Ol’ Yeller Cafe & Market, Oakland CA
Across the street from a high school and not far from the zoo, Ol’ Yeller Cafe & Market is in the right location to get traffic and be noticed by thousands of people every day. As it is open 7 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm, the restaurant is a hub of good, fresh food and a welcoming neighborhood vibe. Beautiful student artwork adorns the walls, celebrating the most important members of the community, the youth. There is even a “Recess Menu” on weekdays from 2-5 pm with kid and adolescent favorites, but we were here on a Sunday morning looking for a fresh and filling breakfast.
The Mexican hot chocolate arrived at the perfect temperature, so August could immediately enjoy it without ruining her ability to taste anything the rest of the day. Mildly sweet, as it should be, the bitter chocolate and cinnamon drink was very tasty.
We shared a traditional breakfast sandwich with all kinds of choices. Two eggs any style, choice of meat, choice of cheese, and mayonnaise come together with your choice of bread. So much to choose! We got the eggs scrambled, with Canadian bacon, American cheese, on a soft roll, with extra (regular) bacon. The eggs were fluffy and the mayonnaise helped give a bit of creamy richness. A thick slice of American cheese melted over smoky, lean, and crispy bacon. The sandwich was perfectly and proportionately layered, and very rich.
One of the specials today was chimichangas, deep fried burritos that are popular in Tex-Mex cuisine, the Southwestern US, and two coastal Mexican states, Sinaloa and Sonora. The chef came out to us to talk about the process of making his beef with “the tender part of chuck roast” (but sorry, we promised not to share his secrets!). With gooey cheese and a crispy flour tortilla, each bite had a myriad of textures and greasy was not one of them. The traditional sides of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream came with it, and like the chimichangas, the salsa and guacamole were house-made. It is that kind of attention to detail, even in making condiments, that makes diners return.
When there is warmer weather, we’ll have to come back to enjoy a meal on the big patio. Likely we’ll make a day of it, going to the zoo first and then, with our ticket stubs, we can get 20% off the tab at Ol Yeller. They’ve only been open since 2012, but they’re working hard to establish themselves in the community by doing things like promoting and supporting local bakers and farmers. Freshness is key, since they “freeze only for emergencies.” We’re happy to have found them here in Oakland, and we like supporting restaurants that support their neighborhood.