The Oakland Eat Real Festival in Jack London Square is back!
This year the dates will be as follows.
September 21st – 22nd 2019
Hours subject to change
This is a free event where no “plate” will cost over $10.
Sadly that is considered cheap in Oakland these days. That is double what it was when it started.
I say “plate” because it will essentially be a snack. Some of my favorite trucks would appear at this festival and not offer their true full menu, but instead “half items” at double cost so that you can “try” them and have room for more.
Is Eat Real Festival Organic?
They are now claiming that all food is locally sourced and sustainable whereas before it was just a wild mess of food trucks. So I do not know if this means they had to kick a lot of trucks out or they are just blowing hot air?
How are street food vendors using local, sustainable, or organic ingredients?
By agreeing to take part in Eat Real, vendors commit to using 1-2 organic, local, or sustainable ingredients in their food. Wherever possible, and whenever needed, Eat Real connects street vendors with farmers or distributors to help get the necessary ingredients.
I found this quote on their website so it seems sorta hot air like. I think they had to attach this whole idea to the festival so they themselves don’t seem like a money hungry promoter just putting an event together for profit. Because well, it is what it is. I doubt they are checking or enforcing this stuff. What good is 1 or 2 organic ingredients in a 13 ingredient food dish anyway?
It is just a wild mess of food trucks and I assure you many of them are self ran, struggling for money, cutting all possible budget corners and trying to make as much profit as possible while staying afloat in the expensive Bay Area. Meaning the cheapest ingredients for the dollar. It’s still good food though. Trust me, you are not eating organic or locally anything when you go to your favorite burrito truck or restaurant. You are eating deals and savings for profit.
But this is like the Christmas season as far as single day sales go for most of these trucks. They get to charge more and serve smaller portions to infinite lines of “foodies”. And I mean infinite. You better be ready to play the waiting game on this day.
Directions and Transportation
Driving: Not a good idea. Parking will be costly, limited and traffic will be high. But if you drive, just go to Jack London Square. You can’t miss it, the huge mess you shouldn’t have driven in to.
BART: BART is always a good option but it is a little ways from actual Jack London Square. It is highly walkable, I would say 15-20 minutes tops. I used to do it every day for work when I worked at the Port of Oakland. However, there is a free shuttle and AC Transit from BART to JLS. So if you’re lazy, do that.
Ferry: Yes! You can just take the ferry here because it stops right there at Jack London. The ferry is a great trip and a nice relaxing way to digest on your way home. I used to hop on the ferry after work to go drinking in SF. My coworker and I called it “the booze cruise” because they serve drinks or you can be sneaky like us and bring your own from Beverages & More in a few hundred yards away in JLS.
Train / Amtrak: I mean if you really want to arrive in style, take Amtrak lol. It’s also right there in JLS.
FAQs for Eat Real Fest
How much are tickets? Free. No tickets, just walk in. All plates will be $10 and under.
Can I use credit cards? Yes, most vendors accept credit or you can use ATM’s on-site at a hefty fee so I would bring cash.
Is the food organic? No, just no. See the quote above where they make a claim that trucks are encouraged to use 1 or 2 organic items. A single truck can have 15 menu items and one of 15 can contain minimal organic ingredients and be valid. This is a marketing ploy and self back patting technique. Of course, each food truck is unique and operates under their own rules, so ask them. But in no way is all food organic.
How long has this been going on? The festival is in its 11th year and started in 2009. They boast having over 600,000 attendees and making over $3 million in sales since the start. These numbers were given in 2015 or so. They have surely increased as much as the rent in Oakland has.
Speaking of rent, these people look like the landlord from Orinda that bought my building and forced me out for a higher paying tenant from another state. But hey, at least they are benefiting this school that Oakland does not need. Yes, the one with $1,130 classes on making beer. They look like they need all the money!
Really though, despite all of my honesty and truths, you’re going to be impressed with the food if you like food trucks. Eat Real provides nothing but a permit and organization for profit. These trucks are all available any time in various places in the Bay Area. My all-time favorite would be Senor Sisig. I was even on Diners Dives Dine or whatever the show is when they were on(Yes, Guy Fieri is a dick in real life and he tows around his car like it makes him cool). The owner got to hand select 8 or so extras for the recording and I was one because I was a super regular when I worked in Frisco.
Be sure to make it out to try the Bay Area’s best street food from all over as well as local handcrafted beer, music, games and more! This year over 50 street food vendors and artisans are expected to participate. If you are a vendor looking to sign up, or that already has, please let us know how much they are charging you. They do not disclose this on thier signup form.
If you miss the Jack London Eat Real Fest in Oakland but love food trucks, then you can make your way to a weekly Off The Grid Oakland on any Friday at all for more excellent local food trucks. I prefer this because you get regular prices, full menu items, fewer people. No FoMo. It’ll be there next week.