Bakesale Betty is located on the corner of Telegraph Ave and 51st street, in the heart of Temescal. The owner, Alison Barakat, is an Australian cook who worked at Chez Panisse for several years before she donned the blue wig that has become her trademark and opened her own restaurant in 2002. Since then her excellent food, endearing habit of giving baked goods away for free to unsuspecting patrons, and warm, kitschy ways have earned her a bit of a cult following (the fact that she always wears a blue wig probably helps, too.)
The shop is attractive in an old-fashioned yet spartan way. The small sunny area where you place your order looks onto an open kitchen filled with bakers racks and some seriously busy staff. Old-fashioned wooden rolling pins decorate the walls above the glass display cases and marble counters.
Outisde, a row of brightly painted ironing boards (in chartreuse, blue, orange, red, and black) and stools provide sidewalk seating (there is only one small table inside.) The food is served in simple paper wrappings on heavy duty baking trays.
When we arrived at 1:00 PM, they'd already run out of egg salad but were still doing a brisk business in their famous fried chicken sandwiches. Just ten minutes later, the line was snaking all the way around the corner (good thing we got there when we did)!
I had been hearing about their fried chicken sandwich for nearly a year and was pleased to learn that it does not disappoint. The sandwich is enormous - I could only eat half of it though I happily devoured the other half at home a few hours later. They use a slightly spicy batter (we detected both black and cayenne pepper) and the chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It's served on french bread with a vinegary green cabbage, bell pepper, and parsley slaw and sweet pickled red onions. We both thought the sandwich would have been even more delicious with a few more onions to add a tiny bit more sweetness.
They were also selling a very tasty lemon ice which was a good complement to the sandwich's light spice and deep fry. The frosty drink was the perfect mix of sweet and sour.
You can find Bakesale Betty at:
5098 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609
Oakland, CA 94609
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM