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Grand Lake Kwik Way reopened: drive-thru burgers and fries [Oakland]

http://oaklandlocal.com/blogs/2011/04...

The place has been closed since before I moved to the Bay Area, so I don't know anything about what the food was like. It's part of a local chain, right? If nothing else, it's nice to see the place opening for business--that abandoned building was a real blight on that neighborhood.

Passed by today, and there were people inside setting up. Sign on the window does, indeed, say their hours are 11am to 10pm. Menu looks like burgers, sandwiches, chicken wings, the usual...

Any reports yet?

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  1. i worked a few days here decades ago. owner has long disposed of his interests as i know it. probably new owners. kwik way paid higher wages than mcdonalds but that didn't last long.
    would be interesting if the "formula" has changed.

    1. No report yet but the best item on the original Kwik-Way menu was the corn dog, a Miller's (local product) hot dog hand-dipped and deep-fried to order. I have yet to meet a corn dog to equal it.

      The triple cheese (three patties, three slices of cheese and that's it) was also good in a bad way.

      Given the ridiculous controversy kicked up by some in the neighborhood over the evils of fast food when there was a proposal to put a Fatburger there, and with the involvement of the Somerset folks, I doubt we'll get those sorts of items, alas.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pius Avocado III

        the corn dogs were made in-house by the "fry guy". he/she was responsible for the french fries, fried chicken, and corn dogs.

      2. Wow, really?

        A few years back (before they closed) the news was the Kwik Way near the lake was going to become a McDonald's..but it was heavily protested (traffic was sighted often) and didn't make it. I remember it was always packed with high school kids during the day...actually a lot of the time.

        I'd go to the one on Telegraph (now a Giant Burger) way back when (after party) on Telegraph which was kinda scary...use to get the prawns. I can't remember if they were open 24hr or until 3 a.m. The other options back then were Biff's and Dave's.

        Hmmm...so it'll be interesting to try the food again with the new modern standards.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ML8000

          the telegraph one opened till 1. not 24 hours. i worked the graveyard shift on the grill.

        2. That Kwik Way was disgusting, and I think it's new owners. I'm really glad that that building is reopening and won't be abandoned and scary looking anymore. I'd heard that it was going to reopen, but I didn't know it would be this soon or with the same name, that's great.

          1. I was riding by on the bike so I stopped. Fairly crowded for middle of the afternoon. The menu was sparse...burgers ($4.50), fries, onion rings, small pizzas, wings and a few items to come. Didn't have anything. No corn dog or fried shrimps.

            1. I noticed the lights were on yesterday, so I stopped by for dinner tonight. We ordered a cheeseburger, pulled pork sandwich and fries. They were out of onion rings. Canned soda, but the lemonades looked freshly made.

              They still have some kinks to work out. It's obvious they weren't quite prepared for the volume. There was no drink menu posted, but the guy taking our order had one. Did they only have a single copy? The food took a while to come out, even though it looked like there were 15 people back there working. Lots of milling around and looking confused. Prices were a bit higher than your standard fast food burger joint, but so was quality.

              They seem to be putting some effort into making fresh, high quality food. Milkshakes were handmade. Fries were In-n-Out style -- fresh cut, but these were thicker with a nice herb coating. Unfortunately they were getting a bit cold by the time we got them. The burger was very juicy, on a substantial bun, but not very large. They need to add a double to the menu. Plenty of white chedder and grilled onions on top. I thought the pulled pork sandwich was less successful. Way too much sauce for my taste.

              Looking in the back of the shop, I saw them portioning out the meat, and I swear I saw someone pulling a sheet tray of buns out of an oven, so these might be fresh made. Seating is limited.

              I think I'll wait a bit for them to work things out, but I'll be going back for sure.

              1. I used to go to a Kwik Way near my brother's house in Oakland occasionally- as I recall, the burgers and such were pretty much emergency-and-stoner fare, but they had fried apple turnovers that made the trip worthwhile. But that was a long time ago.

                1. I've ate and worked at Kwik Way. i know Kwik Way, the new burger place isn't Kwik Way, it's Quick, Wait or Quick Wake.

                  Kwik Way= ghetto eats, Quick Wake=Wannabe upscale slo-mo food

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: shanghaikid

                    herb coated fries,$4.50 burgers...does not sound like the Kwik Way of my youth. sounds horrible.

                    1. re: Mission

                      lines evident. seems there a demand for Quick Wake's rendition of (new) american food, fast food style. i.e. sidebar without the fancy decor. lower pricing.........

