San Leandro Reviews
Summary: Standard coffee-shop fare in a classic coffee-shop
Note: This review was written in 2006. Since then the restaurant has changed ownerships, but not the concept or much of the menu.
Though I've lived in San Leandro for more than six years, it wasn't until last year - when my friend Boris handed me an updated copy of the San Leandro Restaurant Guide published by the local Chamber of Commerce - that I realized that Dick's Restaurant and Lounge even existed. A bit surprising, considering that Dick's is located at the end of Alvarado St., "aka furniture store road" - near the location of the temporary main library they set up while the new main library was being built. In other words, we drove that way many times, but I guess never to the end of the road.
Dick's Restaurant is one of those classic coffee shop restaurants that abound in San Leandro. It has a classic look with an L-shaped dining room, spreading around the kitchen and the long Formica eat-in counter. There is also a "lounge," a dark room in the back with a large bar which we didn't really check out. Their banquet facilities accommodate between 20 and 200 people.
I thought of Dick's on a Saturday morning in April 2006 when we were debating where to go for brunch - the choices in San Leandro are limited. Dick's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day and they have a special brunch menu for weekends. Their menu is classic coffee-house, albeit quite long and at San Leandro prices. Breakfast items include 16 omelettes - plus weekend specials (most around $9), waffles and pancakes ($5-8) and egg combinations ($8-10). If you're the kind of guy or gal who wants to get pork chops or chicken fried steak for breakfast, you can get them here as well. Lunches include sandwiches, salads and burgers ($7-11). Most of the offerings are very traditional - you can get a burger with chili or avocado, but they have nothing like the San Francisco burger (with cheese & caramelized onions on sliced sourdough bread) that we so enjoyed at Prings. The salad bar also looks like a refugee from the 70's - low on leafy vegetables but with several mixed salads (beans? pasta? chickpeas? that type of thing). Dinners include a few pastas and stirfries ($9-11), all sorts of broiled meats ($13-16), fried seafood ($12-13) and some classic coffee-shop dishes (liver & onions, roast beef, breaded cutlets - $11). They have a children's menu but only for lunch/dinner items and with most items costing $7 it's no bargain. You can, however, order a single pancake for $2 - they are quite large and my four-year-old only ate half.
Mike decided to go for a combination breakfast - scrambled eggs, linguica (or choice of meat), pancakes (or choice of starch). He loved the linguica, he thought the eggs were fine (but really, how hard are they to mess up?) but the pancake was merely OK. Of course, it came with corn syrup. Kathy and I both decided on lunch - she had the patty melt while I had the avocado burger. The patty was cooked to order, which we both appreciated. We both liked our sandwiches, but we felt that the sandwiches were too soggy, probably because the patties were too fatty. The french fries were OK, kind of generic.
Service was very good and swift - always important when dining with little kids. The waitresses seemed to be all old-pros, which adds to the character of this type of restaurant.
In all, it was a good coffee-shop experience and we'll probably go there again when we are in the mood for that. Still, it's nowhere as good as Prings used to be.
Note, I've since learned that Dick's was used as the setting for a video by Radiohead.
Dick's Restaurant and Lounge
3188 Alvarado St.
San Leandro, CA
M-Sa 6 am-10 pm
Su 6 am -9 pm