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Saturday
Jun262010

Kwik Way: an Oakland Original


There's no telling my story without mentioning the Oakland classic burger joint Kwik Way. The beginning of the sOuL tale says that when moms was pregnant with me she had tremendous cravings for their burgers and corn dogs- that was the late 70's. In the 80's, as a kid pops and I would go here and while waiting for the order to go I would climb on the stair step brick pillars. Known for their greasy fries which sometimes were better ate with a fork and thin hamburgers with some special red sauce this was the taste of my youth!

As much of an Oakland iconic symbol I feel Kwik Way is, its also a good example of what's happened in the town. The pic above is the Kwik Way by Lake Merritt and Grand Lake theater, sometime a while back. I know the pic is old because it's now an empty shell, closed down. No longer serving that greasy goodness and has been this way for at least 5 years. Word has it the original owners are selling the location to Giant Burger (wtf??!!) and that for over a decade the city of Oakland had always wanted to get rid of the spot (rumored to have desired a McDonalds franchise as a replacement!) . As the demographics of the city has changed (many of the black residents have been pushed out for various reasons gentrification being one of them) so have the tastes. The newer yuppie crowd have brought with them cute boutiques where the owners often look and stare at me as if I don't belong, to free range chicken wraps (that I ironically love) , these new neighbors did not take to my childhood favorite eatery. I've seen this happen to all sorts of places in North, West & East Oakland, MB mall demolished to build bigger Kaiser facilities, The Serenader is now a tattoo bar going from an OG hangout spot where the older dudes would call you "young blood" and they wasn't talking about gang bangin - to a place that plays obnoxious rock music as if to highlight the shift. I feel like something has been lost, all except for this picture and the memories of a rich past that I still cherish...

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