East Bay Fast Food

They’re everywhere out here. Maybe it’s a California thing. Having lived in New York City for the past ten years, I’ve been particularly struck by the wide variety of decaying mid century fast food chains still hanging around and very much in business in the Oakland/Berkeley area. At my old job back east, my friend Gary and I would often talk about how in storied and historied New York, you may happen to work in a building that’s over a century old, the city itself may have been settled in the 1600’s, but you’ll never see anything on the streets that’s older than a decade. Real estate is endlessly recycled and refurbished and remodeled. And in post-Giuliani playground New York, the process has only sped up. That’s not to say that NYC doesn’t have its own brand of urban detritus (hat blocking shops and bialy stores and the like), but you don’t often see burger stands unless Danny Meyer is behind them.

Out here in the Berkeley/Oakland environs, for whatever reason, these gaudy emblems of an earlier age seem to be around every corner. Stay tuned in the pages of this blog (does a blog have pages?) for a cataloging and collection of all the curious palaces of fried food to be found in the East Bay, or at least ones I can walk to from my apartment. There will be illustrations, photographs, taste-tests, interviews and random thoughts.

I’ll now return you to your regular, comic-themed programming.

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