                    2. re: shanghaikid

                      A travesty. No corn dog = FAIL.

                      Pizza? Pulled pork?

                      Let the lemmings have it, I'll not darken their door. I'm not even sure I can bring myself to wear my Kwik-Way shirt anymore.

                      RIP Kwik-Way.

                    3. Stopped by and grabbed a burger today. I would echo shanghaikid's sentiment that this is the SLOWEST fast food I've ever had to wait for. Only one window was open, so I was probably on line for a good ten or fifteen minutes before I even got to place my order, and then another ten for the food to come out. The people seemed friendly enough, but definitely a bit frazzled. (Is this a family operation? It'd be dumb to presume that just because all the employees are Mexican, but it does have a little bit of that kind of vibe, with several teenagers among the workers.)

                      At $11+ for a cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake, you're talking about prices in the Trueburger range -- but here, you're not getting any kind of assurances about the quality or provenance of the meat, etc.

                      At $3.50, the vanilla milkshake was the biggest rip-off, made -- somewhat clumsily -- from what appeared to be cheap, generic-brand ice cream (the tub, sitting half-melty on the countertop, was labeled "Crystal", which isn't a brand I've heard of anyway). Not worth the money or the calories.

                      To be fair, the burger and fries weren't half bad -- the burger was a cut below Trueburger's, but fairly juicy and not too bland. Bun was inoffensive. The only weird thing was the grilled/sauteed onions, which were this extremely unappealing shade of purplish gray. (Maybe that's a strange thing to comment on, but it kind of grossed me out.) The fries, in particular, were pretty tasty, cut thicker than In-N-Out's as the other poster mentioned.

                      I'd say the fries are about the only edge this place has over In-N-Out. Indeed, aside from the convenient (for me) location, I don't see too many reasons to choose Kwik Way over In-N-Out -- especially once you factor in the price tag and the slowness of service (though hopefully the latter is just an opening week thing).

                      I won't be rushing back, but...in a pinch, and if I'm in the mood for a burger and fries...sure.

                      Oh, and the title of this post (my title) is probably misleading -- as far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any plan to make this a real drive-thru. I suppose that makes sense. The traffic would be a nightmare.

                      -----
                      Trueburger
                      146 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: sydthekyd

                          Yes, I think they probably were. But still, not the color of any cooked red onions I've had before -- like the color of raw shrimp.

                          1. re: abstractpoet

                            Red onions with BBQ sauce. What color do you think it's gonna be?

                      1. Oakland is clearly super excited about this, because every time I drove by this weekend, there was a line and plenty of people eating at the tables. Hopefully the quality will go up a little after the opening kinks are worked out.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: JasmineG

                          Yes, there are kinks to be worked out. The new management is aware but admittedly was not attempting to be the old Kwik Way (after all the old KW went out of business!!)

                          The food is mostly all freshly prepared on the premises. Meat freshly ground daily, the buns baked each day, the fries and chips made from real potatoes cut several times daily. And did I mentioned the lemonade freshly squeezed many times daily from fresh lemons due to the high demand?

                          We've heard comparsions to the old Kwik Way and will consider adding Appleturnovers, Grape soda and other items remembered fondly by old customers. But we don't wish to mimic the grease soaked take-out bags of food we've heard about..

                          BTW, anyone know what the Special sauce was? We'd like to try it out since we've heard so much about it.

                          1. re: GBozz

                            special sauce was a mixture of ketchup, mustard, worcesterine sauce, and pickle juice. mix and dispensed with a hand squeezed dispenser. (one squeeze)

                            burger is topped with a pickle and freshly chopped white onions.

                            btw, believed the original owner did not go out of businees. he sold his biz. the successors went out of bisiness.

                            1. re: shanghaikid

                              Worcestershire sauce, hard to say even harder to spell.:-)

                              1. re: wolfe

                                re: wor... google is very helpful. :)

                              2. re: shanghaikid

                                Correct shanghaikid. The successors were not good stewards of the place.

                                I may have to console myself that the architecture has been preserved without ever eating there, alas.

                                1. re: shanghaikid

                                  many thanks for the info shanghaikid. Much appreciated!

                                  1. re: shanghaikid

                                    ~ I think there were two pickles on the burger because i remember spreading them apart to get more coverage, perhaps there were employees that were slaphappy about how much pickle made it to the bun.........milk shakes were thick and the neighborhood pigeons were well fed and territorial.....i didnt eat at the lakeshore one much but when i did it wasn't as good.......

