What better day for a hot dog and a char-broiled burger than today. Also, being the Fourth of July AND a Monday, it was restaurant death. Almost everyone was closed. It was Oscars, Gillman Grill, Sauls or chains.
I have been to Oscars only once and that was when I moved to the Bay Area a few decades ago. As everyone must know, Oscars serves the classic burger on a large sesame bun, with lettuce, tomato, slice of white onion and mayo ($3.75). Yellow and red ketchup and mustard plastic squeeze bottles on the table.
Place your order at the grill, NOT the register, where the flames often dramatically leap up. Some of the orders were brought to the table, but when they are working on orders, they call you over to pick up the food.
Oscars is a basic ¼ lb burger, better than McDonalds and a modest cut above places like The Red Onion which grill their burger rather than char-broil them.
However, Im always driving when Im in Berkeley, parking is a pain and the burger wasnt hassle worthy. Im such a dope. Oscars is one of the few restaurants with a parking lot surrounding it. Add to that there is a side window which usually caters to people who walk by, but they will take your order at the window if you drive up.
The dog is a basic Millers California dog that is NOT char-broiled, served with mustard, relish onion and tomato on a standard bun ($2.75).
Oscars has been serving almost the same burgers since 1950. As the owner said in a newspaper review posted on the wall, when you are a classic, you dont need to reinvent yourself.
No fancy burger meat or cheese. No designer lettuce or heirloom tomatoes. As fancy as it gets is upgrading the burger for sixty cents to a French roll (and WHY would someone corrupt the classic burger like that). Sixty cents will upgrade your choice of cheese from American to cheddar, Swiss jack or pepper jack. A recent (maybe) addition is adding bacon according to a faded pink sign on the wall.
I didnt get them but fries are $1.45. Paper-lined red plastic baskets hold the food.
The only other items are a steak sandwich, a chicken breast sandwich, a turkey burger and a vegetarian burger.
Beverages include coffee, tea, soda, lemonade (mix), orange juice and shakes. Dessert options are cookies and soft serve ice cream (the machine was broken today).
There are two metal picnic tables in the corner of the parking lot that look like they havent been used since the restaurant opened in 1950. According to the review on the wall, the original Oscar, a Cal alumni, ran the restaurant for 48 years before turning it over to his son. The only decorations are a few Cal shirts and banner with pictures of Oscar and Oscars about the time it opened.
It seems like Amazon yellow pages includes pictures of many of the restaurants in larger cities. .
1890 SHATTUCK AVE
BERKELEY, CA 94709
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