Eating Unique on Craig Street

Since our office moved closer to Oakland, Craig Street is the most convenient place to get a bite to eat or a cup of coffee. This is somewhat tragic, since Craig Street has always been covered with a miasma that makes food served in the area merely adequate. The best example of this is the Coffee Situation.

Coffee on Craig St. is an unmitigated disaster. There’s Kiva Han, which for all its hip aura sells coffee so unremittingly and gruellingly terrible that I’ve actually poured it out after one sip. There’s Starbucks, about which we know all there is to know. There’s the crêpe place, which sells decent coffee but charges you $5 or something, and the atmosphere is all wrong. There’s the new place in Mellon Bank which I haven’t tried but which looks like a chain. And there’s Eat Unique.

Eat Unique, formerly Craig St. Coffee, sells adequate coffee. It’s not overpriced. It doesn’t taste terrible. It’s not actually good, either: I’ve driven a half hour out of my way to have a macchiato at La Prima Espresso, but I wouldn’t detour five minutes for an Eat Unique coffee.

Eat Unique wants to be a lunch place. Here, they do a little better: every time I go there for lunch, I have a yummy sandwich or interesting soup. The problem, of course, is their throughput. Going there for lunch basically means I have to wait about 20 minutes longer than I think I should to pick up my meal. It’s usually worth the wait, but the wait still often discourages me from eating there at all.

Lately, however, they’ve been paying more attention to breakfast pastries. Now, they’re no replacement for Antonio – no one will ever be a replacement for Antonio – but they are bringing some interesting options to the table. Their cinnamon rolls are excellent, but what is particularly interesting is that they are now serving a line of savory scones that are actually unique: this morning I grabbed a fig and blue cheese scone. It’s excellent. The seeds in the figs give a nice crunch, and the blue cheese is really more of a suggestion than anything, and doesn’t overwhelm. This probably makes them the breakfast place of choice on Craig St., in my book, at least for now.

I’m still working up the courage to try the maple syrup and bacon scone, though.

Does this improve the coffee? Not really. But it does help to have something yummy to wash down.