Albany - Jodies soulful, simple and home style
Jodies is famous for his fried chicken available only on Saturday and Sunday, but my vote so far goes to Jackies A+ Grilled Cheese Sandwich with grilled tomatoes, red onions and mushrooms
as buttery, oozy and satisfyingly good as it sounds.
Omelets are made by mixing the ingredients with the eggs. On one visit I had Joels special hash browns, grilled onions, mushroom, cheese topped with Jodies tomato-based sauce. The mushrooms and onions are grilled, sprinkled with cheese near the end, put in a bowl and mixed with three eggs and finished in a cast iron skillet. Flames leap around the skillet as Jodie flips the omelet. The English muffins are off the griddle, browned and buttery.
The chicken is simple and satisfying. With a soft coating texture-wise it is like KFC. Jodie keeps it on towels in a warm oven. Instead of putting it in Styrofoam containers like the other take-out food, the fried chicken is put in a paper basket in a paper bag so that it can breathe instead of sweating in plastic.
No waffles, but I highly recommend ordering it with two of Jodies buttery pancakes. This old Chowhound post describes the chicken better than I could as well as the cheese cake made by Jodies wife.
I guess you have to stop by at the correct time to get the chicken plucked from the cast iron pan. At prime time Jodie is a wonder to watch a perpetual motion man. However, the chicken is made prior to the rush.
Although Ive never had them, Id skip the fries that Jodie grabs a handful from the plastic bag in the freezer and plops in the fryer. The home fries are as good as described in the above link.
Check your cholesterol at the door. Theres lots of butter and oil. Nothing is fancy, but it is simply good.
Anyone who lives in the Bay Area needs to stop by Jodies.
In fact, you havent really experienced the Bay Area until you take a cable car ride, visit Fishermans Wharf, shopped at the Berkeley Bowl or had breakfast at Jodies.
What they all have in common is that they are all unique experiences not found elsewhere.
Usually I hit restaurants off hours to avoid the crowds. By luck, I never seem to go to Jodies any other time except when all seven seats and two sidewalk tables are filled in addition to a steady stream of people dropping by for take-out orders. At Jodies it's like eating with friends or family.
Sit at one of the corner seats next to the door and youll be asked to bring plates and drinks out the people sitting outside. There isnt room for the people behind the counter to get to the outside tables everyone would have to get up from the counter seats to let the server out. Even some of the people behind the counter are frequent customers who volunteered to help out every now and then.
As little room as there is, it never seems crowded and everyone seems to fit. Today, one guy tucked his toddler against the wall on the counter
The subject line of this post is a quote from the dead-on San Francisco Chronicle article by Malgorzata Wozniacka. The article is on Jodies website (Other button). There are a few pictures of Jodie and the counter as well. A highly recommended read to experience the spirit and flavor of Jodies.
I asked for a take out menu and found out that Jodies has a website with the menu and The Wall the real menu of Jodies specials which dont appear on the menu, but are colorful signs posted along one well wall.
A picture of one of the signs is below and the website has SOME of the others. Like the sign in the window says, there is a 100 item menu, most of them not on the menu or wall but in Jodies memory. Just ask and he will make it.
The Chron article says Jodie, 65, from rural Arkansas, cooked in a number of kitchens when moving here in 1959 including the Foster's chain, Jack London Inn in Oakland, Solomon Grundy's and Ole's Waffle Shop in Alameda.
In addition to Jodies wife making the cheesecake and pies, his youngest daughter runs the catering business. The link to the catering menu is on the website and includes dishes like:
Acorn Squash Soup in a Roasted Sweet Dumpling Squash
Bacon, Pear and Bleu Cheese Salad
Lamb and Apple Hash with soft polenta
Roast Pork with Apricot, Fig and Pistachio Stuffing
Sautéed Salmon with Onion Strewn Grits and Portabella Mushrooms
Perfect Roast Turkey with Sausage Cornbread Stuffing and all the trimmings
Fried Chicken with Herb Roasted New Potatoes and Pan Roasted Green Beans
BBQ Ribs with Potato Salad and Baked Beans
Back to the restaurant
The regular menu has some BBQ items and heres a link to another Chowhound post about the Q.
Coffee is served in cups with faces that are similar to Sponge Bob square pants. Jodie seems to like cartoon characters and toys which fill any remaining space. You can request a specific colored mug or bring your own mug with you. Kids are served in those spill-proof plastic glasses with straws, also in color of choice.
Another thing on my list to try is Jodies Nothing with something. Its Jodies chance to get creative and is different every time. The something can be meat or, on request, vegetable. Today there was a big pile of friend veggies on some eggs and well, its hard to describe.
Ohhh eggs I really want the Rookies special I saw today a bed of corned beef hash topped with two plump fried eggs with two large pancakes.
Asked why the name, Jodie said it was named for the cops who stop by in the morning. Many of the walls specials are named for customers. The other walls are plastered with pictures of customers and a few thoughts like "It's better to serve one person 10 times than to serve 10 persons one time."
It seems most people come back at least ten times.
902 Masonic St. (At Solano
)Albany, CA 94706
8am - 4pm: Tuesday - Sunday
Recent Bay Guardian article
Wow, that's quite a write up, nicely done!
I grew up and graduated from Albany High, which means I've terrorized many local establishments.
Jodie's is semi new and used to hang out there asking him for "Big Food". Jodie was kind, yet frustrated with me being such an ASS. He didn't understand "big food" and cursed me. I explained that to make big food you'd need a whole roasted chicken, wrapped in sliced beef with pork ribs on the side, then you'd need to butter some bread and fry it.
He understood then, but never really liked me.
Ahh Jodies's. The memories come flooding back. When I lived in Albany, I used to go there every few weeks. My favorite was the veggie omlet topped with his homemade BBQ sauce. I know, an omlet with BBQ sauce sounds weird, but it worked great for me. After a while, I just went and sat at the counter and Jodie made me something, always different, but always good. He knew my taste.
re: ernie in berkeley
Well, good news if you can make it up to Pinole. The new Tina's Place (she moved from El Sobrante) serves fried chicken that reminded me of Jodie's ... but even better.
For $11.95 you get half a chicken, a choice of potoates, a whole ear of corn on the cob with a side of butter to spread on it, a sourdogh roll, and a choice of shoup or salad. One of the most fabulous deals in the Bay Area.
Tina's has sooooo improved from the restaurants in El Sobrante
Peach cobbler or strawberry shortcake for dessert ($3.95). Bread pudding too, but that's not my thing.
The fried chicken is only available for dinner.