Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe in Oakland
Clean contemporary design, fresh hearty fare, and friendly staff dressed in hip black tees attract families, couples, and groups of friends to this classic American diner, bound to succeed.
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, just opened in Oakland next door to the historic Fox Theater, is a second location of the award-winning Emeryville venue, in operation since 2002.
On my first visit, I was intrigued by a collection of dolls dressed in Rudy’s uniforms that lined a wall over dining room booths with bright orange table tops.
On the opposite wall, across the bar island, a display of local students’ humorous artwork looked like a fitting indication of Rudy’s community-oriented approach to feeding the public.
My drink was called Shakin’ Jesse, and contained Guinness Stout, chocolate ice cream and espresso in a milkshake – and what a milkshake that was!
Looking for other traditional diner items with a Rudy’s twist, I tried Buffalo tofu, fried and duly spiced, served with celery sticks and ranch dressing, just like its namesake wings, but suitable for vegetarians.
Meeting contemporary demands, there are many compelling vegetarian items, specially marked on the menu.
For carnivores, a great starter sure to satisfy is chicken and pesto quesadillas, filled with melted Jack and cheddar cheeses, and garnished with guacamole and salsa.
The main course of fish tacos came with generous chunks of mahi-mahi, shredded cabbage, and salsa in corn tortillas, garnished with black beans and Spanish rice.
A very special Rudy’s slider sampler contained three mini burgers – Cajun, Ranchero and Blue Cheese, all cooked perfectly medium and sitting pretty on a plate with a sliced pickle and fresh mixed greens, topped with grated carrots and garlic croutons.
For dessert, Upper Crust Bakery cakes presented a tough choice: coconut cream, strawberry rhubarb, peach-blueberry, apple, cherry, peach, and mixed berry.
I’d vote for coconut cream, but decided to go with seasonal strawberry rhubarb instead, and leave all other choices for my future visits.
Rudy’s attention to detail is worth writing home about: not only children, vegetarians and other special eaters are well taken care of, but the entire operation adheres to green and sustainable standards – for example, take-out boxes are made of breathable paper, and plastic cutlery is not just thrown in, but given on request to reduce waste.
Rudy’s location in beautiful uptown Oakland, brimming with Art Deco buildings, and plentiful street and garage parking will surely contribute to its popularity, as well as high demand for an inexpensive casual café with high-quality food in this young and growing community.
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe is located at 1805 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, California. Open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Private functions and to-go orders can be reserved by calling 1-510-251-9400. For more information, visit their website.