New restaurant opening in Café Fanny space in Berkeley

A new restaurant, Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar, will open soon in the old Café Fanny Space which closed in March. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Update, May 24: Because many readers have expressed an interest, Berkeleyside made inquiries about whether the Café Fanny staff who lost their jobs after the restaurant closed down received severance pay. A Chez Panisse spokesperson said that Alice Waters personally ensured all of the staff were looked after.  “Alice Waters paid the severance of all Café Fanny employees,” he said. (Separately, look out for our feature to be published tomorrow on Bartavelle!)

Two months after the sudden closure of the Alice Waters-related Café Fanny, a new coffee and wine spot is set to open in the west Berkeley space that is sandwiched between two Berkeley institutions: Acme Bread and Kermit Lynch Wines.

Details are sketchy, but Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar should be opening in about eight weeks at 1603 San Pablo Avenue, in part of the building that is owned by Kermit Lynch, according to a source close to the business.

Chef Suzanne Drexhage and coffee guru Sam Sobolewski are believed to be involved in the new venture, and it is rumored Suzanne Fuoco will be offering up her Pink Slip jams there.


Café Fanny, which was co-owned by Chez Panisse restaurateur Alice Waters and her brother in law Jim Maser, closed abruptly on March 9 after 28 years in business. A perennial favorite lunch and coffee destination for many Berkeleyans, it was named after the heroine in Marcel Pagnol’s 1930s movies, as well as Waters’ daughter.

Until Bartavelle opens, local resident Luigi Oldani is serving Sightglass coffee from a vintage espresso machine on the restaurant’s patio, every day from 7:30 am.

Related:
Blue Bottle offers consolation to former Cafe Fanny patrons [03.10.12]
“It’s the end of a generation: Fanny has grown up” [03.09.12]
Alice Waters’ Cafe Fanny in west Berkeley to close [03.08.12]