Paradise Park Cafe Opens in North OaklandAug 17, 2017 09:47AM ● By Fran Miller
The Park Café group has done it again. By opening yet another of its vibrant restaurants, this time in North Oakland, they manage to instantly create an inclusive gathering spot, as well as help to define the neighborhood. Their newest, ParadisePark Café at the corner of San Pablo and Alcatraz, borrows from the successful recipe of their San Francisco spots Dolores Park Cafe, Precita Park Cafe, and Duboce Park Café: cozy and welcoming digs with a come-as-you-are-and-stay-awhile vibe, a made from scratch menu with options for every diet, and great Equator coffee.
The space, formerly Actual Café, features an open floor plan with floor-to-ceiling windows and refined contemporary touches. Seating is indoor and outdoor, with individual and communal tables. Owners Rachel Herbert and Dana Oppenheim have retained some ‘historic’ portions from Actual, such as the noted wall of stickers, but have added their own flourishes including peacock-blue walls, a cozy corner nook filled with toys for the kids, and works by local artists. Currently on display are bold, bright, and complex illustrations by Berkeley muralist Nigel Sussman whose influences include Martin Handford and MC Escher.
The menu features local and sustainable ingredients, with an inspired commitment to various dietary needs. Choices include healthy, lighter options, as well as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes. Highlights include:
- Paradise Salad (organic greens, grilled asparagus, fresh carrots, radish, mint, sugar snap peas, pickled red onion, fried onion, and toasted peanuts in a citrus vinaigrette with choice of Vietnamese style chicken sausage or chickpea tofu)
- House made Quinoa Burger (roasted cauliflower, black beans, garlic aioli, and baby kale served with fries)
- Fried Chicken Sandwich (marinated grilled chicken breast fried in a light tapioca batter, served on a Challah Bun with local organic greens, shredded carrots, radish, pickled onion, and Sriracha aioli)
- BLT (Zoe’s nitrate-free bacon, Roma tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo on a toasted 9-grain bun)
- Vegan Wrap (naan, fried chickpea tofu, arugula, carrots, radishes, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, avocado and orange vinaigrette)
- Grass Fed Burger (hormone-free, non GMO beef, fried onions, arugula, garlic and pepper aioli, served on a house made brioche bun)
- Paradise Egg Sandwich (cheddar, tomato, pancetta on Pain de Mie or English muffin with black pepper and garlic aioli)
- Vegan Breakfast Burrito (hash browns, chickpea tofu, black beans, vegan sour cream, pico de gallo, flour tortilla served with seasonal fruit)
- Brioche French Toast (with organic maple syrup and seasonal fruit)
- East Bay’s Authentic Bagels with choices such as cream cheese and lox or house made hummus)
Beverage choices include freshly-brewed Equator Coffee local craft beers, California wines, and wine cocktails. The fab organic juice bar includes a range of fresh juices including the Revival (beet, lemon, ginger, cucumber, apple, and carrots) and the Popeye (celery, carrots, ginger, and spinach), along with creative smoothies such as the Chai Crush (blended house brewed chai with banana, soy and honey), Green Machine (fresh spinach, ginger, apple juice, lemon juice, and honey), and the Mocha-Chia (blended mocha with a double shot of espresso, chia seeds, cocoa, cinnamon, almond milk; soy optional).
For an incredible taste sensation, ask for the off-menu affogato milk shake: Equator espresso, organic vanilla ice cream, half & half, and house made caramel sauce. Not exactly low-cal, but it is alone worth the trip through the tunnel.
Paradise Park Café: 6334 San Pablo Ave. Oakland.
Open daily 7:00am-8:00pm. Weekend brunch Saturday, and Sunday 8:00am-3:00pm.
Photos by Michelle Min