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go to Declancy's -- Oakland

Declancy's Welcome Table in Oakland is the reason I created a Chowhound profile. Talk about down-home Southern soul food done right!

If you like: fried chicken, fried pork chops, homemade mac n cheese, red beans and rice, buttermilk mashed potatoes (with gravy!), Southern food generally ... this place will knock your socks off.

The owner I think is also the main chef and personally brought everyone their food, checked up on all the tables, etc. Fantastic gentleman, as were the rest of the people in the joint - workers and diners alike.

Admittedly, there were several drawbacks. Food took a while. The upside to this is that it was made fresh to your order. And it was fantastic. The chicken was flavorful to the bone, the greens not too bitter, the red beans and rice better than what I ever ate in N'awlins ...

There was only one server on the floor. I think this would have been okay had 6 tables not come in within 10 minutes of one another. this created some pandemonium, I think (not to mention delays in food), but the workers were very apologetic and the diners understanding. it was a rather friendly atmosphere. again, did I mention the food was good? plenty of lip smacking and raves throughout the room.

final drawback: the iced tea wasn't ready! ahhhhhH!!!!

we brought home four boxes worth of leftovers and our wallets were not that much lighter for the wear. my boyfriend ate so much last night that he only got around to eating breakfast/lunch at 3pm or so this afternoon.

so, in short: bring your appetites and fun conversation(alists). it will take a while to get your food, but it's more than worth it. and tell your friends! this place and the people in it are too good to not have a ridiculous amount of business. unless, of course, you're taking my table. :-)

oh yeah -- they have breakfast options too! like chicken and waffles! i'm forcing boyfriend to go there with me after our race around Lake Merritt next weekend ...

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  1. For those of you interested, its on Park Avenue by Lake Marriott - http://www.declancyswelcometable.com/...

    1 Reply
    1. re: larochelle

      That would be Park Boulevard (I know, the site says Avenue, but the map clearly shows it on Park Blvd) by Lake Merritt. ;-)

    2. sweet...it's within walking distance for me. has this been open long? and how have I not noticed it when I go to the movies at Parkway?

      1. Thanks for the review...another place to add to the list.

        1. their sample menu has an unfortunate typo. "crap" cakes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: augustiner

            I recently picked up a to go menu at a restaurant in Walnut Creek that lists an "oyster pooboy"

          2. lol...guess i'm not ordering the crap cakes...

            is it me, or do they not post their hours on the website.

            1. I think this took over the space where a chinese place closed recently. I hope it makes it. I will certainly give it a try (though probably not the crap cakes).

              1. I love DeClancy's and was so glad to see them in my hood. I think it is a nice fit and they definitely have quality soul food; however, they are somewhat pricey for the neighborhood. I hope they can rise to the occasion and make it last for a very long time.

                1. Had a delicious, super satisfying dinner at DeClancy's tonight - thanks to rebelhoser for posting!

                  The fried chicken is pretty close to perfect. Perfect, greaseless crust (the kind you pick the crumbs out from the carcass to nibble on, long after all the meat is gone), tender, juicy, perfectly seasoned meat. I didn't ask what kind of chicken they use, but the pieces were smaller than the behemoth hunks you get at most places, so I'm guessing they're not using hormone-treated chickens. An added bonus is that smaller pieces = proportionately greater surface area = a higher skin to meat ratio.

                  The sides were all great, too. We had mac and cheese, rice and beans, greens, and the mashed potatoes with gravy. The mac and cheese has large shreds of half-melted cheese - tastes great hot, probably would be a greasy mess if you reheated them as leftovers. Fortunately, leftovers are unlikely. I just ate mine right now, typing. Rice and beans had good quality sausage, greens were tender without being mushy and had just enough acidity. I'm pretty salt sensitive and frequently find rice and beans and greens to be too salty for my taste, but these were perfect.

                  Dinner (incl. iced tea, tax and tip) came out to $25 for two people. I'm definitely going back.

                  1. I finally went...and I'm glad I did. couple things...I love the space. They fixed it up real nice. It was clean, had nice colors and felt like home and had nice easy listening music playing. It's not a big space, maybe 8 tables in all. but the staff was plenty nice and had that feel of a family owned restaurant.

                    My Meal:
                    2 pieces of dark meat fried chicken
                    2 sides: mac & cheese and butter pecan yams
                    + to go order of mashed potatoes and gravy for a friend
                    strawberry lemonade

                    Review:Everyone was very nice and I struck up conversation with Latoya to took my order and one of the owners (didn't catch her name). It did take a while for the food to get out, about 15-20 mins. Unfortunately I dined alone tonight on my way to meet a friend for a movie, so it was noticeable. But when the food arrived, my mouth was watering.

