One thing about Anh and I is we like us some cheap food. As long as it’s good, we good. I do enjoy nicer sit down restaurants too, but in my world it can be hard to beat a sub $10 delicious meal and Locol in Oakland could potentially deliver that to me. That’s kind of what spurred me to contribute to the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign last year. Cheap, accessible, local, good food was what I was hoping to see from Locol in Oakland and LA. I also got a nice hip t-shirt to show off. In its most simplistic form, Locol is the brainchild of popular chefs Roy Choi of Kogi, Chego, Pot and many more and Daniel Patterson of Coi, Alta, and Haven amongst others restaurants. Their resume’s are too long to mention everything they have accomplished. They also boast a pretty insane advisory board with Rene Redzepi of Noma, which has been named best restaurant in the world numerous times by Restaurant magazine and Chad Robertson, founder and owner of the famous Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.
Locol could very well explode and expand as quick as my stomach at a Korean bbq restaurant, but it could also fizzle into a distant memory and be forgotten as an overly ambitious project that just wasn’t good enough. What makes their mission such an uphill battle is that they are trying to rewrite the script and loosen the grip the fast food industry has on America. They hope to revolutionize it by providing healthier, sustainable, and delicious food at just about the same price as you might find at a McDonald’s or Burger King.
Inside the Oakland store there are a few gigantic photo murals of locals. This 15X15 foot mural is of the Scraper Bike Team, an Oakland non-profit which provides a positive outlet for Oaklander’s centered around fixing and painting bicycles.
The restaurant itself was easy on the eyes and welcoming. Roy was directing traffic, overseeing the operation, and pacing back and forth to make sure things were running smoothly. Daniel was in the kitchen cooking up some good eats. When I think of Roy I think street food and father of the Kogi Korean taco truck whereas Daniel brings a steady refined Michelin star pedigree to the fold. While seemingly a stark contrast, this eclectic team brings the same passion to deliver tasty, affordable food prepared by locals who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to do so.
As far as the food goes, things are broken up into sections making it easy enough to order. Prices in the LA location are even $1 cheaper. Still, I was pretty happy with the pricing.
They also have kiosks where you can order if you prefer that instead of talking to a real person.
It was opening day and they had leftover Brekkie’s they were handing out! I think they were supposed to be for staff but they made too many. We happily accepted them while standing in line.
These breakfast sandwiches were very good. Still hot, it was the perfect snack to prep us for the rest of the menu. Seemingly cooked for hours the carnitas was tender while the squared egg reminded me of Japanese tamago being silky smooth and pleasant to bite into.
Not as tender as the carnitas, but with a nice chew, the machaca had a strong meatyness to it. Anh had never had machaca before and she liked it quite a bit.
They even serve coffee. Yes for $2 you can get a hot cup of Joe, or if you prefer to have it iced they offer that too.
Don’t need caffeine to pick you up? Maybe a strawberry agua fresca will satiate you. On this day both were very tasty. The agua fresca was on the sweet side of things but not enough to throw it away. And the coffee maybe could have been a little stronger and less sweet too. Overall though, for $2 you can’t complain.
Chili and rice. Something I have fond memories of growing up. This certainly brought back memories.
The chili tasted like homemade beefy chili. Without the rice it could stand on its own as a good bowl of chili.
But with rice I was in heaven. A lot had to do with my positive association with the combination but to be real, it was well executed. There were layers upon layers of flavor and it was deeply satisfying uncovering them. At first I enjoyed the crunch of the crackers but they became a little soggy after and it took away from the experience. With a hint of spice, everything came together and I want to get it again.
We also got a few burgers. 30% of both the chicken and beef patty are made up of tofu and grains. I couldn’t tell. The familiar flavors were there yet I kind of wished it was just a tad bit more crunchy. Not too bad for $5. The bread which is designed by Chad Robertson of Tartine is soft and spongy and somehow managed to not get soggy until the very last bite.
The cheeseburger was one that I anticipated the most because I thought it probably would be the most popular item. They add seaweed and fish sauce to add extra umami to the equation. The awesome sauce is made up of vinegar, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and gochujang (a Korean fermented spicy soybean chili paste). Again, no grains or tofu could be detected upon first bite. After a few I may have, but then again the mind can play tricks on you. Regardless of percentages, the distinct flavor was beef. Like 100% beef along with a bevvy of familiar flavors not always commonly found together. It was odd being able to experience something different, yet ordinary at the same time.
Here’s an interesting/funny action shot of Roy and Daniel. So far so good. I think the odd couple makes for a good team. I want to go back to try everything again. Maybe I’ll even try something new. Sadly their ice coffee didn’t taste the same the second and third time according to Anh. They were running a free coffee promotion so maybe they didn’t spend the time to make sure it tasted good. I’m not sure. But I still have good memories of the food and would like to recreate them in the near future.
2214 Broadway St
Oakland, CA 94612