Update: The Cherry Pit is under new ownership and apparently has changed.
If you like dives like I do, the Cherry Pit is well worth a visit. It's not really that the Cherry Pit is a dive, but going to this little restaurant that features "American & Chinese Food" is like stepping back into another decade. The restaurant looks like your classic 1950's diner/coffee-shop, its white walls contrasting against its bright red vinyl booths and counter stools. Only some pictures, some large red ceiling hangings and the servers make it clear that you are in a Chinese restaurant.
When we visited early on a Tuesday evening, the restaurant was quite empty. There was a man eating at the counter and another party at one of the booths, but that was it. I'm not sure if it added or detracted from the "lost in time" atmosphere. The menu, featuring classic "American Chinese" dishes (such as chop suey, where else can you find chop suey these days?!) and classic "American American" dishes such as fried chicken and burgers, was certainly in tune with the place.
We wanted to try a little bit of everything (without getting too stuffed), so Mike ordered the No. 3 Dinner (pork chow mein, pork fried rice and sweet & sour pork for $7). I had the Sliced BBQ Pork a la Carte ($5.75, $5.95 served on top of rice) and a 1/4 lb cheeseburger ($2.55). We both ordered sodas (canned, $1 each).
We both enjoyed the BBQ pork; it was sweet and quite tasty. The fried rice was also quite nice; the little pieces of BBQ pork were delicious. We weren't that enthusiastic about the chow mein, though. The noodles were too crispy (they might have been underdone), though Michaela ate quite a few. The sweet & sour pork was another loser; the sauce tasted like syrup and the breading surrounding the pork was too thick. I wouldn't order either of these again. The burger, however, was the true low point of the meal. Mike and I disagree as to whether it was actually worse than the burgers served at Jollibee (our previous standard for worst burger), but I couldn't stomach more than one bite of the thin, whitish patty. No wonder the waitress sounded surprised when I ordered it!
Service was good and friendly (both the waitress and the woman behind the counter who took the phone orders seemed very nice). The bill came to about $19 after tax but before the tip.
In all, it was a fair experience. Mike says he wouldn't go back, and I wouldn't go back there for the food but I might go for the ambiance if I'm ever in that type of a mood.
550 San Leandro Blvd.
San Leandro, CA
Open: M-Sa 11AM-8:30PM