Kronnerburger's patty melts are as delicious as their mainstay entree.  Jenny Oh
Kronnerburger's patty melts are as delicious as their mainstay entree.  (Jenny Oh)

5 Bites: Mouthwatering Melts in the East Bay

5 Bites: Mouthwatering Melts in the East Bay

Ah, the melt -- the heftier, meatier sibling to the hallowed grilled cheese sandwich. A plain scoop of tuna salad is easily elevated to next level status with the simple addition of melted cheddar, while the patty melt transforms a typical cheeseburger by using sautéed onions and griddled rye bread. (Accounts differ on the patty melt's exact birthday --  which ranges from the '30s, '40s or '50s -- but most suggest it was created at a former Southern Californian coffee shop down in L.A.) I've sampled many melts throughout the East Bay that transcend the sandwich's humble origins -- such as Oakland's Kronnerburger that serves their patty melt with onion confit, mixed melted cheese and hot mustard (shown above). Here's five other options that will warm your soul and belly this winter (and I've excluded other unique variations on meat-and-melted cheese sandwiches such as the Reuben, hot pastrami, Croque Monsieur, Cubano and the like.) Please let us know your favorite spots in the comments.

Ham and Cheese, Please

A perfect pairing for lunch: ham and cheese melt with a fresh side salad.
A perfect pairing for lunch: ham and cheese melt with a fresh side salad. (Jenny Oh)

Located on the main drag that runs through downtown Danville, the newer, year-old location of the Sideboard now resides in a quaint gray building with a front porch and spacious back patio. As their menu features locally-sourced, seasonal comfort food, now's the time to order their open-face ham and cheese melt. Aged white cheddar oozes over slices of flavorful ham and a large housemade English muffin that's split in two. A side salad garnished with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes makes this a perfect lunchtime meal (which is the only time it's served.) If you're in the mood for dessert, there's also plenty of tasty housemade pastries to choose from to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Sideboard
90 Railroad Avenue [Map]
Danville, CA 94526
Ph: (925) 984-2713
Hours: Sun-Mon 8am-8pm; Tue-Sat 8am-9pm
Facebook: Sideboard Danville
Instagram: @sideboard_danville
Price range: $ (Sandwiches $10 and under)

A Classic Patty Melt with a Californian Touch

Sequoia Diner's stellar patty melt is above and beyond what you'd find at a regular diner.
Sequoia Diner's stellar patty melt is above and beyond what you'd find at a regular diner. (Jenny Oh)

A charming throwback to the lunch counters of yesteryear, Sequoia Diner opened its doors this past May in Oakland's Laurel District. While they focus on producing good old-fashioned American breakfasts with a Californian sensibility, the star of their short lunch menu is their exceptional patty melt, which rises far above what you'd find at your average greasy spoon. Beginning with two buttery, thick-cut slices of housemade rye bread, a juicy hamburger patty (made with humanely raised meat) rests on top of a solid layer of grilled onions, melted Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. Not that you'll need the additional sides of a baby arugula salad, dill pickles and home fries, but those accompany your sizable sandwich as well. Save room for dessert if you can as their cookies and pastries are also all baked on the premises.

Sequoia Diner
3719 MacArthur Blvd. [Map]
Oakland, CA 94619
Ph: (510) 482-3719
Hours: Open Wed-Sun 8am-2pm, Thu 5-8pm
Facebook: Sequoia Diner
Twitter: @SequoiaDiner
Price range: $$ (Sandwiches $11-$17)

You Won't Miss Tuna With This Seafood Melt

The Cook and Her Farmer's outstanding "Big Sur" melt.
The Cook and Her Farmer's outstanding "Big Sur" melt. (Jenny Oh)

We've complimented the The Cook and Her Farmer's picturesque, slow-cooked grilled cheese in a previous post. But their "Big Sur Melt" takes it one step further by adding tender bites of Florida Gulf shrimp, slivers of green onion and housemade seasonal mostarda to the mix of melted aged Gruyère, dry Jack and pecorino cheeses. It's arguably tastier than its sibling sandwich and puts most other seafood-based melts to shame. (Although two other restaurants I mentioned in that same write-up, The Sacred Wheel and Stag's Lunchette , certainly have noteworthy tuna melt contenders.) If you're able to polish off this entire sandwich, you may find yourself curling up for a nap underneath your table afterwards.

Sponsored

The Cook and Her Farmer
907 Washington Street [Map]
Oakland, CA 94607
Ph: (510) 285-6140
Hours: Mon 9am-4pm; Tue-Thu 9am-9pm; Fri-Sat 9am-10pm
Facebook: The Cook and Her Farmer
Price range: $$ Sandwiches ($11-$17)

For When You Want All the Melts

Harissa, a North African chili paste, adds a hint of earthy flavor to Saul's turkey melts.
Harissa, a North African chili paste, adds a hint of earthy flavor to Saul's turkey melts. (Jenny Oh)

Feeling indecisive? Fortunately there's three tantalizingly good melts to choose from at Saul's, the venerable Berkeley restaurant and deli that's been serving up their distinctive take on Jewish food for over 25 years. Given their emphasis on seasonal, local and sustainable ingredients, their turkey melt's stuffed with BN Ranch turkey with mushrooms, Swiss cheese and a mildly spicy roasted pepper harissa sauce on grilled Acme sourdough bread (or choose your own.) They also offer the two standard classics: a tuna melt (with Oregon line caught albacore tuna salad with cheddar or Swiss on rye) and a patty melt. Along with their complimentary pickle plate, you'll also get coleslaw, potato salad or mixed green salad as a side; or sub in latkes, knishes, fries or fruit. You can also order just half a sandwich with or without a cup of soup for a lighter meal.

Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen
1475 Shattuck Avenue [Map]
Berkeley, CA 94709
Ph: (510) 848-DELI (3354)
Hours: Breakfast & lunch served from 8am-2pm Mon-Fri; 8am-3pm Sat-Sun; Burgers and melts served all day after 11am; Dinner served from 4-10pm
Facebook: Saul's Deli
Twitter: @saulsdeli
Price range: $$ (Sandwiches $11-$17)

A Double Cheese Extravaganza

The Peasant Courtyard's Parmesan-encrusted patty melt is a real show stopper.
The Peasant Courtyard's Parmesan-encrusted patty melt is a real show stopper. (Jenny Oh)

True to its name, The Peasant’s Courtyard has a welcoming outdoor space as well as a cozy, cottage-like atmosphere indoors. One of their signature sandwiches is their show-stopping patty melt. Once you're done admiring its crunchy halo of Parmesan cheese on sourdough bread, you'll appreciate its rich fillings: melted Swiss cheese, sautéed onions and a half-pound of certified Angus beef that's slathered with Russian dressing. A side salad or French fries are included, or substitute in a cup of soup, onion rings or fruit for a few more dollars. They also serve an excellent tuna melt prepared with Albacore tuna, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce and sliced red onion on sourdough for a simpler alternative.

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The Peasant’s Courtyard
3195 Danville Blvd. [Map]
Alamo, CA 94507
Ph: (925) 362-0088
Hours: Everyday from 7:30am-9pm
Facebook: The Peasant's Courtyard
Price range: $$ (Sandwiches $11-$17)

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