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Restaurants & Bars 7

Oakland - Nellie’s Soul Food – Morton! Fab Fried Chick Find !!!

rwogange | Jun 8, 200510:20 PM

In a different post (link below), Morton the Mousse wrote:

“Hands down the best fried chicken I've had: tender, crispy and even the breast meat is juicy. If this doesn't satisfy your craving I don't know what will.”

I more than enthusiastically second that. I really can’t think of a better piece of fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. There are a half dozen fry baskets lined up in the kitchen. The chicken is fried to order. No spices other than salt detracting from the crispy flour coating and the skinless chicken. Hot from the fryer, each bite was super crispy and juicy. I was picking every bit of the coating from the bones.

The restaurant is located 11 blocks from Jack London Square on Third Street at the end of Adeline. It has no nonsense Southern cooking at fair prices with generous portions. Most diners are $12.50, come with three sides and corn muffins. Chicken, catfish and red snapper is available by the piece. The regular fried chicken dinner which had a half of fried chicken was an impressive amount of food. Most people took food home.

Even at 3 in the afternoon, mid-week, a dead time for most restaurants, Nellie’s was busy and there was a brisk take out business.

There are daily specials. There is Smothered Steak every day.

Tuesday - Beef short ribs, Meatloaf

Wednesday – Oxtails, Smothered chicken

Thursday – Baked chicken and dressing, Baked pork chops

Friday – Chitterlings, Country style spare ribs, Gumbo, Macaroni and Cheese

Saturday – Cajun style spaghetti, Smothered chicken

Sunday - Baked chicken and dressing, Turkey wings and dressing, Roast Beef, Beef short ribs

On the regular menu there are Pork chops which you can either have grilled, or, better yet, breaded and deep fried. Liver and onions comes with or without gravy. Fried seafood includes catfish, red snapper, oysters and prawns.

Beef items are baby back ribs, rib eye steak, T-bone steak and ground sirloin. There are sandwich versions of many of the dinner items.

They didn’t have desserts today, but the menu lists home made 7up cake, sweet potato pie, peach cobbler and banana pudding. I am guessing with the generous portions, not many people order dessert.

I had the vegetable plate with a piece of chicken breast. It came with a choice of four sides. Not all the sides were as successful as the chicken.
I would be very happy making all my sides the buttery mashed potatoes that had a deep brown gravy. It was enough gravy for flavor and not enough to drown the potatoes.

The yams were buttery, but a little too sweet. The green beans had the texture of canned green beans, but the bright green color of fresh beans. They were a little salty for me. The chopped collard greens had a nice bitter edge and seemed to be cooked with bacon fat. I rarely have exceptional collard greens and these were not above average.

Other sides include black eyed peas, fries, potato salad, corn, rice and gravy. Okra is only served on Friday.

Nellie’s is in a brown two story office building across from Svenson’s Bakery. The windows have white lace curtains, but the décor is industrial modern. One room has red wall, the other has grey walls. A poster of the movie “Soul Food” is on one wall. There are a few posters of African American art. There is another room with a small bar and some TV’s. The tables have red plastic tablecloths and black standard metal restaurant chairs.

I was excited at first when I entered because the long stainless steel open kitchen had the look of some Southern Buffets. However it is a sit down place.

It's a pleasant restaurant with families and friends stopping by for some good chow. As with Morton’s visits, I was the only white face there. No one made me feel out of place. A juke box in the corner was playing some cool R&B. Someone did play “Pretty Woman”. Mercy, what was that about?

Nellie’s may have been located at one time on Shattuck. The staff was not chatty with anyone. The best I could find out was that it is was at the current location for a few months.

It is at the foot of the port of Oakland and if you follow the sign on Adeline you will come to the most unlikely recreational park located among the container yards. Middle Harbor Shoreline Park is nicely landscaped and you can view the action of containers being lifted off of ships and onto trucks.

This link has info about the park which has picnic areas and an amphitheatre. The picture is one view of the park.

I plan to try more of the food at Nellie’s. It is a must stop for me when I'm in the Jack London Square area. It seems like it would be a fun place at prime time. It might be a nice place for Sunday dinner after stopping by the farmers market.

This is plain and simple Southern cooking. No fancy ingredients, just good food. There is one of the nonsense of the Gingerbread House. Locals eat here, not tourists.

Nellie’s Soul Food Restaurant and Bar
1155 3rd Street
Oakland, Ca 994605

Closed Monday
Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 9pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11am – 8 pm



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