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Feb 17, 2014 02:26 PM

Lunch near the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale

It's coming up in a few weeks and I'm going on Sunday with a friend. I'm really not familiar with the area, can anyone recommend some lunch places near it? I'm looking for casual, non-spicy food that isn't too far away. If we get there early enough, we'll be done by lunch time and will be hungry.


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  1. Park Ave. in Alameda is just over the bridge. I'd go to Speisekammer or East End Pizza but there are dozens of choices.

    Also lots of Mexican places on International Blvd.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I always combine The White Elephant Sale w/ Fruitvale (International Blvd). A wonderful ritual.

      Noting your request for non-spicy--much good Mexican is spicy, but you can ask for mild or even non-spicy for many items. If you search for Fruitvale on this Board, you'll find an abundance of recommendations.

      I also seem to remember that last year, there was one food cart outside the White Elephant Sale that was light years better than all the rest. You'd think I could remember what they had on offer. Sneaking suspicion: Mexican!

      1. re: sundeck sue

        In fact, the shuttle that picks you up outside the Fruitvale BART station is probably the best way to get to/from the sale without having to deal with the madness of trying to park near the warehouse.

        So lunch at any number of options within walking distance of BART — Taco Grill (where the food isn't especially spicy), to name just one — would work out nicely.

        1. re: abstractpoet

          That's a great idea except it isn't very practical for us to take BART there. We're on the Peninsula literally just over the SM bridge, so it's easier to get there very early. Last year we really lucked out and found a parking spot just 2 blocks from the warehouse.

          Thanks for the suggestion, though, and I'll check the map to see where the Fruitvale BART station is.

          1. re: alwayshungrygal

            Ah, well, in the past we've actually driven to the Fruitvale station and parked in the BART parking lot, and then taken the shuttle over to the sale. Food-wise, it makes sense if you're interested in any of the Fruitvale options.

            Otherwise, any of the restaurants in the Jack London Square area would work — Brotzeit Lokal (German sausages/biergarten on the waterfront) or The Forge (pizza) would be my picks.

            1. re: abstractpoet

              Parking at BART and taking the shuttle is a GREAT idea! Thanks for that. I'll do some research on Fruitvale restaurants.

              1. re: alwayshungrygal

                Even better is the lot in the shopping center midway between BART and the warehouse. Plenty of secure parking and if you're hungry, a Popeye's and a Boston Market. I used to get a Whopper Jr., but BK closed. It is easy walking distance to the warehouse.

                You'd be better off going on Saturday, although Sunday is a big sale day in many departments. Better yet, go to the Preview Sale, get 1st crack and help out the museum with your $15 admission.

                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                  I think that is the shopping center we found the first time we were there but I forget the name of the place we ate at. We parked under the freeway and the shopping center was about a block away.

                  Sunday is a better day for me, so I can go to my farmer's market on Saturday.

                  Thanks for the response.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy

                    Popeye's or Boston Market might be better than some food trucks but it would be sad to waste a meal there given the great choices a couple of blocks away.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      If you assign a higher priority to shopping than to eating, the closest reasonable option is preferable. Time is of the essence at the WES. I like the El Novillo truck. What happened to El Ojo...? Their truck wasn't there last Saturday.

                      1. re: chocolatetartguy

                        The request is for a place to eat after shopping.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Correct, thank you. We'll want to sit down and rest after we're done. I'll pack a few protein bars to tide me over until we leave the warehouse.

                        2. re: chocolatetartguy

                          El Ojo moved quite a while ago when Sinaloa leased that space.

            2. re: sundeck sue

              We seem to be frequenting the same events.

              This year at the preview sale, there were 2 hot dog carts, a stand with corn dogs and other delicacies, a coffee cart and something else?. The Tamale Queen used to set up outside, but not for the last 2 years. I think there was someone else there last year with tamales, but not at this year's preview.

              Me, I always drive up to the El Novillo taco truck near the BART station after I finish shopping.

            3. re: Robert Lauriston

              Park STREET. Lots of choices. Just park and walk around until you see something that appeals. If you do a search for Park Street Alameda there are several discussions.

            4. The Museum has it own cafe which is pretty decent. However, I don't know if it's open on Sunday, nor whether it's a good idea to go during the sale--crowds and all.

              Nido is very good. Mexican, but updated, good ingredients, and well prepared. Not everything on the menu is spicy. (Oak St, just the other side of the freeway from the museum.)

              Also in the Jack London Square vicinity is Chop Bar, which is good and has a brunch.

              On the other side of the museum is Lake Chalet. Fair to middling food, but beautiful setting on Lake Merritt.

              Other 'hounds can tell you all about Chinatown which is nearby.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Rapini

                The White Elephant Sale isn't in the Museum itself, it's in a warehouse near 880. I've been to the cafe in the Museum and would definitely eat there again. The warehouse is just that--a warehouse and nothing to eat inside. Outside, there are only food carts that have no appeal, only if we're passing out from hunger.

                Thanks for the response.

              2. Would be nice if you gave us the address of the warehouse?...since its not at the actual museum.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Mission

                  Of course, silly of me to assume that those familiar with the area would know where it is.

                  333 Lancaster Street, Oakland

                  I've been there twice, and both times left starved and frantic for somewhere to eat. The first time my friend and I stumbled onto something in a local strip mall, danged if I remember where it was. The other time we ended up driving 20 minutes south. This year I am determined to scope out a place ahead of time.


                  1. re: alwayshungrygal

                    Park St. has around 100 restaurants within an 8-10 block stretch.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Well, maybe close to 100 that sell food, but that includes coffee shops, fro-yo shops, sandwich shops, etc. There are nowhere close to that many places that could be considered restaurants. That said, it's one of the densest restaurant districts in the Bay Area.

                2. Thanks for all the ideas. Park Street and Fruitvale seem to be the best options. Looking forward to venturing into new territory, such as it is.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: alwayshungrygal

                    Wait, don't go before reading my recommendation for Brotzeit Lokal! It is so delicious. Homemade German sausages and beer on the waterfront.

                    1. re: ltsering

                      Brotzeit is hard to beat if you want sausages and German beer but that's pretty much all they have. Can be hard to find the first time you go, too.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Their burgers are fantastic too. I don't drink but even I love the place! :-) Yes it's hard to find but that's part of the appeal.

                  2. Brotzeit Lokal of course, it's DA BOMB