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new Oakland lunch place - Uncle Dougie's

Find out what a "real Italian hero is" says the flyer. This is the second time I've wandered in looking for something substantial to bring home for hungry teens. I have to give props to a new business that makes the place a New York experience - a subway graffiti mural on one wall and a nighttime NY citylights photo on the other.

Friendly Brooklyn born Uncle Dougie is selling only New York Style sandwiches at a spot formerly Fish and Chips. The menu is Sausage & peppers, Italian meatloaf, eggplant parmesan and chicken parmesan sandwiches. Served with a bag of chips - $7.50. I think he's open Mon- Fri from 11-3PM and I just noticed he added spaghetti and pizzabread.

The sausage & peppers were a hit with the meatloaf running close behind. Dougie says the secret is his sauce. He missed the NY hero so much that he had to open his own place. (When I was there they were filling an order of a dozen sandwiches for Pixar.)

Uncle Dougie's Italian Hero Sandwiches
362 17th St.
Oakland

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  1. is there seating, or strictly take-out?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rapini

      There are a handful of small tables and a long counter for standing.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. So how is the hero sandwich? How does it compare to the local version like Genova or Ratto's?

        2 Replies
        1. re: ML8000

          These sandwiches are a totally different animal from Genova or Rattos.

          Uncle Dougie offers 4 sandwiches only - Sausage (which they were out of the day I went), meatloaf, eggplant parm and chicken parm.

          These are saucy, gooey sandwiches slathered with tomato sauce. We tried the meatloaf and eggplant parm. Both sandwiches were a soggy mess by the time we ate them 5 blocks away, 5 minutes later. I don’t think they work well for takeout.

          The meatloaf was very tasty, and a generous portion. The tomato sauce was good also. The eggplant was less impressive - it was hard to tell the soggy bread from the soggy eggplant.

          The only pepper they have available is crushed red pepper, which is a shame as these types of sandwiches can benefit from some banana peppers or peperoncini.

          The atmosphere in the restaurant is not very inviting. I would think the meatloaf sandwich would be fine if eaten there but I'm not sure I'm going to rush back. I'm sure I'll try the sausage sandwich some day.

          1. re: 10foot5

            I am so excited--I've never understood why I can't get a decent chicken parm here. Dying to try!

        2. Just ate at Dougie's last night - fantastic late night treat. On Fridays and Saturdays he opens from 9pm to 2am. I had the chicken parm and it was perfection, a perfect salve for my NYC nostalgia.

          1. I like Uncle Dougie's. It's become one of my regular lunch spots. I've gotten the pizza bread a few times. French bread cooked with their tomato sauce with peppers and cheese. It takes a little bit longer to make than their heros - about 5 minutes. Comes out nicely crisp and cheesy. A tiny bit more salt than I'd like, but still yummy. Pizza break, at $5.50, is $2 less than their heros. To the poster who said the restaurant was not too inviting, they've fixed things up a bit. Some fun NYC photographs and graffiti art.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Martin Strell

              Pointed here by Daveena's response to my query on the Manhattan board for a good eggplant parmigiana sandwich, we met Martin and his family for $12 all you can eat dinner last night.

              Uncle Dougie's is the real deal. We enjoyed everything including the atmosphere and red and green jello.

              But the winner for me was the eggplant and the sweet tomato sauce, exactly the way I remember it from corner joints with red checkered table cloths. The bread is perfect (Dougie was a baker.)

              Friendly atmosphere, easy parking, and Friday nights the Oakland museum is open late (free shotglasses with your bourbon at the bar by the sculpture garden).

              Dougie mentioned he's at the Layover Thursdays and Fridays selling sandwiches. And a second location is coming to Bowditch in Berkeley within the next couple of months.

              Former New Yorkers should check it out. This is food that will make you happy.

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              Uncle Dougie's
              362 17th St, Oakland, CA 94612

              1. re: Windy

                great to hear about the new location coming soon. sounds like it will be a nice addition to the short list of places to go for dinner before a film at the Pacific Film Archive.

                1. re: Windy

                  Dougie used to run the Maria's Bakeries in the Bay Area, but he has this bread made for him daily, I believe by the Italian French Baking Co., in SF. But yeah, I think the bread is perfect for this kind of sandwich.

                  Anyway, I like the eggplant Dougie's, but my favorite (as noted in my post downthread) is the meatloaf - drenched, of course, in his good tomato sauce.

                  FYI, the new Berkeley location is going to be takeout only - just a window where you order, I think.

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                  Italian French Baking Co
                  1501 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  1. re: abstractpoet

                    The Berkeley location is open, as of I think yesterday. They have (minimal) table service, and might put in a couple of outdoor tables in a while. Chicken parm was delicious as described above, very saucy. Free soda with your sandwich this week. Official grand opening coming soon!

                    1. re: heidipie

                      Where on Bowditch is this? I walked the block between Durant and Bancroft Monday and Uncle Dougie was not to be seen. Is he in the same block as Henry's?

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                      Uncle Dougie's
                      362 17th St, Oakland, CA 94612

                      1. re: chocolatetartguy

                        just off of Durant, the other direction from Bancroft.

                        it's in the building on the corner. there's a sign above the door that i was able to see from the intersection.

                        i just added a restaurant listing with the address

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                        Uncle Dougie's
                        2328 Bowditch St, Berkeley, CA 94704

                  2. re: Windy

                    :)

                    I had a lot of bad red sauce growing up (either too acidic or too sweet), so I don't tend to crave it, but Dougie's sauce is so good I've developed retroactive nostalgic cravings. I need to get to that Friday night all-you-can eat - do they take walk-ins, or do you have to RSVP? Also, do most people get there at 6, or can you roll in around 7:30 and still get a decent selection?

                    1. re: daveena

                      We didn't get there until 7, and while some things were finished (the spaghetti with garlic oil), they continued to put out fresh chicken cutlets and a few other dishes later. They reopen for sandwiches at 9 (until I think 2) Fridays and Saturdays.

                      We emailed to RSVP, but you can probably show up, and they'll be happy to see you.