In 1980, I had breakfast almost every day with the Moonies. I was a high school dropout with a 10 speed bicycle, a couple of pairs of jeans, and no prospects. I’d roll to College Ave every morning for my croissant and latte at the Aladdin restaurant, which everyone knew was run by Moonies. I resisted invitations from the (unpaid, we later learned) glassy eyed servers to come for dinner and indoctrination. I was only there because they had an espresso machine. Tres hip in those days.
My job at the nearby gourmet sandwich shop (Curds and Whey, for the OG natives) both paid me and did not require that I brainwash my customers. I worked 25 hours a week, ate well, and lived in a (shared) apartment around the corner. It was a good gig. Cute guys from the poultry shop and the butcher came in to flirt and get sandwiches. That block of College ave had serious gourmet cred, even then. I spent a lot of time hanging out at the coffee house having important conversations. I’d occasionally save up some money and go out for a “fine dining” experience at the French restaurant, Norman’s, where they’d serve me Wente Brothers Chenin Blanc, no questions asked.
I was poor but living like a baller.
Now I have a lot more income and a lot less time. Rockridge is still a destination.
Wood Tavern is the anchor on my old block.
Wood Tavern is as good as a neighborhood restaurant can get. You know your neighbor’s kid who went to an ivy league school, excelled in sports, and met the perfect woman to marry? Yeah, Wood Tavern is like that. Successful on all fronts. It’s a cozy space that makes you want to linger over lunch for four hours. The drinks are great, the food is amazing and the service is some of the best we’ve had anywhere. We had a lovely afternoon at the bar one day with Britt and Hans behind the bar.
Also, possibly the best burger in the East Bay.
Wood Tavern attracts patrons of all ages and also solo diners, both hallmarks of a great restaurant in my opinion. It makes me smile to imagine myself biking here as a 75 year old and spending a couple of hours lunching at the bar…