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Jun 21, 2007 09:25 PM

Rico's Diner Report

Bless you, rworange. Though my doc might curse you. Thanks to your report below:

I tried Rico's Diner today. Let's just say the place has real possibilities and serves the type of food that almost makes me wish it was just a wee bit further than five or so blocks from work: eating here regularly could become dangerous for my cholesterol level and pants size....

first of all, for dhoffman: yes, this could be your nirvana, because they do have milkshakes: made with real ice cream, and real fruit! They aren't cheap (between $2.50 and $3.50 each depending on the type of fruit and whatever, but come to think of it, for a real shake these days, that isn't bad)...I *had* to try the peach one, and the care that went into it was evident. Definitely bits of ripe, fresh peach, and though it was a little sweeter than I'd like (perhaps made with a sweet brand of ice cream, or even added sweetener of some type?) but it was quite good.

My plan was to try the burger, but I never got that far, because the Thursday lunch specials include fried chicken ($9.95 for a plate with four pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and grilled corn on the cob). Somehow, as soon as I saw that, I HAD to have fried chicken.

So, I placed my order from the friendly woman at the counter, and had a seat to wait. The dining area is very plain but pleasant: lots of windows, a bit of brick, industrial steel counter. Can't say whether any of it is 'authentic East Coast diner' (being a West Coast girl myself). Will have to bring hubby, the Diner King, to judge that one...

And wait I did: unfortunately, at almost twenty minutes the wait was a bit longer than I would like for lunch. Part of the problem was that the same cheerful woman was taking orders and payment and bringing out food and clearing tables, and it just seemed like a two person job given the lunch crowds. That said, I am sure that the wait reflected the fact that this was food made to order, lots of from scratch items, and that does take longer. So, I'd advise going with patience, or going at off hours.

Waiting also allowed me to scope out other folks' orders as they came out of the kitchen. I have to say, the burgers DID look ammaaazzing...huge, (the menu says it is a third of a pound,but it looks bigger even) and built like a piece of art, really. I will be back to have a burger and a (fresh) strawberry shake very, very soon.

I also noticed that many of the folks who came in seemed to know the counterperson and the menu from previous visits: this place may be new, but apparently word has already gotten around.

After a while, the counter person brought out my chicken, some water and utensils...

So, as for the fried chicken: the skin was covered in a coating that was more like a batter than I like (I prefer fried chicken with a lighter coating). It was crisp but just a bit greasy, and a bit mild for my taste. So, the coating wasn't a hit. The chicken itself was tender, juicy, not overcooked. Kudos for the mashed potatoes: a generous serving (like I really needed that), of real Yukon golds, complete with little lumps, covered with a rich, smoky brown gravy. Rounding out the plate was a piece of Acme bread and a quarter cob of corn. It obviously was grilled over charcoal, so kudos for that as well, though the corn itself wasn't the best (not that I have had any really good corn yet this year).

Total for my lunch, which was much more than I needed to eat, was just under $15 with tax but before tip. I did order two of the most expensive items on the menu.

So after I polished lunch off, I noticed that there is a fried chicken sandwhich served on an Acme Torpedo roll, available every day! Other "Torpedo" sandwhiches at 6.25 each include meatball, meatloaf, brisket, french dip and a tuna melt.

The other Thursday special is pot roast ($7.75). On Fridays there is spaguetti and meatballs ($7.75) and filet of fish (also $7.75; in fact only the fried chicken is more).

Other specials include chicken fried steak or lasagna on Tuesday, and either smothered pork chop or Mom's meat loaf on Wednesday. Oh yeah: on Monday there are pork wings.( Do I dare ask?) and a Thanksgiving lunch of turkey and cranberry sauce.

And yes, rw, they do serve breakfast. All day. pancakes, waffle, eggs, omelets, biscuits and gravy, corn beef hash, chicken fried steak, house potatoes, or hash browns. Breakfasts seem to run between $4.50 and $6.25.

I will definitely be back, and hope to hear other reports on breakfast if anyone beats me to it! This place is definitely a positive addition to a neighborhood that needs more chow-worthy spots...

Rico's Diner
400 15th St @ Franklin
Oakland CA 94612

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  1. Thanks for the mouthwatering report -- sounds like larochelle should make tracks over there to scope out the CFS and B&G.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      yes, I thought of her as soon as I scoped out the menu! :-)

    2. "Monday there are pork wings":

      I guess pigs do fly after all. Thanks for the report. Did you notice if they had pie?

      2 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Didn't notice any pie; the take out menu I grabbed lists no desserts.

