Shop, Play, and Eat on Woodminster Lane
You can pick up provisions, lose yourself in a hardware store, or get your nails done, and then eat and drink in the tiny Oakland hills enclave.
Photo by Lance Yamamoto
Woodminster, the tiny enclave on the edge of Joaquin Miller Park and just above the shining Mormon Temple, is easy to miss. But the next time you're headed for the Oakland hills, pull in, park, and explore. You might be surprised to learn what nature lovers and park users who are drawn to the hill from all over have known for sometime. You can shop, play, snack — and even dine — here.
If an afternoon tour of the temple leaves your parched, or if you’re suddenly in the mood for an impromptu picnic or supper in the hills, Woodminster Market has shelves lined with snacks (and provisions), including artisan bread from Acme, California cheeses, fruits, veggies, takeout items, and even protein bars for post-run recovery. This independent, locally owned neighborhood store has been serving the community for decades, and its owners pride themselves on friendly service. Pick up Nomadic Coffee or Boochcraft kombucha and enjoy weekly beer and wine specials on varieties like West Coast IPA and Earthquake Zinfandel. 5000 Woodminster Lane, Oakland, 510-336-0558, Facebook.com/WoodminsterMarket.
Montclair Village Hardware has been covering hardware needs since 1948. Anyone who pops in to this current — and larger — iteration will find the hardware supply store staffed with home-improvement educated staffers who can walk you through your newest gardening or electrical wiring adventure. Now there’s no reason to put off a post-hike DIY project — this hardware store will have that paint you keep forgetting for the spare bedroom or wood for the garden planter you’ve been meaning to build. 5048 Woodminster Lane, Oakland, 510-853-6125, MontclairVillageHardware.com.
Interested in a little pampering after hammering those hills in Joaquin Miller on your mountain bike? You can get a mani-pedi ($40) in a cozy massage chair and/or a foot massage at Woodminster Nails. Owner Kim Nguyen keeps it clean and affordable, offering gel sets, acrylics, nail art, foot massages, and waxing. 5036 Woodminster Lane, Oakland, 510-479-3694, WoodminsterNails.com.
This area may be known best for its perky summer musicals and stellar outdoor concert series under the redwoods. Woodminster Summer Musicals stages three productions every year in the expansive outdoor amphitheater, an Oakland tradition for 53 seasons. Woodminster has lined up Newsies, Billy Elliot, and Into the Woods for July, August, and September this year. Additionally, the city of Oakland typically brings Sundays in the Redwoods, a four-concert series, to Joaquin Miller Park in September and October. Joaquin Miller Park, 3540 Sanborn Drive, Oakland, 510-531-9597, Woodminster.com, SundayInTheRedwoods.com.
The Oakland California Temple grounds are open for meandering and offer stunning panoramic views of the city below. Visitors soon can make reservations to tour the inside of the newly renovated temple. A public open house is scheduled May 11 through Saturday, June 1 (except May 12, 19, and 26). The temple was officially opened on Nov. 17, 1964, and serves Latter-Day Saints in the Bay Area. It’s one of seven temples in the state, and one of the most iconic. 4770 Lincoln Ave., Oakland, LDS.org/temples/details/oakland-california-temple.
Joaquin Miller Park is a paradise for joggers, runners, hikers, dog-walkers, and bicyclists on the trails that run deep into the woods through towering redwoods, green ferns, and beautiful streams. Remember, a steep descent downhill means a strenuous ascent uphill out of the park, so adjust accordingly. Customizable loops can take you out for an hour or many hours, depending on your fitness level. 3300 Joaquin Miller Road, 510-615-5566, OaklandCa.gov/departments/department-of-parks-recreation-and-youth-development.
If you’re looking for a dine-in experience with Californian cuisine and pub grub, along with bartenders who can give you the local scoop while serving up suds, vino, and cocktails, try Monaghan’s on the Hill. The executive chef creates a custom menu, but offers many standards, including Cobb salad ($10), creamy mac and cheese with a three-cheese blend ($9), and a Hwy 13 Burger, served on a brioche bun ($10). The restaurant hosts fun events, too, and customers can opt for seats in front of a romantic fireplace, on an outdoor garden patio, or at the bar. Live music includes Latin jazz, blues, and rock, depending on the night. 2820 Mountain Blvd., Oakland, 510-482-2500, MonaghansOakland.com.
Cute bistro-café L’acajou Bakery is owned by Matthew Roder, who was inspired by his travels to Lyon in the south of France. He created the homey space thinking it might draw people in just to hang out. The menu features the likes of strawberry pancakes, avocado and egg toast, or a wine pairing with the L’acajou Burger, a ⅓-pound of ground beef on a housemade rustic roll. 5020 Woodminster Lane, Oakland, 510-842-9308, Lacajou.com.
A newcomer to the area is Pattys & Buns Burgers, a friendly takeaway gourmet burger joint where the meat is Angus beef that’s ground daily (never frozen) and options for customizing abound. There’s a veggie patty, the Market Burger, which is made of black beans and portobello mushrooms with charred pepper-rosemary aoili ($9.99). Add a strawberry milkshake ($4.70) or a side of sweet potato fries ($3.49), and you’ll be a happy camper. 2852 Mountain Blvd., Oakland, PattysAndBunsBurgers.com.