Fremont has its share of quirks, whether it’s the troll under the bridge or the statue of Lenin. Now, it has the Dreamland Bar and Diner, a new restaurant with a dreamy garden “Xanadu” vibe, a ceiling covered with disco balls, and some creative breakfast dishes served all day long in a revamped historic building that’s over a century old.
In July, the diner quietly opened in the space formerly occupied by iconic beer bar Red Door, which closed in March. Although going back further to the early 20th century, it used to house the Fremont Drug Company, and the entire building was physically moved twice (once in 1903 and again in 1917) in order to align with the raised street.
Dreamland is writing the next chapter in its history as a funky new breakfast destination for the neighborhood. On the menu are comfort food classics with some playful twists, such as the “right-side up” pineapple French toast, the chicken with bubble waffles, and the Big Daddy Cluck: a fried chicken thigh sandwich topped with cheddar, bacon, honey, and pickled jalapenos on a house-made biscuit.
All the items are described with odd little references to mythological creatures and characters conjured from the staff’s imagination (there’s a chimera and a seafaring character named Captain Cypress). But the restaurant— run by the team behind Stampede Cocktail Club nearby — began with a more down-to-earth vision. “After all the late night shifts at Stampede, we found it difficult to find a place serving biscuits and gravy at 5 p.m.,” says owner Paul Shanrock.
As befitting its cocktail bar roots, there’s also a robust summery drinks list, with guava Moscow mules, tiger’s blood margaritas, passionfruit whiskey sours, and a vegan grasshopper slushie made with coconut cream. Dreamland also has a happy hour menu that features sausage waffle corndogs, recalling a pre-pandemic time when post-work discounted bites and drinks was part of the regular dining culture.
Shanock says he signed the lease three weeks before COVID-19 hit the area, anticipating that the campuses for local offices of tech companies like Google and Tableau would still be full, and that the Fremont Sunday Market would be active when Dreamland opened. But when coronavirus measures drastically impacted the landscape, he and the team adjusted.
“We’ve completely altered the space and now there’s a pool room, a hanging garden brunch area, an epically chandeliered gallery, and even a disco hallway [a ceiling covered in disco balls],” Shanrock says, e a back patio he says is conducive to social distancing.
Despite the changes, the owner believes the restaurant still honors its roots and refers to the space as the “floating city,” in reference to the building’s mobile past. “We truly think it is the crown jewel of Fremont,” says Shanrock.
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Residents of the Floating City! The last two weeks have been truly incredible! Our hearts have been filled with utter joy to have you drink and dine with us. Unfortunately, due to a host of technical difficulties and the rollbacks occurring this Thursday we have decided to take the week off to recalibrate, restructure, and refresh. We will return this Sunday stronger than ever ready to serve you breakfast and not breakfast everyday from 10am to 10pm till the end of time!
- Dreamland Bar and Diner [Official]
- Dreamland Bar and Diner [Instagram]
- After More Than 30 Years, Fremont’s Craft Beer Bar Pioneer Will Close in March [ESEA]