To subvert grumpy monarchs, angry medieval youths scrawled condiment graffiti such as "Fran Tanner has plague" and "the king is a jerk" inside their sandwiches. Dig beneath lettuce to bring history to light with today's Groupon: for $5, you get $10 worth of soups, salads, and sandwiches at Shay's Cafe in Alameda. The café is open from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekends.
Shay's Cafe unites the coasts by combining the no-frills delectable delights of eastern-seaboard sub sandwiches with the fresh, healthy style of California cuisine. Sidle up to the café's sun-dappled storefront and request a plate of classic lunchtime fare, made fresh daily with care and nutritious simplicity spread thick as a rain of Midwestern fudge. Order up an East Coast sub in classic Atlantic hues such as meatball or Italian sausage ($7), or aim for fancier Thanksgiving and seafood varietals ($7.25). Rival sandwiches of West Coast origin include the grilled salmon with pesto, cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes ($8.50) and Shay's vegetarian on wheat with grilled eggplant, peppers, and pesto-drizzled zucchini against a sundried-tomato spread ($7.25), among others. Sandwiches love being complemented with their edible soul mate, so pair a bread-bound pal with house-made soup ($4.25 a cup, $6.75 a bowl), selections of which change daily and include the likes of mushroom, potato leek, spicy chicken, and tomato and basil. Call ahead to see which flavor is flowing from the soup keg each day.
Soups, sandwiches, and salads are all traditional staples of the American lunch, which are decidedly tastier than the short-lived, Depression-era tradition of actually eating staples as a midday meal. Shay's sunny interior features wide windows, blue and yellow walls, polished wood floors, and numerous tables. The environment is ideal for kicking back with a simple, hearty lunch while savoring a newspaper or sci-fi thriller about sentient soda machines revolting as the world blows by outside.
- Shay's large menu is cutting edge, with several items that are exclusive and unique. There is an East Coast-style seafood salad sub, as well as a grilled salmon sandwich with pesto, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes on a ciabatta roll. – Gil Michaels, Alameda Sun
- They always have a very friendly staff and the food is always good. I like the tri tip wraps and just tried salmon sandwich that was great! Also they have a great play area for kids! – Steve E., Yelp
- The menu has been evolving over time and they seem to be doing a good job of introducing new items. Everything seems to be prepared from scratch where possible instead of using processed junk....salad dressings, soups, turkey breast, etc – John K., Yelp
Shawn Shay grew up on the East Coast, feasting upon that region’s sandwiches, which rely heavily on meatballs, steak, and other meats. His future wife, Wendy, was enjoying California-style sandwiches, sprinkled with emerald fistfuls of veggies. In Shay’s Café, the two now combine their culinary passions beneath the eatery’s blue and gold walls, which glow in the natural light from floor-to-ceiling front windows. The light pierces the steam that rises from soups wrought from adventurous ingredients such as kaffir lime leaves, leeks, and fresh asparagus. The menu divides signature sandwiches by coast, with Eastern favorites including philly cheese and Western options laden with pesto, brie, and grilled salmon. Glasses of beer and wine form toasts, plinking occasionally like a xylophone player with only one mallet.
2711 Encinal Ave.
Alameda, California 94501Get Directions