        Turns out pork wings are a Kansas City thing (?); pork shanks trimmed back to look like chicken or turkey wings. Here is a pic:

        1. re: susancinsf

          That's a PDF link, for anyone with a slow connection.

          Hmmm ... still curious about pork wings so asked on the general board

          Thanks for the link to the info and pic.

      2. Bless both of you, Susan and Krys! You are officially saints in my book for bringing this place to my attention. I am sooooo there! Thanks for a great report! That actually seems cheap to me for a real shake.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chaddict

          yes, thinking about it, I recently stopped at Redrum in Davis (where the real shakes with real fruit are about the only thing I still like on the menu; burgers have gone decidely south, IMO) and the strawberry shake was $3.95.

          The peach was the most expensive, btw: it seemed like the prices really did reflect the cost (so ones without fruit were cheaper).

          Hope to hear back from you with a report soon!

          1. re: susancinsf

            This place sounds great. Do the shake flavors change seasonally, or do you think they always have fresh strawberry and peach shakes?

            Dave MP

            1. re: Dave MP

              I assume to at least some extent it is seasonal. They were a blackboard advertised special, not on the menu. And, I couldn't believe it, but in the entire 45 or so minutes I was in there, nobody ordered a shake but me! I hope Hounds change that so they stay on the menu...

        2. Nice.... my mouth waters.... good thing I am going to hit a diner on our traditional ever 3 month sojourn to Costco.

          BTW, its puzzling to me that Bay Area hounds are so into CFS but Fried Chicken seems to get dismissed... its obviously not for health reasons or food style... puzzling really.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            I don't think fried chicken gets dismissed; it is just easier to find in the bay area than real CFS, which is sort of a Holy Grail for at least a few hounds.

            Check out this recent thread:


            In my neighborhood, (SF) Tuesday night seems to be fried chicken night (Tuesday special at Maverick most Tuesdays, and also at Chenery Park). Always on the menu at Front Porch...

            1. re: susancinsf

              Thanks for the report Susan, sounds most tempting. If I can talk them into making a chocolate banana milkshake with one of those mouthwatering burgers they can charge me anything!

              1. re: susancinsf

                That reminds me, chicken fried steak was the Hangover Special at 900 Grayson last Saturday. Served with poached eggs, fresh biscuts and gravy. I already had plans to eat steak that night, so I didn't order it. They said it was really popular, and there's a good chance they will bring it back as a Saturday brunch special again. If I get the chance to try it, I will definitely report back.

                1. re: Morton the Mousse

                  Grayson had chicken fried steak this morning as the special, fyi (though I didn't try it).

            2. So a friend and I went last Sat. Sadly we were the only ones. It may not seem like it from the following report but I REALLY like this place and can't wait to get back and try some weekly specials.

              I wanted to order everything, it sounded so good. They don't (as of yet) have posted, fixed weekly specials on the weekend but they did have spaghetti w/ meat sauce and an ahi steak that day. We ordered chicken fried steak with eggs and hash browns, biscuits and gravy, and fried chicken sandwich.

              The chicken sandwich had the same type of batter that Susan described above. I was perfectly happy with my sammy on its Acme roll. Breast meat (which my friend is not fond of) was moist and juicy. Even she had to admit it was good.

              I don't know a whole lot about what chicken fried steak is supposed to be. All I can say was it was damned tasty with a crisp coating (not as thick as the chicken) and juicy meat inside. The eggs, ordered over medium, were undercooked for my taste. The hash browns were a disappointment: pale, barely crisped at all. But the potential is there. Next time I will order extra crispy and see what happens. Good Acme bread, thickly sliced, but barely toasted. Again, I'll ask for more time in the toaster.

              I really liked the biscuits and gravy. The biscuits weren't the lightest in the world but the gravy made up for it (and generally don't like creamy gravies). It was a lot of food but I had the infamous P. w/ me so not a crumb was left on the plate.

              P. didn't care for her peach milkshake because it didn't have much peach flavor. I bet if they used peach ice cream AND the fresh peaches, it would have been better.

              Service was super friendly and my coffee was never less than half full. They are currently serving dinner using the lunch menu; they have plans to have a separate dinner menu soon. This made me really happy as dinner is the only way I would be able to try the weekly lunch specials which sound soooo good.

              Again, thanks, Susan and Krys!

              1 Reply
              1. re: chaddict

                Thanks for the report back and I am glad you enjoyed it. I suspect that the lack of other folks would be the norm on a Saturday; I am sure the great majority of their business is from folks who work nearby. Sounds like this makes it a great option for east bay folks who like brunch but hate the whole waiting thing...