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Calvin Rouse

Article about Actual Cafe from
Date of Interview/Article:2/2/2014

Oakland's Actual Cafe keeps it local with food, beers

You can't get much more neighborhood than Actual Cafe. With a large communal table in the center of the space, local art on the walls, local beers on tap and local ingredients as much as possible in the kitchen, Actual Cafe walks the talk.

A sister establishment to Victory Burger around the corner, the signature burger of Five Dot Ranch beef on an Acme roll ($8.50) makes it onto the dinner menu here, along with a burger of the week ($10.50) and a house-made veggie burger ($8.50).

Other evening choices include arepas, with the pork and egg version ($9) a hearty offering of slow-roasted pork in tamarind sauce, carrot-jicama slaw and a fried egg over a grilled arepa.

There's "plain ol' " mac and cheese ($6) along with a weekly "special" version ($8) as well as a farm salad of the week ($6/$8) such as Dirty Girl Farm Japanese turnip - Dirty Girl Japanese turnips, Riverdog Farms black radishes, candied pecans and mixed kales. Add an organic egg or crisp bacon ($2 each) and you've got Actual's version of a Lyonnaise salad.

Sandwiches and salads are on the daytime menu, while weekend brunch brings offerings such as biscuits, mushroom gravy and eggs ($8.50), or Waffle Supreme with two poached eggs and bacon ($9.50). And there's no laptop in sight: The cafe's laptop-free policy on weekends is another nod to the neighborhood ethos.

The cafe offers a daily 3 to 7 p.m. happy hour. And at dinner, $2 brings a small draft beer with any plate.

Now that's real neighborly.

- Calvin Rouse,

If you go

Actual Cafe: 6334 San Pablo Ave. (at Alcatraz Avenue), Oakland. (510) 653-8386. 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.