Berkeley restaurants

Oakland airport restaurants are finally getting food and drink

Nearly five years ago, Oakland International Airport announced plans to open an assortment of exciting new restaurants for Bay Area travelers. But then the pandemic hit, air travel took a nosedive, and those plans were put on hold.

Now, with air travel rebounding — in June, Oakland Airport surpassed one million monthly passengers for the first time since 2019 — that updated food and beverage program plan is back.

If you’ve recently left Oakland, you may have noticed a few new deals have landed already. For one, San Francisco and Oakland’s famed Farley’s Cafe opened Terminal 2 in February, serving fresh coffee and egg sandwiches. Another new coffee option also arrived earlier this year in the form of Oaklandish Coffee Collective, with a rotating roster of local coffee roasters as well as Oaklandish-branded apparel.

The location of Farley’s Coffee inside Oakland International Airport.

Image via Yelp user Rachel M.

A new Subway and Peet’s Coffee are also already open, but the most recent arrival is the Oakland Draft House, which opened on July 13 in Terminal 2. The full-service restaurant and bar overlooking the bay offers draft beers from the Sierra. Nevada Brewing Company burgers, mahi mahi tacos and breakfast burritos.

“The catering program has really been a big push that started with our Board of Commissioners to elevate the sense of community at the airport and strive for greater visibility for local establishments,” Bryant said. Francis, director of aviation for the Port of Oakland. . “We really expected to see this transformation unfold in 2020…but literally, as the momentum built, the pandemic hit. And at that point, it was a tough stop.

An artist's rendition of a new Peet's Coffee set opening at Oakland International Airport.

An artist’s rendition of a new Peet’s Coffee set opening at Oakland International Airport.

Courtesy of Oakland International Airport

Fortunately, the transformation was able to resume recently, although the list of restaurants on offer has changed a bit from the original. Brown Sugar Kitchen and Luka’s Taproom & Lounge both closed their Uptown Oakland locations earlier this year and will no longer open at the airport.

However, many well-known local businesses that were originally slated to open are still ongoing: Vietnamese restaurant Tay Ho, Mexican spot Calavera, Rockridge Southie sandwich shop, A16 pizzeria, Old Oakland District wine and whiskey bar, and several Peet’s Coffee outposts. A new sports bar concept called Oakland A’s Clubhouse is also planned, and Berkeley’s Cancun Sabor Mexicano is a recent addition to the roster.

In the near future, travelers to Oakland can expect the arrival of Vietnamese restaurant Tay Ho. The beloved restaurant in Oakland Chinatown is slated to open the first week of September.

Vietnamese cuisine at Tay Ho Oakland Restaurant & Bar, soon to be installed at Oakland International Airport.

Vietnamese cuisine at Tay Ho Oakland Restaurant & Bar, soon to be installed at Oakland International Airport.

Image via Yelp user Michael L.

Owner Denise Huynh said she will serve an abbreviated version of the Tay Ho menu with pho, vermicelli bowls, banh mi and coffee, wine and beer. It’ll be the best of both worlds: those with more time to kill before their flight can relax with a big bowl of pho, and those rushing to their doorstep can always stop for a quick banh mi.


Huynh said she wanted to bring Tay Ho’s food to the airport based on her own food experiences while traveling.

“I don’t eat any processed foods…but I find myself doing it when I travel. And so, with the Oakland Airport concept, I just want to bring in something wholesome and fresh. …Why does it have to be bad food when you travel? Why does it have to be fast food when you travel? »

The opening at the airport took a while for Tay Ho, and Huynh begins to feel the anticipation.

“I have people saying, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to start flying out of Oakland so I can go to your restaurant,'” Huynh said. “I’m like, my god, you guys are so sweet…I’m getting excited. Nervous-excited.

An artistic rendition of the new Oakland A's Clubhouse sports bar slated to open at Oakland International Airport.

An artistic rendition of the new Oakland A’s Clubhouse sports bar slated to open at Oakland International Airport.

Courtesy of Oakland International Airport

Oakland A’s Clubhouse and Calavera are next on the list, having already begun construction. The Clubhouse is set to be a full restaurant and bar in Chile’s former space in honor of the city’s baseball team. Diners can snack on classic dishes such as burgers, sausages, chicken wings and beer.

Calavera is an upscale Mexican restaurant in Uptown Oakland that recently settled a class action lawsuit for wage theft. It will open in the old Andalé airport space, serving tortas, guacamole, tacos, take-out salads and margaritas. Both spots are expected to open in early 2023.

District, Southie and Cancun Sabor Mexicano are scheduled to be built later this year. The two existing locations of the Vino Volo wine bar are set to undergo renovations, and a new “Concourse Cafe” concept as well as the transformation of the old food court into a more sophisticated “Food Hall” are also on the way.

Eats from Cancun Sabor Mexicano in Berkeley.

Eats from Cancun Sabor Mexicano in Berkeley.

Picture via Yelp

More vegetarian and vegan options will be available throughout the airport, in addition to kids’ menus, “economy meals” (no more than $10 for a dish and drink) and “deals of the week” (no more than $15 for a dish and a drink).

“It’s really just an attempt to better meet the needs of the broadest and deepest part of our travelers at the airport,” Francis explained.

All of these shiny new offerings are expected to open by next spring or summer.

In the end, almost nothing at Oakland Airport will ever be the same. That means, no more Fenton’s, no more California Pizza Kitchen and no more Pyramid Ale Taproom. The only spots left intact from the old days are Vino Volo and Subway, both of which are still sprucing up.

With all the trendy new restaurants, combined with an ambitious five-year plan to build a new terminal and other improvements, Oakland’s tiny airport looks set to rival its flashier sibling across the bay.

The Oaklandish Coffee Collective at Oakland International Airport.

The Oaklandish Coffee Collective at Oakland International Airport.

Image courtesy of High Flying Food

“I wouldn’t say the goal is for customers to choose us over another airport because of the catering program,” Francis said. “But I think it’s an element. … We think we have a lot to offer in terms of location. But if we also offer a higher level of service and amenities, it just becomes part of the thought process that people will go through when deciding which airport to or from which they want to fly.