                                    1. re: BALOGH

                                      at telegraph, we only put on one pickle, but if you ask,,,,,,

                                      1. re: shanghaikid

                                        ~sorry shanghaikid, i just re read my post it should have read "i didnt eat at the "TELEGRAPH AVE." one much but when i did it wasn't as good.......and it was the grand ave one that put 2,.....but yes i would ask for extra on the side, they never minded giving some....sure wish i could see the menu and prices again....

                                  2. re: GBozz

                                    How about a decent (hand-made?) corn dog...with a Millers hot dog or similar? You'll sell a bunch to kids, especially n the summer.

                                    1. re: ML8000

                                      And to ML8000 and save him a lot on gas.

                                      1. re: ML8000

                                        Huge 3rd on the corn dog. I simply won't go there unless this happens. Miller's is a must.

                                        It might even get me to stop my "yes the Kwik-Way is open but it ain't Kwik-Way" campaign amongst my neighbors.

                                  3. I attempted to eat here and arrived just before noon. There were a few people milling about and were handwritten signs saying "Opening at 12:30PM"

                                    Some kinks to work out . . . like opening on time for lunch. It looked like they had 10 people in the kitchen area. Not sure what they all were doing.

                                    I didn't wait with the others and got a Calle Ocho sandwich (grilled steak, carmelized onions, garlic aioli, manchego) and Tostones from Cana. Their Mojo Sauce has gotten substantially more garlic-y and tart from when I first ate there.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: drewskiSF

                                      I was a devotee of Kwik Way in the 60's and 70's, particularly the one on East 14th in East Oakland. Anybody ever been to that location?

                                      I loved the burgers, fries and fried chicken. Not fancy, but a staple of a high school kid's diet at the time. Also liked the Mexican food at Talk of Town close by. The steak burrito was a thing of
                                      Beauty.

                                      Glad to see the Kwik Way name make a come back. I'll give it a try!

                                      1. re: cortez

                                        ~ tell me more about what you know about that one.....,the location, was it the same style , is the building still there ,was it 1,2,or 3 in order were there more ,......i didnt even know about it ..........

                                        1. re: BALOGH

                                          Balogh,

                                          The East Oakland Kwik Way was/is on East 14th at 62nd Ave. I haven't been there in a million years. From what I read, the facade has been changed, the specialty is chicken and the neighborhood is even rougher than the one I recall from the 60s and 70s.

                                          Back in the day, I went there during my days at Alameda High and later as a grad student at Cal. The very hot half chicken smothered with very hot fries in a greasy bag was a thing of beauty. Dunking both in the special sauce was indeed special. I couldn't handle the corn dog even at that age.

                                          Tough on the cholesterol, but a wonderful memory.

                                        2. re: cortez

                                          Kwik Way was bought by mexican owners a while ago and started selling burrito, tacos. now even the name's changed. not kwik way anymores.

                                          talk of the town changed hands years ago. totally not the same. place is dead. evening crowd at the bar next door may be gay or transsexuals.....

                                        1. re: ML8000

                                          Picture of the note left on the front of the building:
                                          https://twitter.com/LangerRowley/stat...

                                          I like the reference to "unsubstantiated rumors" of the building owner's ties to organized crime

                                          1. re: drewskiSF

                                            Count me an idiot with extremely bad taste, or acknowledge that Miller's corn dogs hand-dipped and fried to order were legitimately awesome- take your pick, I don't mind.

                                            But what's "the Korean owner" supposed to mean?

                                            1. re: Pius Avocado III

                                              The "the Korean hater " racist carpetbagger person that ran the "new" Kwik Way in to the ground was the same loser that failed at all of his previous EASTBAY restaurants!

                                              I don't think blaming the current landlord is really the root of the problem?

                                              Good riddance racist!

                                              C-YA!

                                            2. re: drewskiSF

                                              And yes, the old Kwik Way was hella better!

                                              I guess that makes me "a Idiot"

                                              I will bet you a "chicken and Fry" that he does not even live in Oakland!

                                              1. re: Mission

                                                He did live in Oakland, was not a racist and didn't 't "Fail" at previous restaurants. Any one hear about outrageous rents? Go and try and pay rent @$300 a day, excluding payroll, food costs, insurance, etc. geez!

                                                1. re: Mission

                                                  The new Kwik Way had fresh ground burgers with house made buns. They were my favorite fast-food burgers ever, and superior to most burger restaurants in the area. They also had a fantastic coconut cake and breakfast burrito.

                                                  They'll be sorely missed.