7/23/2016 UPDATE: Plans are moving forward to build a mix-used, 50-unit building on the site. 1
1/13/15 UPDATE: As of some time in January, 2015, there is a Merritt Bakery offshoot housed here selling baked goods.
08/2014 UPDATE: CLOSED (again). The operator of the Kwikway abruptly packed up and left at the end of July 2014, apparently without notifying his landlord. The owner of the property reportedly hopes to find a temporary restaurant tenant for the space, but may eventually tear down the distinctive building to build a retail and housing complex on the site. [Source] Word on the street is that it may become condos. [Source]
Kwik Way Drive-In was a local Oakland burger-joint chain through the 1970s. The main restaurant was located between Grand Avenue and Lakeshore Avenue on Lake Park, a few doors down from the Grand Lake Theater. (Another, at 22nd and Telegraph, is now a Giant Burger.)
During the late 1950s – early 1960s, long before McDonald's homogenized the burger business, Kwik Way served delicious, inexpensive burgers, fries, huge apple pie slices and malted milk shakes made with real ice cream that schoolchildren, teens on dates and families could afford. Grand Lake Theater moviegoers would carefully fill their coat pockets and purses with Kwik Way food to sneak into the theater for movie meals.
Don’t think it was health food, however. By the 1970s, prices remained low, but
victims patrons could expect limp, grease-drenched fries, paper-thin burgers smothered in a nauseatingly zesty, heartburn-inducing pinkish-orange secret sauce (“Out of secret sauce? Ehh, put some more mayonnaise out in the sun”— Herschel Krustofsky), and shakes made of only the finest chemicals Dow, American Carbide or Monsanto could synthesize. Stuff was still crazy delicious though; we relished every bite, and at lunch would invariably swarm any kid whose parents forgot to make a proper lunch and brought them Kwik Way instead.
Slowly but surely, their food continued to worsen. As healthy eating gained awareness, Kwik Way faded away, became run down and finally closed in 2007. Neighbors complained about the "blight."
The "new" Kwik Way was the recipient of the East Bay Express Best Milkshake Award in 2014.
According to personal and yelp accountsI, the "new" Kwik Way has closed again, as of July 31, 2014.
500 Lake Park Avenue, Oakland, California
Open 7 days a week, 11 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Links and References
- Commander Cody’s “Two Triple Cheese…” YouTube
- Kwik Way Drive-In gloriously reopens in Oakland InsideScoopSF
- Burger Renewal:Oakland's Kwik Way Drive-In survived the wrecking ball. Can it survive expectations? East Bay Express
- Old Oakland fave finds new fans:Legendary eatery returns to warm welcome Laney Tower
- Q&A: Frank Oz on Henson, “Dark Crystal” and the Kwik Way SFGate
- Hahns try again to replace Kwik Way with major hamburger chain Grand Lake Guardian
- Kwik Way’s Gary Rizzo on a Few Faves Oakland Magazine
- Kwik Way Drive-In in Oakland, CA French Fry Lady
- Project unveiled for former Kwik Way site East Bay Times June 20, 2016