Breakroom Cafe! »
Somewhere in my brain there exists a template for the ideal vegan restaurant. I can’t tell you exactly what it is because I don’t totally know myself. Somewhere in the intersection between Candle 79 in New York, and Paradox Cafe in Portland, perhaps? Does that even make sense?
The Breakroom Cafe, I’m sorry to say, is not that perfect restaurant. I kinda psyched you out with that first paragraph though, right? Well, it’s not and here’s why. First, it isn’t completely vegan. On the bright(er?) side, it’s entirely vegetarian and just about everything on the menu is vegan or easily veganizable, although they do charge extra for a switch to vegan cheese or soy milk (boo!) This by no means detracts from its awesomeness—this is not a negative review!—as they still manage to hit several of my vague notions squarely on the head.
Point One: Delicious sandwiches, large variety of. Like Ike’s in San Francisco, Breakroom offers up some fantastic vegan sandwiches that go above and beyond a PB&BO-RING. Unlike Ike’s, they’re not looking to reinvent the wheel here with crazy new flavor combinations. Instead, they feature old standards like a two-layer club sandwich or turkey and bacon on truly excellent breads. The meatball sub features really good homemade meatballs, too! For an extra $2.25, you can get the sandwiches with a side of excellent vegan potato salad that they make there. The potato salad is pretty crazy, it’s like the insides of a spring vegetable masala dosa from Udupi Palace did it with your typical mayo-full picnic potato salad and produced the most marvelous baby. A whiz kid, if you will.
Point Two: Delicious pastries, homemade. Everything in the pastry case is vegan, which includes—along with your standard Black China cupcakes—homemade cheesecake, cookies, and an amazing pumpkin roll deal that is just pudding/sponge cake delectability.
Point Three: Soup! I have not tried this yet, but another patron was having a bowl, and it looked right up my alley.
Point Four: It’s within walking distance of public transportation, only a few blocks from the 12th St. Bart station in Oakland. It’s also between the Oakland FiDi and Chinatown so it’s great, convenient eating for business people and Chinese folks alike!
Also working in their favor are the facts that they are cute and small and have a rooster on their sign, which I’m guessing is a leftover from whatever restaurant was previously in the building. Genius move to keep that!
Points Five through Ten are on the wishlist, and all involve a deep fryer.