Restaurant review: Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe

Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe
4081 Hollis Street
Emeryville, CA 94608-3505
(510) 594-1221
Open Daily 7AM-1AM

rudys french toast deuces wild

Rudy's Challah French Toast "Deuce's Wild"

Me and the crew have a regular standing date for brunch the first Sunday of the month.We missed the first this month, but I can’t stand to see a good thing go to waste, so we met on the second Sunday instead. Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe is on our regular brunch rotation, mainly because of its location–close to a place where both Zorro Smitty and Miss DeLoop work–but the food is pretty good too. The coffee, strongly brewed Peet’s, is even better.

I was late. I’m often late. Sparrow told me yesterday to wear eyeliner to breakfast, so I actually got dressed. I wore a dress like a real live girl, and powdered my nose and everything. Consequently, I was twenty minutes late. Why is this important? Well, at Rudy’s, you need to sign in to get seated. We usually have someone sign in for us about a half hour before we want to be seated. Because I’m always late, I never experience the real Rudy’s brunch, which includes waiting on the curb outside. I get to breeze past everyone like I’m somebody or something, when really, I’m just twenty minutes late for breakfast. So be prepared: you’ll have to wait. I don’t know how long, because, as I’ve just noted, I don’t wait. People wait for my dumb ass.

My friends hadn’t ordered without me, despite my request for them to do so, but not for want of trying. The waitress had been ignoring the whole section. Why, we don’t know. Could have been because I hadn’t shown. I don’t think I’m that important, though. Miss DeLoop had to work this morning, so Zorro Smitty actually fetched the waitress. Points off, Rudy, when the waitress has to be found and summoned.

rudys greek omelet rye toast

Greek omelet with rye toast

She took our order very familiarly. I know people who get really bothered by this, who hate being called, “Hon,” and “Sweetie,” by the waitstaff. I could give a rat’s ass. I just want my food hot and not spat in. You can be surly, you can be nice. Just get my order right, fairly quickly, and don’t fuck with my food. Do your job as a waiter and I’ll do my job as a customer and I won’t be an asshole.

rudys greek omelet wheat toast

Greek omelet with wheat toast

Miss DeLoop and Sparrow got almost exactly the same thing: Greek omelet with a side of black beans instead of potatoes, something I would have never considered doing. Healthy choices, I don’t make ’em. Miss DeLoop got the wheat toast, Sparrow got the rye. The omelets were fluffy and well cooked. The toast wasn’t particularly crunchy, as happens often in diners. Neither of them finished the toast. The beans have stewed tomatoes in them and looked really tasty. Both of them finished the beans.

rudys challah french toast

Challah French toast

Kea and I got the challah french toast. I got it alone, and he got the “Deuce’s Wild” platter (pictured up top), which includes two eggs, any style, and choice of meat. He chose scrambled and bacon. The french toast is excellent. It’s really rich, so I can’t eat much of it; they give you three slices, and after a slice and a half I’m done. The bacon here is hit or miss. Kea’s was excellent–crisp, smoky, and tender. Zorro Smitty had bacon envy–his was chewy and flaccid.

rudys two eggs bacon biscuit

Rudy's Breakfast, two eggs, hash browns, bacon and a biscuit

Zorro Smitty got the Rudy’s Breakfast, two eggs any style, hash browns, bacon and substituted a biscuit for toast. He went for over-medium (which I think is disgusting, so you’ll have to excuse me here). His bacon, like I said, was inferior to Kea’s. The biscuit looked very nice, but I forgot to ask about it. The hash browns also looked to be not as crispy as they should have been, and he did not finish them. He did eat his eggs and bacon, though, so I’m guessing those cut the mustard.

The coffee is the best, though, and the young lady pouring coffee kept it coming. That seemed to be her only task. I never saw her busing dishes in our part of the restaurant, she never took orders–all she did was make sure everyone was as amped up as possible. They make it strong enough to grow hair on your chest, for serious. I don’t normally put cream in my coffee, and I can’t drink it black at Rudy’s. Not that I’m complaining. Shit’s good that way. It tastes almost like a hammerhead, also known as a depth charge. That’s when they drop a shot of espresso in your coffee. It’s good. But it makes me a little wired. And it makes me want more. That’s just how I am.

Brunch for five of us, including coffee, a large orange juice for me (fresh squeezed and delicious), a small lemonade for Smitty, tax and tip, was $72. That’s a little more than $14 a person (we always just split the check evenly, because we’re like that. Actually, we usually have a slight disagreement about who is going to pay more, and everyone scrambles to be that person. I have great friends). Not bad at all. That’s part of the reason we go back, too. It’s slightly better than diner food with incredible coffee and slightly higher than diner prices. The service was a little off in the beginning, but after we ordered, we got exactly what we needed.

On the five star, five dollar sign scale, I give Rudy’s:



And if you don’t know, now you know:


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