Toast for the Hulk at heart

Oblivion Comics & Coffee goes beyond the perils of alternate universes and delivers on specialty caffeinated beverages decorated with superhero symbols

by Mark Stivers

Join the squad at Oblivion Comics & Coffee for Toast Tuesdays with $1-off specialty toast all day; 1020 11th Street,

Oblivion Comics & Coffee is sophisticated like a high-end coffee shop and rustic like an indie record store. Across from the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on 11th Street in downtown Sacramento, the shop features all manner of fandom: statues and figures of Marvel’s Captain America, DC’s Batman and even little Funko Pops.

Behind the counter stands a massive comic book-paneled wall. But don’t let the geeky overindulgence fool you. Oblivion is just as much a specialty coffee shop as it is a haven for those who seek to delve into the realms of good vs. evil.

“Coffee was one of those conduits that we wanted to spur conversation to get people to stay a little longer and geek out a little bit more,” said co-owner Neil Estaris.

And while familiar drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes and mochas are available, Oblivion also serves creative beverages such as The Dark Sith (drip coffee with espresso), the Latte of Truth (caramel, white chocolate, steamed milk and espresso) and the Cobblepot (steamed dark and white chocolate and espresso). The last two are finished with a variety of familiar symbols from Wonder Woman, Batman or the Tri-Force, all dusted with a little help from a stencil and some powdered chocolate.

The shop also keeps up on food trends with its specialty toast menu. Every Tuesday is “Toast Tuesday” with each slice $1 off. Toast in itself is nothing special. It’s just bread and butter, after all. But Oblivion elevates plain-old toast with spices such as cinnamon, sugar, black and crushed red pepper from The Allspicery.

The Texas-style bread from Grateful Bread Co. is cut in-house and the result is a 1-inch, bulky slice of country French or sourdough bread, toasted, buttered and smothered with a smorgasbord of fixings.

There’s the decadent Winter is Coming (country French blanketed in cream cheese, crushed Oreo cookies and chocolate drizzle, $5); The Oblivion (sourdough layered with cream cheese, blackberry and strawberry preserves, $5); and popular choices such as The Edible Hulk (sourdough covered in avocado, topped with sea salt, black and crushed red pepper, $5.25). Pro tip: Be sure to ask for a fork and a knife. It’ll get messy.

“We recently just started [serving] the Jack-Jack toast. If you’ve seen The Incredibles, you have Jack-Jack who has all the powers. So that toast is mirrored after an everything bagel … with cream cheese and the everything seasoning on top,” Estaris said.

A hook left around the countertop reveals the “comics” portion of the shop. But this back area, separated by a small art gallery filled with works by local artists on monthly rotation, has a welcome familiarity to it, creating a small-scale amalgam of both crate-digging and shelf-shopping. Here, neatly organized, still-sealed comics, graphic novels and manga for all ages fill the shelves: for kids (Steven Universe), for adolescents (Naruto), for young adults (DC/Marvel) and new comics are released every Wednesday.

Named after the DC Universe’s Oblivion Bar, a tavern located in a pocket dimension that’s treated as a neutral hangout spot for the monstrous and the magical, Oblivion Comics & Coffee succeeds in creating a space “where anyone is welcome, geek or not.” Even if you’re the barbarian who eats messy toast without utensils.