                    The strawberry lemonade came out first of course and while I don't normally take note of lemonade, this was honestly one of the most refreshing and best tasting lemonades I've ever had and it really goes well with washing down the typically heavier southern food.

                    The fried chicken was indeed excellent. fresh, piping hot, tender and juicy and not overly battered. The pieces weren't too big but I was quite satisfied by the time I finished them. One thing to note, the chicken was very low on the greasiness, and my hands didn't have that slick feeling you usually get after eating fried chicken with your hands.

                    The mac&cheese I heard lots about so I was looking forward to it, but unfortunately I was a bit disappointed. It actually came out a bit cool and a little bland. I over heard another customer mention it to our mutual staff person that it had been much better the last time she was there and she replied that that she was right, it was an off day for the M&C and that usually it is much better.

                    The other side, a good sized serving of butter pecan yams was recommended to me by Latoya and I am forever grateful. It was wonderful. it wasn't too sweet or over seasoned, which is my normal complaint with candied yams. I could actually taste the yams it self and I took my time to finish it off. It was very comforting.

                    The mashed potatoes & gravy which I ordered to go was for a friend. She liked it even though by the time she got it, it was a little cool. the gravy was herby and made from scratch and the potatoes were smooth but not liquidy.

                    total bill with tip =$17.

                    Not bad, but like someone above mentioned it's a bit pricey for the neighborhood. but I really liked the place despite the wait. I'm eager to go back there after lent when I can try their other items. some of the other tables while I was there were stacked with a number of mouth watering dishes.

                    1. What, exactly, *is* soul food? It's not Southern, because they don't have hushpuppies. So what is it? I looked at the menu for this place and it definitely looks pricy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mizuhito

                        It definitely is NOT pricey. If anything it is ridiculously cheap, especially given the quality. We have loved virtually everything we have tried. The only exception might be the whipped potatoes with gravy, and that is only because they are a bit to rich for my tastes. Many people would love the tater to butter ratio but it was just a bit heavy on the butter for me. for those who go for fried seafood, fried oysters are a must have. We USED to fry oysters at home regularly. A real pain but something a Southern just must do. No longer with Declancy's in the ndighborhod. They do it better than I have ever been able to do it and with not mess. Not to mention it costs less than when I do it myself.

                      2. Husband and I went here for dinner Friday night around 7pm. There is a Help Wanted sign out front and I hope they find more experienced help, as the service was very slow. The pacing of dishes was off - my catfish gumbo came a half hour after husband's fried chicken. The servers and kitchen were apologetic - it seemed that no one had ordered this particular dish before. I wish I had a picture of it - a whole fillet of blacked catfish atop cajun rice with easily a pound of sliced Louisiana sausage in a dark roux with tiny shrimps, beans and topped with batter fried onions ($16). It was worth the wait.

                        The half a fried chicken dinner consisted of 4 smallish pieces with any 2 sides. My husband thought the chicken was pretty much the best fried chicken he's ever had in a restaurant. The breading was light, there were no oil spots on the plate and all the meat was moist, including the breast. We chose red beans and rice and macaroni & cheese. The beans & rice come with a delicious spicy sausage. Excellent. We also ordered the family chicken dinner to go, with mac&cheese, potato salad and mashed potatoes. The potato salad is a bit on the mushy side, with a touch of spice that is addicting. I have a feeling that all the sides are really good.

                        The restaurant has been open since mid December, a "soft open" according to the server. It definitely looks like a family run operation, as we saw several kids and others coming in and out of the kitchen. I hope they can make a go of it. Everything right now looks like it is cooked to order, so be prepared for a wait.

                        Other items on the menu that look interesting: for lunch they serve po'boys - catfish, red snapper, shrimp and oyster. For dinner on Fri, Sat and Sunday they feature a Smokehouse Prime Rib dinner. I will go back to try the smothered pork chops.

                        Open Tue - Thurs, 8am - 2pm & 5pm-10pm. Fri-Sat 8am-2pm & 5pm-11pm. Sun 8am-6pm. Closed Mon.

                        2000 Park Blvd. Oakland, 510-832-8705.

                        1. i've been there a total of 3 times. since they are close by i notice that they are getting more and more customers. :)

                          i dont mind waiting for my food because i know that it's gonna be fresh. the food is prepared nicely (if a bit bland imho) the fried chicken is some of the best i've ever had. . .not greasy, with a wonderful crunch. the pork chops even when smothered are crunchy beneath the sauce,juicy and tender on the inside. the jambayala was well stocked with spicy sasauge and shirmp but somehow still managed to be underseasoned to my palate. a quick pass with salt and pepper solved that.

