Tag Archives: Alice Liu

What’s behind the Café Gratitude closure, what’s next?

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Update, 01.26.12: We learn from Café Gratitude co-owner Terces Engelhart that the Berkeley restaurant on Shattuck may not close after all. “Wanting to let you know that we are planning on being able to keep Berkeley Café Gratitude open!,” she writes in a January 24th email. We will keep readers updated.

Original story: Last week’s unexpected announcement that all eight Northern California Café Gratitude restaurants — including the one in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto — will close because of former employee legal action prompted a range of responses from readers and eaters from “I am Sad” to “I am Amused” to “I am Indifferent.”

The raw-and-cooked organic, vegan food chain, where every item on the menu is an affirmation that begins “I am…” prompted one wag on Twitter to comment that the naming convention in itself was actionable.

Citing “aggressive lawsuits,” owners Matthew and Terces Engelhart revealed the pending shuttering on Facebook and, later, on their website, a few days after Thanksgiving. “Although we believe that we have done nothing wrong and our policies are completely legal, it will cost us too much money to defend them in court,” read the Facebook message. The margins in the food business are notoriously slim and, the couple maintain, they simply don’t have the finances to fight a protracted legal battle. … Continue reading »

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Giving thanks with Berkeley’s Café Gratitude

Berkeley's Café Gratitude on Shattuck Avenue
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Alice Liu is the general manager of the Berkeley branch of Café Gratitude, a position she’s held for about a year.

Originally from Taiwan, Liu has owned her own café, Cones N Cakes, in the Excelsior District in San Francisco, and ran Baci, an upscale Italian restaurant in Vallejo, before becoming involved with Café Gratitude through her boyfriend, who also works for the local chain, which has five restaurants in the Bay Area.

The vegan, organic, mostly raw and largely gluten-free “living foods” café features communal tables and a menu sporting dishes that go by positive affirmations such as “I am Thankful” (Coconut Curry Soup), “I am Cheerful” (Live Sunburger) and “I am Marvelous” (Raw Cacao Mocha).

Diners can play the board game “Abounding River” designed by the company owners, which encourages self-reflection, as do the cards found on every table. Servers ask customers a question of the day, such as “What are you grateful for?” and “Who is your hero?” … Continue reading »

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