One of the things I really like about the Bay Area is the number of locally owned businesses. So many places have become over run by huge corporately owned chains or franchised places that effectively homogenize America - which is gross.
On Castro Valley Boulevard locally owned business after business lines the street. Yes, you do have a few flagships like large grocery chains and of course the requisite number of fast food joints. Still there are a lot of wonderful stores, service providers, and restaurants that are worth checking out. I'm thinking in particular of my new favorite breakfast/lunch location - the Dell Cafe.
On the outside Dell is nondescript, another tan building with a small parking lot that it shares with several neighboring businesses. Inside however, Dell brings you back to another time. A family owned business, Dell is where everyone working there is family and so are the loyal customers. The menu is limited - simple - but good. When you get an omelet with avocado, you get a plateful of omelet and hash-browns with a HUGE helping of avocado - for $6. It's comforting to sit in the burgundy booth stare at the large mural of Castro Valley in the 40s when the cafe originally opened. Add the delicious and inexpensive food and the casual family atmosphere it's a great place for brunch.
It's places like the Dell Cafe that make you feel like something in the world is still the way it should be. Those kinds of places are closing across the country, with the economy the way it has been, and the increase in chain restaurants. People often times don't want to take a risk on something they don't know. But with reviews easily accessible and map programs directing you to frequently searched locations, it's easier now to find the sweet local places. I for one, want to live in places where there are more locally owned shops than not. Its locally owned businesses that maintain community health and keep an economy going. So go find your Dell Cafe