Earlier this week, a public notice of application for ownership change was posted on the window at Lindgren’s Coffee and Café in downtown Berkeley. The café, which served house-roasted coffee and pastries baked on site, was opened by Eric Lindgren in 2013, but as we reported on Nosh in 2015, just two years later, Lindgren put the café up for sale. He told Nosh that after getting married, he and his husband had new plans for their lives. Although there were several inquiries about buying the business, none stuck, and Lindgren and his eponymous café stayed put. Fast forward two more years and now Lindgren has sold the café and can finally start that new chapter of his life.
We heard from Peter Snyderman and Warren Spicer, the new owners who will be taking over the space at 2120 Dwight Way. Their plan is to transform the café into a new café called Way Station Brew.
Snyderman is the former owner of San Francisco Pac Heights restaurants Elite Café and Alta Plaza. Spicer, who has worked in the food-service industry, mainly has a professional background in the publishing world, where he spent time at The San Francisco Bay Guardian, Metro Publishing and PlayBill. The two, longtime friends who first met at Lowell High School in San Francisco, had the idea more than two years ago to start a café together, a scaled down version of the eateries run by Snyderman. They started seriously pursuing the project last fall, after Snyderman sold the Elite Café. They had their eye on Berkeley for a new location, as Spicer lives in the city, and Snyderman is a Cal alum. They both have “lots of love for the town,” Snyderman said.
It was Spicer who first spotted the opportunity at Lindgren’s.
“We actually just got lucky and Warren saw Lindgren’s listed for sale while flipping through a business listing site. We came by to visit many times ‘as customers’ and quickly knew it was the spot,” Snyderman said. Although they were originally not familiar with Lindgren’s, with each visit, they were convinced it was the right fit for their new project.
“After each visit, we became more and more enamored. The staff, the location, the decor and design, the amazing back patio, the coffee roaster and the overall vibe are all just great. [It’s] very rare to have so many components line up like that,” said Snyderman.
The partners hope Way Station Brew will keep the casual, community vibe of Lindgren’s. In fact, their goal is the reason for the café’s name. In its press release, Way Station Brew is described as “a spot where friends can gather, converse, rejuvenate and fortify themselves for the next step in life’s daily journey.” It also refers to local historical trivia: back in the 1800s, there was an actual streetcar station at the intersection of Dwight and Shattuck.
Like Lindgren’s, Way Station Brew will roast its own coffee, but will expand its food offerings. Snyderman has brought on Chef Jeremy Weiss, who he worked with at Elite Café, to develop Way Station’s menu. Like Lindgren’s, the new menu will offer many in-house made and locally sourced items. Way Station will diverge from Lindgren’s by serving more beers and wines, and adding low-alcohol cocktails to its roster.
When Nosh spoke with Eric Lindgren in 2015 about selling the café, he mentioned hoping the new owner(s) would retain some of his employees. Asked if this might happen, Snyderman said, “We are hoping that the staff will stay on and have told Eric that that is our plan. We will be expanding the food and beverage offerings as well as the hours of operation, so additional staff will also be necessary. We are looking forward to the current staff helping us make the transition very smooth.”
A closing date for Lindgren’s has not been determined, but Way Station Brew hopes to be in business in early September. We reached out for further comment from Lindgren, but have not heard back at the time of publication. We’ll update this story with developments as they come.