking for a new place to set up shop while they can still afford the rent. Uptown Oakland, extending north past the 19th Street BART station in a triangle between Telegraph and Broadway Streets, is the newest place to scratch that itch. Restaurants, bars, and creative office space are springing up everywhere in restored Art Deco masterpieces in what was Oakland’s early 20th-century shopping district. On just a few blocks of Broadway, the former auto-dealership strip, you’ll find a variety of food and drink options curated by some of the most creative culinary minds on the West Coast, from bespoke mixologists to wood-fired pizza chefs, and everyone in between. Let the food tour begin!
First round flights
Pacing is everything on a food tour, so start by savoring a beer flight at Drake’s Dealership, a former Dodge showroom turned taproom for San Leandro microbrewery Drake’s. Muscle car memorabilia and painted signs colored into the bricks fill the space, which includes an enclosed outdoor patio with casual seating. Drake’s flagship IPA, pale ale and hefeweizen are essential for your flight; top it off with a porter, coffee ale, or one of their “hopcycle” varieties. Split a wood-fired pizza with your companions to hold you over until the next stop. Drake’s is open between 11:30 am and 11 pm from Sunday to Wednesday, and stays open until 1 am from Thursday to Saturday.
Foodie geeks double stop
Head two blocks south down Broadway for your second stop, an unusual double-header. Next door to each other you’ll find two of restaurateur, food writer, and chef Daniel Patterson’s local haunts.
First, grab a bite of healthy fast-food at Locol, a hip soul food joint with freshly sourced ingredients for anything-but-standard burgers, nuggets, breakfast burritos and bowls. Patterson’s co-owner, Los Angeles chef Roy Choi, is known as the creator of the Korean taco trucks called Kogi, which practically started the street food / taco truck revolution in California. Together, these two food stars have created a mouthwatering menu for 3 - 7 USD that is hearty and heavenly. They close at 9 pm, so make this an early stop.
After you’ve eaten your fill at Locol, slip into Plum Bar, right next door. Patterson’s upscale cocktail club has a small, focused drink menu featuring seasonal, local ingredients. It’s the perfect place to wind down and take a breath, enjoying the majestic buildings from giant picture windows.
Sweet treats at the Sweet Bar Bakery
Now that you’ve done two rounds of food and drink, it’s about time to transition from savory to sweet. Sweet Bar Bakery has something for everyone, with gluten-free, sugar-free, organic, and vegan pastry options moving through the picture-perfect dessert cases. The bakery’s founder, Mani Niall, earned a reputation in Los Angeles as a private chef to Michael Jackson and owner of his own beloved bakery before relocating to Oakland, inside a former candy factory. The gluten-free, chocolate-dipped peanut butter cupcake is an undisputed champion of cupcakes, but you might have to try the salty caramel, pumpkin ginger, and lemon drop varieties too, just to make sure. Make sure to get there before 7 pm, when doors close.
Round off the tour with a nightcap at Mua, a cavernous bar and pub sandwiched between still-operating auto dealerships at Broadway and 25th Street. The outdoor patio at MUA, enclosed in foliage, is the perfect spot to order the Mexico Mule (that’s mescal and ginger beer, finished with lime and cilantro) and reflect on all the tasty food you’ve just had. Need more? Mua’s got a full restaurant menu until 11 pm, too. Watermelon salad with feta and mint, shiitake mushrooms on a goat cheese crostini and gougeres cheese puffs are perfect for late-night noshing.
Take a menu hop all around Broadway, Telegraph, and the rest of Uptown Oakland for a comprehensive tour of this incredible foodie neighborhood. As both new and established chefs move into the neighborhood, the options continue to abound. Why not take advantage of this special moment in the city’s evolution and eat your heart out?
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