Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, Oakland, Gets Hammered On Yelp

Well, now that Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe is open in Downtown Oakland, in the Fox Theater at the Uptown District, it's time to ask "How's it doing?" When this blogger visited the eatery it was the first day of official public service - not crowded and the food and service were good.

But the next week, Rudy's had an "official grand opening," complete with Mayor Jean Quan and other people who may not visit Rudy's regularly, but had to be there - and that included the media.

So now, with all the hoopla out of the way, Rudy's is a known place. What's the verdict on it?

One visit to, the online hub for reviews on food places, can help answer that question. The answer is that visitors and Oaklanders are excited that Rudy's is open, and they gave me a great little tour of the place in this video, too:

But where Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe gets rave reviews for its space, it gets panned for its service on Yelp. Here's a few samples from Yelpers:

New as they are, it's pretty expected that they're working out a few kinks. Seeing as how they're offering this sometimes sketchy neighborhood (I say this as I used to live 2 blocks away) a respite for liquor soak-me-ups until 1am, Rudy's is a blessing and I look forward to making it my post-bar asylum. Also, if you're looking for grub at 7am, you can find a home here as well.

On the first Saturday it was open, I went with a friend and their computer system crashed and they had to close for about an hour while they rebooted it. They can't work without a computer? But in any case, I used to work for a restaurant and I understand that they're still trying to get everything worked out so we left and got chicken and waffles instead.

The food was pretty average, and a decent price. Apparently our food was held up by a large fish and chips back up in the kitchen, which turned out to be more like fish sticks-although tasty ones.

This places does serve alcohol and I adore that they had the balls to move into downtown and are until 1am (thank you!!) so I can walk over before or after the bar and get a bite. What a novel thought. All in all, I will be coming back because this is what the neighborhood needed, meaning there is a demand and I see it consistently busy with 20 and 30 somethings (and families, a great place for kids, if that's your style).

Love the space. We had very attentive service. I didn't chose well off of the menu but that was totally my bad. Love that they had several good beers on tap and a FULL bar. I need to come back during the full breakfast or brunch menu.

And here's part of one review from a really steam-blowing, pissed-off Yelper named Eddy S:

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe... can fail. BIG TIME!

I was told I was being too harsh but Im sorry, a Taco Bell has their shit together better then this place. If I had an option of zero stars, I would choose it. This isn't just some rant from an unsatisfied customer but a mere observation from a person who expected nothing more and nothing less from any other restaurant. Below is a list of reasons why I gave it a low rating.

1) Just after saying that it was his first day, the water boy spilled a full cup over my friends shoulder.

2) It took two waiters to take our order (Ok. maybe someone was in training... but the other should have been on point). They still came back and said they didn't know if we wanted our burgers medium or medium rare.

3) I ordered their BBQ Pulled Pork Burrito (yes, I know. Don't expect too much or anything really from a cafe serving a burrito but anything would have been better then what they gave me) I received pulled pork wrapped in tortilla with beans and rice on the side. No, seriously. Just pulled pork in a tortilla and beans and rice on the side. If I wanted to make my own simple burrito I would, at home.

If that's what you're gonna serve then fine, but don't have the audacity to charge $10 for it. Seriously?

4) My friend ordered a BLT with A and the only thing they forgot was the A... seriously?

5) Last but certainly not least, our bill came out to $95 and some change. We collected $50.00 in cash from our crew and asked to split the remaining on two credit cards.

One friend received a credit for $75.00 and the other a credit for $20.00. EXCUSE ME! Did you really think we were giving you a $50 tip on a $95 bill.... are you seriously effing with me?

It's sad to say that this is my very first YELP and it had to be in Oakland. I love Oakland and the Fox Theatre but if this is my choice for late night meals then I will easily stick to my last resort... chips and another beer.


In short, Rudy's is experiencing "opening restaurant growing pains," but those are generally borne of trying to service a lot of people, which means it's busy, and probably crazy busy after 12 midnight. That's good news, for Rudy's and good news for Oakland's economy.

Robert Reich Tells The Truth About the Economy

Leave it to one of my favorite economic professors, Robert Reich, The Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, to explain our economy in just two minutes, in this video sponsored by (My all time favorite economist is the late John Kenneth Galbraith.)

The basic point that Professor Reich is making is that there are not enough good jobs for the middle class because we allowed much of the manufacturing industry to leave America. Meanwhile, what he calls "The Super Rich" only pay 17 percent of their total income in taxes, causing massive budget deficits.

I think Professor Reich could have gone many steps beyond this, and made a six minute video. That video would have shown how costs for everything from cars to homes have increased beyond middle class incomes adjusted for inflation, and how that caused the giant wave of foreclosures.

But all this explaining of what happened is fine; we need to come up with a solution, and do it ASAP.

Stay tuned.