Coffee & Tea

Oakland: Since 1979 - Day of the Dead Coffee and char-grilled hot dogs

rworange | Oct 29, 201110:55 PM     5

It is almost Halloween and 'tis the season. So when the Day of the Dead Coffee sign caught my eye ... finally ... it seemed like a good time to drop in and pay my respects.

It is one door down from the Grand Lake Theatre and in all these years I never once noticed it. I asked if they REALLY were in business all that time. Smokey , the owner, said they were at another location. Five years ago they they bought the hot dog store at this location. Still ... five years and I have never noticed it.

DOD roasts its own beans and the coffee is named after dead celebrities ... Janis Joplin, Che Guevera, Bone Marley, Jimi Hendrix (velvety dark roast), Elvis, Billie Holiday (bluesy), Gerry Garcia (strong psychadelic brew). Smokey is a musician and his CD's are available for sale at the shop.

I don't know which was the coffee of the day, but it was a respectable cup, strong but not over acidic.

Let's say the "Chicago" dog was a homage to that frank ... no poppyseed bun, neon relish, or sports peppers. The onions were red.

BUT ... the plump hot dog was char-grilled. I'd go back again and order a regular hot dog with hot saurkraut.

How do I know there is saurkraut? I was asked if I wanted it on the Chicago dog ... ummm .. no ... classic, please. I was told the kraut changes the flavor. I'll bet.

Other sausages include: Polish, bratwurst, veggie, hot links, chicken artichoke and chicken apple.

Every inch of the cafe is packed with Day of the Dead memorabilia. Even the glass mugs holding straws, spoons and such are in the shape of skulls. There are a few sidewalk tables.

DOD has an agreement with the Grand Lake Theater, so you can bring food and drink from the cafe into the movie.

This blog writes "Smoky says he likes the idea that death isn’t something to fear, that we should celebrate it a bit as a part of life, which is why he and his partner settled on Day of the Dead as the theme of their shop."


There's a charming quirkiness about the place. You order hot dogs at one counter and coffee at the other. Smokey both takes and makes both orders.

This East Bay Express blurb states " This isn't a get-in, get-out morning pit-stop kind of place, but rather one that invites and encourages patrons to stay awhile. Don't miss Smokey, the beloved and knowledgeable proprietor."


So, order a java, frank or both ... take a seat ... and rest in peace for a while

Flickr photo stream


Day of the Dead Coffee
3208 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

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