San Pablo Avenue, Emeryville

Stephanie Wright Hession
Published 5:49 pm, Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Wally’s Cafe Photo: Stephanie Wright Hession, Special To The Chronicle
San Pablo Avenue, Emeryville
San Pablo Avenue, Emeryville: Once an industrial town where iron mills, paint plants and other manufacturing companies flourished, this community in Alameda County revamped itself into a modern city where residents live in a multitude of sleek condos and enjoy its parks and community gardens, where Pixar Animation Studios creates beloved, animated feature and short films such as “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.”

1. Wally’s Cafe

3900 San Pablo Ave.: The Lebanese-influenced Mediterranean dishes include crunchy falafels and juicy lamb, beef and shrimp kabobs with rice pilaf and a side salad. Wally’s Cafe is a tucked-away gem where the namesake chef-owner serves complimentary lentil soup and baklava with every meal. Cash only. (510) 597-1303.

2. Bank Club Cafe

3900 San Pablo Ave.: An R&B tune plays on the jukebox, stringed figures hover above the bar and patrons tell jokes while shooting pool at this neighborhood bar. Grab a pool cue and join in or refresh with a beer, martini or other concoction at the bar. (510) 652-4381.

3. Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria

4301 San Pablo Ave.: At Arizmendi, a worker cooperative named after priest José Maria Arizmendiarrieta, who helped establish worker cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain, find breads, baked goods and pizza made with organic flour, hormone-free dairy products and other natural ingredients. (510) 547-0550.

4. ‘Aquatic Circus’ sculpture

5885 Hollis St.: Delicate sprays of water rush over Greg Hawthorne‘s “Aquatic Circus,” a joyful interplay of hues, patterns and shapes culminating in a large-scale sculpture. Made with fused glass and acid etched, sand-blasted Corten steel, it’s one of several works artists created for Emeryville’s Art in Public Places program.

5. Emeryville Community Organic Garden

59th and Doyle streets: Although there’s a waiting list to use one of the 30 plots in this garden, you can stop by to admire the cherry tomatoes, artichokes and other produce grown in raised planters and metal tubs here. (510) 658-4915.

6. Doyle Hollis Park

Hollis, Doyle, 61st and 62nd streets: Built upon the former site of the Dutro Company building, this park includes a basketball court, amphitheater, playground and picnic areas. It also features “Reflection of Time,” a carved, granite work by Masayuki Nagase.


Free street parking on San Pablo Avenue.


Public Transit: Exit the MacArthur BART Station and walk west on 40th Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Take the AC Transit No. 57 bus and exit at 40th Street and San Pablo Avenue, then turn left on San Pablo Avenue.

By car from S.F.: Cross the Bay Bridge and continue on Interstate 80 east to Interstate 580 east. Exit at MacArthur Boulevard and turn left on San Pablo Boulevard in Emeryville.

Good to Know

Emeryville’s Art in Public Places program includes more than 40 publicly owned artworks and more than 70 art installations in private developments, which the public can view. Download a map featuring 40 such pieces and take a self-guided walking tour of the public art.

– Stephanie Wright Hession,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s