Fatapple's Restaurant and Bakery has two locations, one at 1346 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley, California and one in El Cerrito, California. Since I've only been to the one in Berkeley, this review may only apply there.

First off, Fatapple's is small. There were only about 15-20 tables, and no booths. The walls are hung with photographs of Jack London at various stages in his life, and two of the walls are neatly decorated with a very detailed trompe l'oeil of a bookshelf. (Every book's title is totally legible and distinct. The whole thing is very well-done. If you're intrigued by such things, you may not spend much time making eye contact with your dining companion the first time you're there. That's okay--you'll be back.)

There's a funny entryway, go ahead and step through it or you'll block traffic. One point off for the awkward entrance, but you'll forget about it once you see the dessert case with its enticing meringue pie, brownies, velvet cake, chocolate pudding and other homestyle but gourmet-quality sweets.

The menu is pretty short: burgers, salads, sandwiches, malts and milkshakes, soup of the day and such. I had a cheeseburger with bacon and bleu cheese (hey, it was my only meal for 10 hours!). It was REALLY GOOD--the best such that I've had since leaving Hugo's far behind. The salad was excellent, with very green greens and a homemade ranch dressing. My friend had a reuben; as he's a big fan of that sandwich, it was high praise that he thought it was the best he's had in the Bay Area. It wasn't as overstuffed as Max's reubens, but the bread was freshly baked and didn't get soggy--a problem of almost every non-deli reuben. The home fries were also first rate, and the Georgia pecan pie was worthy of the name. The chocolate pie was a killer; it was extremely chocolatey. Their Olallieberry Pie is a signature dessert; we'll try it next time.

Brunch and breakfast are also served--I imagine they're very good. Good hours too--rare in the East Bay, where everyone seems to go to sleep at 9:00. Open 7 AM-11 PM Fri-Sat., 7 AM-10 PM all other days of the week.

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