West Oakland's (Coffee) Renaissance

West Oakland has experienced robust evolution over the past several decades. The historic jazz & blues district along 7th Street is now a commuter hub and a developing arts and café scene. Further afield, petite hot spots can be found sprinkled between warehouses, inside warehouses, and across from or next to other hot spots, making it a concentrated area for strong coffee and sandwich options.

Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club ^
1545 Willow Street

A petite outpost of the famed coffee spot in San Francisco, Trouble in Oakland is known – and revered -- for their cinnamon toast, muscular espresso drinks (no decaf!) and stark white venue.

 

10th & Wood ^
945 Wood Street

Tucked into a snug storefront, 10th and Wood calls itself an “eclectic neighborhood cafe” that specializes in “Oakland cuisine.” Translation: An affordable, soul-inflected sandwich spot. They also ferment and bottle their own kombucha in house.

 

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Zellas Soulful Kitchen in Mandela Foods Coop ^
1430 7th Street

A kitchen inside this jewel of a food coop, Zellas makes hand-crafted sandwiches, salads, grilled meat and fish, and seasonally inspired meals for take-out or to enjoy at the outdoor seating. The distinctly California cuisine uses local produce, so menu selections change with the seasons and include vegetarian and gluten-free options.

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Mandela Foods Cooperative ^
1430 7th Street

When this little-engine-that-could first opened on Mandela Parkway, it was a breath of fresh air— a place that offered fresh produce to this corner of Oakland that did not have single a grocery store. Breathing strong after 8 years, the co-op grocery specializes in affordable, organic fare, as well as health-conscious prepared foods.

 

7th Street Café
1612 7th Street

Also known as Revolution Cafe or "Rev Cafe", 7th Street Cafe is “a socially responsible social enterprise of the One Fam (non-profit) organization serving West Oakland. In addition to “blazing fast "free" wi-fi, they serve good ol' fashion southern fried chicken & waffles or fresh-cut fries, as well as pour-over organic coffee & espresso.”

 

Brown Sugar Kitchen ^
2534 Mandela Parkway

New-school, old-soul food famous for their fried chicken and ethereal waffles. Diner-style counter seats and tables fill up fast with lines out the door on weekends.

 

Tamales la Oaxaqueña ^
2608 Market Street

Banana-leaf wrapped tamales filled with rich, earthy, chile-filled moles, including vegetarian options. The chef is Rosa Oliva, and she runs a lean kitchen brimming with bitter, sweet, and smoky Oaxacan flavors.

 

Drip Line ^
1940 Union Street, #21

A real bakery in West Oakland, glory be! Chef Nora hails from Blue Bottle Coffee, so you know she knows what she’s doing. Outstanding pastry and breakfast/lunch bowl options in a cool, fresh space. What a breath of fresh air.

 

FuseBOX ^
2311A Magnolia St. 

Korean-fusion fare that defies pigeonholing. Wedged into an old warehouse next to artist studios, FuseBOX is an unlikely and undisputed success story. Sunhui Chang and his wife Ellen opened this hot-spot in May 2012 and have since grown only hotter, thanks in part to their take on KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) and kimchi pickles.

 

Milky Way Coffee
1724 Mandela Parkway

A brand-newcomer on the West Oakland scene, Milky Way is a bright, fresh spot offering “Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch”. There’s a long list of sandwiches and a friendly, smiling face to welcome you.

 

Kilivolt Coffee ^
1829 Mandela Parkway

Bagels, sandwiches, the ever-popular toast, and super-strength coffee in mid-industrial West Oakland. The electrician-owner renovated the space himself and offers a welcome-to-our-neighborhood spirit.

 

Pretty Lady Restaurant ^
1733 Peralta Street

A West Oakland staple since the 50s and under newer ownership since about 2004, Pretty Lady is a cutie-pie pit-stop in this industrial terrain. Much-loved for its history and its no-frills affordable breakfasts and lunches with a side of kimchi, if requested.

Anne Culbertson