Hamburger Joints in Montclair

Most who grew up in the Montclair District of Oakland have fond memories of Mort’s Drive-in on the corner of Moraga and Medau. My memories of Mort’s are from when it was on Thornhill Drive next to the 7-11. The smell of french fries (the best!)wafting through the air and into our classrooms would make our mouths water. I can still remember how good they smelled and tasted. Yum!

Long before Mort’s opened at the corner of Moraga Avenue and Medau Place, the land was part of the Medau Dairy. (read about the Medau’s here).

FYI – I don’t know why McKeen’s was sold. I am thinking the owner’s political life was taking up a lot of his time. But that is just my opinion.

The Corner of Moraga and Medau – 6420 Moraga

Here is how the corner looked like in 1954. 

Moraga and Medau in 1954
Public Works Photos, Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey

McKeen’s Charcoal Broiler

McKeen’s in 1958
Montclarion

On a shakedown run, they sold three hundred “Big Mac’s” in four hours.

“Big Mac” & “Little Mac”

Montclarion July 1958

In 1958 Robert “Bob” Mckeen, a local realtor, opened a delightful contemporary style barbecue restaurant. The ex-Cal basketball star planned on eventually having a chain of them, and Montclair was the first one. It offered both take home and on the site dining.

Bob McKeen 1958

“Montclair claims Big Bob and his natty new spot.”

Oakland Tribune July 1958

Mort’s Drive-In

Montclarion March 1961

Morton “Mort” and Gertrude Saunders bought McKeen’s in 1961 and reopened it as Mort’s Drive-In.

Montclarion March 1961
Montclarion March 1961

Arson Suspected!

In April of 1966, fire swept through Mort’s Drive-In, causing several thousand dollars in damage.

The building was broken into through a rear window. Police believe the intruders were disappointed in not finding any cash on the premises. Papers and rubbish were piled in the middle of the room and set on fire.

Mort Sauders, the owner, offered a reward of $100 for information.

Montclarion April 13, 1966
Montclarion April 13, 1966
Montclarion April 13, 1966

Going, going gone!

Crown Liquors and Cleaners

In 1967 a new building replaced the Drive-In.. Crown has been there ever since.

Oakland Tribune 1967
Oakland Tribune 1968

More Info:

A special thanks to Chris Treadway for the clippings from the Montclarion.

The End

One thought on “Hamburger Joints in Montclair

Add yours

  1. Thank you! I am lucky to have frquented both Mort’s locations in my younger years. Our homemade burgers come close, but there will never be another Mort’s burger 🍔!

    Liked by 1 person

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