Review by: Michael Stern

Fenton’s is a creamery devoted to ice cream, but in many ways it is a classic California coffee shop. Its menu of sandwiches, salads, chili, and hamburgers is dished out in a big, quick-service dining room where people come for hot meals as well as for coffee an’ snacks. Over the course of several days in Oakland, I relished a crab salad sandwich on grilled sourdough bread, a guacamole burger, and a copious Cobb salad, as well as an order of chili cheese fries.

The best things at Fenton’s are sundaes. Several years back, two friends and I attempted a three-way share of a top-of-the-line banana special, which is — are you ready? — three pounds of ice cream topped with pineapple, strawberry, and fudge, plus a banana, whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry. The menu divides the sundae selection into “Sundaes for the Adventurous” (the really big ones), “Sundaes for the Sophisticate” (classic black-and-whites, black-and-tans), “Sundaes for the Sedate” (only a scoop or two), and “Create Your Own.”

From a repertoire of a couple dozen house-made ice cream flavors the stand-out is Swiss milk chocolate, a creamy concoction dotted with millions of little bits of candy; and of the toppings, the killer is”Jersey,” a frothy swirl of malted milk chocolate.

In addition to table seats, Fenton’s offers a handful of counter stools in back where you have a great view of the open kitchen where short-order chefs whip up meals at lightning speed.

What To Eat



Fenton’s Recipes


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