Posted by: forgingahead | September 25, 2009

Bakesale Betty

Bakesale Betty is an unassuming storefront on the corner of 51st Street and Telegraph in Oakland. In the Temescal district.

Now, I am not an expert on Oakland so I looked up this neighborhood on my favorite resource, Wikipedia. According to them:

Temescal was an Italian neighborhood until the late 1960s. Temescal saw many changes in demographics over the past 10 years as new developments and upscale shopping and restaurants entered the neighborhood. Large numbers of young couples with children moved to Temescal as the real estate prices in nearby Rockridge grew too expensive for middle-class families.

I can read between the lines. See that block of time between the late 1960s and 1999, when the gentrification process began? What was Temescal during those 30 years?

My cousin Jimmy is an artist who lived in this neighborhood during the 30 year *mystery period* and I can tell you that my family would only visit him during the day. And then with some trepidation. We’re city folk and don’t scare easily.

So when Bert was driving us around last weekend I was getting cranky. “Why are we here,” I whined. “It’s ugly. And boring. And I’m NOT getting out of the car.”

And then we saw it. A one block mirage of cute storefronts and trees. And a bike shop. All good things are possible when there is a bike shop nearby.

So we pulled into a parking spot and commenced exploring.

Back to Bakesale Betty.

First off, there is no sign.

Just look for the section of sidewalk lined with brightly painted ironing boards and stools and the long line of people patiently waiting.

Hand-lettered menus scribbled on butcher paper taped to the windows outline the limited offerings.

Limited perfection.

I’m crazy about the fried chicken. Crispy yet moist. Not greasy. And served either on a soft roll filled with coleslaw or – my preferred way – over a bed of coleslaw. And this is some seriously tasty coleslaw.


Yum. I’ll be back.



  1. Oh…lucky you! What a fun find! Good for you for giving in and exploring…that must have been so fun. Your description of the chicken made me hungry and I bet they make their own bread!? How was the bike shop?

    • Meg – the bike shop was cute and small. A husband/wife team opened it last year. They really focus on touring bikes with a few mountain bikes thrown into the mix. We had a nice chat with one of the guys who works there. He’d just returned from a year in France. Lucky duck!

  2. […] such a lovely ride we rewarded ourselves with a Bakesale Betty fried chicken […]

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