The colorful Sacred Wheel Cheese and Specialty Shop in Oakland's Temescal neighborhood.

The colorful Sacred Wheel Cheese and Specialty Shop in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood.

The story: Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop is a longtime cheese store across the street from a corner strip mall in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood, but along with the cheese and specialty food items people come for Chef-Owner Jena Davidson’s creatively-named sandwiches and world-famous mac n’ cheese.

Why I went: I didn’t know about this place until I saw it featured on a Travel Channel Show called “Chow Masters,” where an LA chef goes around with his Hollywood director pal finding the best of the best around the country. In this episode they were looking for the best mac n’ cheese and Davidson won for her special “Sleazy Mac,” which is a mac n’ cheese with Sloppy Joe meat on top and pressed into a grilled panini. I thought it was criminal that this little spot would catch the attention of a national TV show but I live 15 minutes away and haven’t even tried it. So I had to right this wrong, and I’ve been visiting for weekend lunches since.

The vibe: With the tats on the chefs (including Davidson) and the funky decor, there’s a bit of the cheese shop meets tattoo store vibe going, but the friendly people behind the counter and picnic-like tables inside and outside the store gives it a very neighborly feel.

"Sri-roppy Joe" sandwich ($8.50) made with Sriracha flavored Sloppy Joe on a bun.

“Sri-roppy Joe” sandwich ($8.50) made with Sriracha flavored Sloppy Joe on a bun.

The menu: There’s a creative list of sandwiches, which are the stars of the menu, but there are also regular sandwiches and salads. There’s also a section for mac n’ cheese, but because I don’t eat a lot of cheese, I skipped that section during my visits.

My favorite dish: There’s no doubt Davidson’s version of Sloppy Joe is great, in any form. I tried the “Sri-roppy Joe” sandwich ($8.50), so named because of the use of Sriracha sauce in the Sloppy Joe, served on a nicely toasted bun.

Insider tip: If you’re looking for cheese after your sandwich, don’t be afraid to ask. The guy behind the counter is always willing to give suggestions that match your cheese-eating occasion.

The last bite: In a time when fancy sandwich shops are opening and charging $10 to $12 per sandwich, it’s nice to see a local spot making great sandwiches with fun twists and still charging a reasonable $8 to $9 per sandwich. Sacred Wheel is a friendly neighborhood spot with gourmet American comfort food made with love.

The rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps

2.5snaps

 

 

The deets: Sacred Wheel Cheese and Specialty Shop, 4935 Shattuck Ave., Oakland. PH: 510.653.1353. Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. No reservations. Major credit cards accepted. www.sacredwheelcheeseshop.com.

The Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop on Urbanspoon

Some of the specialty items sold at the store include many local brands

Some of the specialty items sold at the store include many local brands

The "All Night Lonza," ($8.50), a sandwich with housemade pork Lonza honey ham with gruyere and spicy mustard and pickles.

The “All Night Lonza,” ($8.50), a sandwich with housemade pork Lonza honey ham with gruyere and spicy mustard and pickles.

Oh yeah, they sell cheese too!

Oh yeah, they sell cheese too!

Turkey Reuben ($8.50) made with turkey pastrami, gruyere and house-made kraut, thousand island spicy mustard on toasted rye bread. This was my least favorite sandwich because I felt it needed more moisture, but the house-made kraut really gave it a vibrant purple layer.

Turkey Reuben ($8.50) made with turkey pastrami, gruyere and house-made kraut, thousand island spicy mustard on toasted rye bread. This was my least favorite sandwich because I felt it needed more moisture, but the house-made kraut really gave it a vibrant purple layer.

Sacred Wheel is almost like a neighborhood secret, but it has food that should make it a destination in Temescal.

Sacred Wheel is almost like a neighborhood secret, but it has food that should make it a destination in Temescal. Glad I finally made it here.

4 Responses to A Review of Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop in Oakland

  1. Wow, those sandwiches look solid!

  2. Sandy says:

    Of course I am obsessing about the sleazy mac… looks like an excellent neighborhood shop (jealous!)

  3. Steve says:

    Ben, thanks for the great review and pictures, you inspired me to try Sacred Wheel! We finally got there last night and tried two of the mac n’ cheese dishes. They were really good. I definitely want to return and try some of the sandwiches.

    Thanks again.

    Steve

    • Ben Ben says:

      You’re welcome Steve! You definitely should try their sandwiches, but I can see how you couldn’t if you start with the mac n’ cheese! Thanks for visiting!