Stuck in traffic on San Pablo Avenue, I was reading the faded sign in the parking lot of this burger joint / soft serve ice cream stand. I stopped in to see if they still had a dozen types of hot dogs with royal titles like The Earl (mustard/BBQ sauce dog)
The royalty is in exile and now there is an extensive and eclectic menu of American, Mexican and Asian food. Vegetarian versions of items are available. This is a place of the people and for the people serving large portions for a good price.
It has to be the only soft-serve fast food joint where you can get steamed salmon topped with slivers of fresh ginger. Salmon comes with steamed veggies (cabbage, carrots, broccoli, onions) and lots of white rice. For $5.50 it was quite a deal with a generous piece of nicely steamed salmon.
There are also quite a few vegetarian items including crunchy tofu with chips and ranch dressing.
You can get clam chowder or chicken won ton soup pot stickers, nachos, or cheese fries. Theres grilled chicken salad or a steak sandwich loaded with grilled onions. . For desert there are sundaes or fresh watermelon. Choose a cherry malt or a can of V8 juice.
Burger King should only be as innovative with such a selection from super healthy to grease heaven.
Yet despite this extensive wealth of riches, it would have been nice if they kept a few of the old jewels. Some of the more creative dogs were:
The Emperor: mustard, relish, onions, peanuts (really, peanuts)
The Duke: Bacon, pineapple, catsup (ok, this was unnecessary)
The King mustard, baked beans
This last was just inspired. Beans and franks are naturals together. There was also a choice of 50 flavors of shakes and malts. Now it is just six: banana, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, pineapple and cherry. Where there were once thirteen types of sundaes, there are now eight. The chocolate dipped cones are popular. Red vines are available.
The skinless beef hot dogs are big and ordering it with everything gets mustard, relish, ketchup and chopped onions. They are grilled and while not the top of the line, very good. Corn dogs are available.
The burgers are a nice fast food version a la Clown Alley or Red Onion. On a large sesame bun they have lightly grilled onions, a slice of tomato, iceberg lettuce and mayo.
There are a dozen burgers including garden, chicken and Mr. Friday Fish buger.
There are Mission burritos with a choice of chicken, steak, ground beef, salmon, veggie or garden. Fried burritos are available. Various versions of nachos, tacos (3 for $2.50) and tamales are also on the menu.
The hot link sandwich can be ordered with an egg. Fish and chips are available with cod or catfish. There are fried chicken wings.
And we havent even touched on the 30 Asian rice plates, a few of which like the crispy pork loin also come with a dab of potato salad.
This is also lottery central with lots of scratchers in addition to the other games.
The interior never changed and cartoons of dogs, the animal type, still line the walls with their titles underneath the Earl, the King, etc. There are four long tables inside with stools bolted to the floor.
It is always busy. There were bikers covered with fascinating tattoos, other fast food workers taking advantage of the inexpensive prices and large portions, teens, retirees, locals with children and a few street people eating in the patio area with shopping cart parked near by.
The nice Asian couple who run the place are amazingly efficient to watch.
Twin Castle is no upscale Taylors Refresher, but they serve decent food for a reasonable price and there are healthy choices along with the regular fast food options.
Twin Castle Express
3020 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702
Monday Saturday: 11 am 8 pm
Sunday: 11 am 7 pm