                          the sides are almost perfect. the greens are tender (not bitter) and the red beans and rice are devine! the yams are nicely spiced without being too sweet. when i had the mac n cheese i wished it had more of a creamy texture, but that didn't stop me from eating it. one of these days i will try it again. i respect the fact that sometimes they may be out of an item or didn't have a chance to prepare it for that day and will honestly admit it vs. serving something that is thrown together at the last minute for the sake of making a buck. the side order portions are substantial. :) i would imagine that one could make a fine meal just from ordering 3-4 side orders alone. i also like the fact that the food comes to the table piping hot!

                          the decor is clean and fresh, and the service is attentive, acomadating, albeit a bit innexperienced (not a bad thing at all). they love to hear constructive comments on how they can improve.

                          i think the prices are more than reasonable. $15 for a dinner (approximately) including 2 large sides. . .i think that is more than fair. even if your funds are limited, you can still check them out for lunch for about $10

                          go. . .you won't be dissapointed.

                          1. Finally had the fried chicken tonight. It was excellent, as others have said - perfect crust and juicy, flavorful chicken. My only complaint was that the breading could have used a little bit of a kick from cayenne or even black pepper, but that's just my preference. Got three sides - mashed potatoes with gravy, the greens, and butter pecan yams. The mashed potatoes seemed to have about a 1:1 potato to butter ratio, actually a little too much for me, and the gravy was really overkill. I liked the greens a lot. They were tender but not mushy, with a nice smokiness from little bits of smoked turkey, and a good pepper-vinegar kick. The yams were unbelievably sweet, sweeter than some sweet potato pies I've eaten, but I just ate them last and pretended they were dessert. They were kind of addictive, even though I was stuffed from the mashed potatoes.

                            I have to disagree with people who've said that Declancy's is pricy. The family-style whole chicken came with 3 quart containers of the side dishes (plus a half-pint of gravy) and cost $19.95. It was way too much food for three people with good appetites. Really a bargain. I won't need to eat at all tomorrow, either.

                            1. Anyone tried breakfast here yet?

                              1 Reply
                              1. A new reason to go to Declancy's...they're now on the United (and probably other airlines) Dining program. There are so few decent options on the list (O'Chame is one of the others, but only on certain nights), that it's really nice to have another. I don't let frequent flyer miles drive where I dine, but they're certainly a nice perk.

                                1. Tried Declancy's for the first time for lunch today.

                                  As others have said the service bordered between slow and inept (but courteous). The fried chicken is as good as I've had at any restaurant (and the portion is not small as others have suggested). The greens were also excellent with a nice deep flavor and a good-sized chunk of smoked turkey included. I'm afraid they may be micro waving their sides though as my red beans and rice (which didn't show up until I was finished with the rest of my lunch) were ice cold.

                                  The owner (I'm guessing) told every customer he greeted to "bear with us, as we only got 20 minutes of sleep last night, right here on this floor, cause we're so busy with catering".

                                  I hope they can eventually work out the service issues because they certainly know how to fry chicken.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: 10foot5

                                    The owner is a woman, youngish. The older gentleman, whose manners and welcoming courtesy are impeccable, told us he learned those ways in the service.

                                    One time we took a friend for Cajun. They didn't have Cajun because it was "comedy night" (they didn't explain why that affected lunch but it did). But they did have prime rib and he'd been searching for the quintessential prime rib in the area. He declared DeClancy's the best he'd had--with enough left over for another meal. I forget how much it was but it was cheap!

                                    Again, service is molasses-in-January slow. The cook appears to be a tiny Louisianna girl with kids who takes ten minutes to walk across the restaurant so I guess that explains that. DeClancy's is great.

                                  2. link

                                    Declancy's Welcome Table
                                    2000 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: rworange

                                      I tried it yesterday and I think it had many drawbacks.

                                      Atmosphere is sorely lacking, but that might be in the eye of the beholder.

                                      It took 45 minutes for a to-go order of three appetizers; blackened prawns, hushpuppies, and sweet potato fries. From the time I ordered to the time it was ready, no updates.

                                      Prawns were decent, came with a nice dipping sauce. If I were ever to go there again, which I won't, I suppose I could order them again. Hushpuppies were nothing special or terrible, and the fries were more like chips, and not very warm when I dug into them in the car, five minutes after getting the long-awaited order.

                                      $19.00 later, I'm all done with that joint; Southern Cafe, I will NEVER stray again! It was a moment of weakness and a Sunday, a day that you are closed!