Summer Kitchen: A slow/fast food destination

If you’ve been patronizing the Elmwood’s Summer Kitchen & Bake Shop since it opened last Fall, you’ll probably know that it’s already gained a loyal following.

The lunch-time line attests to its popularity — and unscientific observation suggests people are coming from far afield to order up its pulled-pork and slaw sandwiches, wood-fired broccoli and green garlic pizzas and lemon meringue cupcakes.

The Kitchen  is a beautiful spot with top-notch foodie credentials — run by husband and wife team Charlene Reis (a former Chez Panisse pastry chef) and Paul Arenstam (Hotel Vitale and Americano in San Francisco).

It was recently asked to remove some its tables because it only has the city’s OK to operate as a take-out restaurant — Elmwood having filled its quota of sit-down restaurants. This is mildly irritating for those of us who would prefer to eat from a plate and at a table rather than from a cardboard box at the Kitchen’s otherwise very lovely marble counter.


And the development lends a certain irony to the fact that the Kitchen has just been nominated for a Slow Money Award (slow money having something to do with the principles of slow food and  “bringing money back down to earth”, apparently). In our minds, slow food (and the spending of slow, or fast money, to purchase it) is best consumed from a china plate in a leisurely and convivial manner around a table.

Any Berkeley city folk like the bend the rules just this once?