Oakland >Food & Dining > The Gingerbread House
741 5th St, Oakland, CA | Directions 9460737.800855 -122.281999
Neighborhoods: Acorn Industrial, West Oakland
Great Memories – I ate at the Gingerbread house for my birthday about 20 years ago. Ever since I have been trying to replicate the amazing warm gingerbread/chocolate chip cookie they serve ala mode as dessert. It was the stuff memories are made of. I've spent the last ten years living in Seattle and have reminisced fondly about this place to anyone I knew would be visiting the bay area.
The jambalaya was also lip-smacking good and equally delicious as leftovers the next day-- cold, right out of the fridge even!
Now that I am back home in the bay area I am just looking for an excuse to make the trip over the bay to see if it is all that I have built it up to be in my mind.
As for the negative reviews I have read on here... pull the sticks out or stick to your favorite overpriced "clean" spots and leave the magic of the Gingerbread House to those of us that can appreciate it.
Best New Orleans-style restaurant in town. Don't miss it! – My girlfriend (who ought to know something about Creole/Cajun food, since her mother was a cook in New Orleans' French Quarter) and I have been coming to the Gingerbread House for several years now, and it remains our favorite East Bay restaurant. Its years in business and the many civic awards it has won make it unnecessary to defend either its ambiance or its menu; but to suggest that the proprietor behaves as though she were on coke has no place in a restaurant review, and whichever ignorant person wrote it ought to be ashamed. Both of us can testify to the decency, generosity and unique flair and style of the beautiful and hardworking lady who has devoted herself to the Gingerbread House for something like thirty-five years. Avoid the food, if it doesn't suit you, and tell your friends not to go there - that's certainly your right and your privilege. Libelling the proprietor's character is not. She and her family restaurant - and we have come to feel like family when we're there - are ornaments to the Oakland community, and deserve to be recognized and treated as such. That woman who carries herself like a queen while she serves your dinner is a lady, in case you never saw one before.
Slow But Fun Birthday – I came here for my birthday a few nights and I had a blast. I can understand why other people call their service slow, but if you're not in a huge rush, the wait is fine. The service is friendly and attentive. Yes, the food took a while to appear, but we never minded because waitress made sure we always had enough cornbread and starry-eyed tea (which is to die for). One of my friends and I had the jambalaya while my other friend had the gumbo, and all of us cleaned our plates! Then at the end the waitress brought out a fresh gingerbread cookie and ice cream for me and sang happy birthday. Overall I was happy with my experience and I'll be bringing my relatives there to eat when they come to visit.
Kitchy trinkets, inexperienced servers, dusty, sparse menu, poor service – My mom and I drove by this restaurant and decided to stop in for a look. After waiting 15 minutes to be seated, the "friendly" southern-twanged hostess, waitress, chef, all-in-one seated us and made us wait another 30 mins to receive our appetizers. The menu was severely lacking, the food was waaaay to pricey for the size of the plate, and the staff is aloof (this is being kind).
Don't let the fun/odd decor fool you. Avoid this place like the plague.
The People of Louisiana would be offended – The worse experience I have ever had at a bay area restaurant. It looks dirty and odd inside. I don't mind dirty in a really good soul food or rib joint in the hood, but not at a place that you'll end up spending 70 bucks easy for two people. The people on here who said this food is "great" or even "good" , I'll go a step further. Even if you thought it was "OK or Average" you were born with no taste buds or work there. The lemonade was that minute maid type stuff from a can, that tastes how you would imagine Lemon scented toilet cleaner to taste. The corn bread had some weird tasting herbs in them and were soaked in margarine or butter or something old and oily tasting. I get light headed and nauseous thinking about it .
The main course I had the gumbo. Ok my grandmother was born and raised in New Orleans and knows how to make some gumbo. This "stuff" I ate was not gumbo. It tasted like dish water with hot dogs and a crab leg in it. Seriously. I took one taste of that 20 dollar bowl of gumbo and sat there angry. Then my wife gets the red snapper or some sort of fish in a cream sauce with those cheap fake baby shrimp on top that you get on a Denny's salad. WTF. That cream sauce was the worse. It was basically milk mixed with flour and salt. My wife did not eat it. The weird waitress came over and asked what was wrong we said the food was bad and she looked high on coke not even caring. Then said sorry do you want a bag. ? She's crazy foreal. She then handed me the bill I was shocked at how much we spent. $70 bucks with tax and tip. At that point I just wanted to hurry and get the hell up out of there twilight zone environment. I paid and me and my wife didn't even speak on the drive back. AVOID AVOID AVOID!!! FOOD IS TERRIBEL, OVER PRICED, AND IT'S NASTY INSIDE.
An experience – This place has good food and magic. Notice the divergent reviews people have written. If you are not a stuffy, uptight pr*ck you will enjoy this place. I loved it although could not see myself going regularly. The ribs & cornbread were my favorite. If you plan on going just don't be in a rush to walk in and out. Take your time and enjoy yourself.
Strange Atmosphere, pricey, but worth the experience – This place has a trippy haunted feel to it. The classic cajun dishes (especially the jambalaya) are adequate but a visit to this place is all about the experience. I have eaten here about 4 times over the past 15 years and it id definately worth a trip, but probably not worth a regular visit.
savory southern dishes served with southern hospitality – The Lousiana fine Gumbo is as authentic as you will ever find. A cousin from Baton Rouge was impressed and said that the cornbread was even better than back home!
A must try at least once.
User review by sjd06 – After driving by this little gingerbread house, tucked away amongst the freeway and Bart tracks, I just had to know more.
I discovered a short time later that it has been in business over 30-years. After dining at the restauraunt, it was easy to see why they have been so successful. The food is great, the service is unbeatable and the ambiance is a much needed break from the typical overly trendy, overly priced scene of the Bay area. The waitress is eager to share her menu favorites as well as make your dining experience personal and enjoyable.
quaint reminder of New Orleans – My husband and I dined at TJ's Gingerbread House in Oakland last night. This restaurant has been in operation since 1972, and the decor is a blend of 70's Victorian retro and 80's faux finishes.
We loved our food, although for some folks it would be diet-busting to see your corn bread arrive in a pool of melted butter...now I get the point of corn bread.
The cuisine is "Louisiana Fancy-Fine." For about $25/person we were regaled with chicory coffee, fresh lemonade, fresh fruit appetizer, main course Jambalaya and Cajun catfish), and freshly-baked gingerbread/chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream. Our lovely waitress, Noel, was simultaneously
solicitous for our comfort, sassy, dramatic, and sweet.
The small gazebo seating area held several large parties and a few romantic couples...a diverse clientele of all ages, races, walks of life. Everyone seemed to be having a blast on a wintry Thursday evening.
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