Tag Archives: Cafe Fanny

The most important stories in Berkeley in 2012

Spring-storms-over-Berkeley-by-Joe-Parks
Print Friendly

Berkeley in 2012 was filled with drama — a contested election, a failed nomination for a new school superintendent, a few missteps by the Chief of Police, and major changes at the University of California, among other events. Here’s a recap of the issues that had the deepest impact on Berkeley, plus a few fun ones thrown in.

City Government

The year got off to a tragic start with the untimely death of 37-year-old City Clerk Deanna Despain. She fell down the stairs of her Oakland home on Jan. 8. Her husband discovered her body when he returned from a late-night meeting. Their daughter was soundly asleep upstairs. Since then, Mark Numainville has been filling in as acting city clerk. In May, after serving as interim city manager for six months, the City Council appointed Christine Daniel permanently to the job. She replaced Phil Kamlarz, who had held the city’s top job for eight years. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coffee and doughnuts in Oakland’s Temescal Alley

DSC_0087
Print Friendly

Coffee and doughnuts (not “donuts” — we’ll explain why later) may be an American staple when it comes to food combinations, and there are certainly myriad places where you can pick up humdrum varieties as a breakfast treat or afternoon pick-me-up. But two new spots in a pair of fashionable Oakland artisans’ alleys take the classic pairing to another level.

Both Hannah Hoffman, who opened Doughnut Dolly three months ago, and Luigi Oldani, who launched his espresso place The CRO Café two weeks ago, have poured their hearts as well as their business chops into their respective start-ups. Both are intensely personal projects, and, happily for East Bay foodies, combined, the results are delicious.

At Doughnut Dolly, a beautiful space with painted striped walls, custom wood cabinetry, a black and white checkerboard floor, and an expansive marble counter, the donuts are hand-rolled and filled to order. Hoffman, who studied food anthropology, and whose mother, Lisa Goines, was a pastry chef at Chez Panisse, took a year to perfect her recipe while deciding whether to open a food truck. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Bartavelle owner: What’s cooking for ex-Café Fanny space

Sightglass
Print Friendly

Suzanne Drexhage is living proof of the adage that things come to those who wait.

Drexhage, who has worked at Berkeley wine purveyor Kermit Lynch for a dozen years, hosted her own pop-up restaurant events, served at Chez Panisse, and cooked with some of the most creative folks on the Berkeley food scene, has been scouting around for several years for a space to open her own place.

So, when Café Fanny closed in March after 28 years of serving frothy cappuccinos, poached eggs, and Acme toast, Drexhage was delighted to get the go-ahead to open Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar, a café-wine bar with a modern vibe and a European feel, in the slip of a space formerly co-owned by Alice Waters and Jim Maser of Picante. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

New restaurant opening in Café Fanny space in Berkeley

DSC_0042
Print Friendly

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. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

Blue Bottle offers consolation to Café Fanny patrons

Blue Bottle at Cafe Fanny
Print Friendly

There was some consolation for patrons turning up to Café Fanny this morning for breakfast only to discover it had closed down permanently yesterday: a Blue Bottle cart had set up shop in the parking lot next to Café Fanny, and no doubt the Oakland-brewed coffee was welcomed, although many are pining for the departed eatery’s beignets, bowls of café au lait and signature granola. [Hat-tip: Aaron Glimme.]

Café Fanny, which was co-owned by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame, closed abruptly … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

‘It’s the end of a generation. Fanny has grown up’

DSC_0109
Print Friendly

Alice Waters came to Café Fanny Friday morning with a funeral wreath to commemorate the closing of the café she opened 28 years ago.

As a long line of people waited to get their last servings of poached eggs on toasted Acme levain bread, beignets, and steaming bowls of café au lait, an emotional Waters, the owner of Chez Panisse restaurant and edible schoolyard pioneer, expressed sadness that the café was closing. She said that the café was losing money, and, with the divorce of the other co-owners, Jim and Laura Maser, Café Fanny had ceased to be a happy place, which is a critical ingredient in the success of any restaurant endeavor.

…See a photo gallery of Café Fanny’s last day

“It seemed like the end of an era,” said Waters. “You want to have someone home at a café. You want at a restaurant to have people who love it. I can’t take care of it now the way it needs to be taken care of. I just didn’t want to disappoint people who expect a certain something when they come here, whether it is a café au lait, a poached egg or a beignet. It is very hard to change a place.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alice Waters’ Café Fanny in West Berkeley to close

Cafe Fanny on San Pablo Avenue, which is closing Friday March 9. Photo: shinasfo.exblog
Print Friendly

Café Fanny, which is co-owned by Chez Panisse restaurateur Alice Waters, is closing. Tomorrow will be the café’s last day, according to staff at the popular eatery who were only informed of the development today.

A senior staff member said the reason given for the abrupt shuttering was that the café was not financially viable.

Café Fanny was opened by Jim Maser (who also owns Berkeley’s Picante) and his sister-in-law Alice Waters in 1984 and named after the heroine in Marcel Pagnol’s 1930s movies, as well as Waters’ daughter.

A statement from the owners reads:

Twenty-­eight years ago Café Fanny was conceived in the spirit of Marcel Pagnol’s trilogy -­ a love story involving the whole community, centered around a little standup café.

So it is with a heavy heart that we are closing Café Fanny today after 28 memorable years. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,
Arts

Berkeley street style: Geeky good spectacles

specs1
Print Friendly

By Dana Smith

In a city that prides itself on seeking the truth behind the headlines and the nuances beyond the soundbites, it’s not unexpected that Berkeleyans would want to sharpen their vision at all times.

The real surprise in this fleece-and-clog town is the degree of style they’re bringing to the act of seeing and truth-seeking.

Heavy, geek-inspired plastic rims reflecting the city’s academic pedigree dominate, from farmers’ markets to cafés, but when the sun came out at the … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Provence in Berkeley

A-Full-House-2
Print Friendly

For the past 18 years, Kermit Lynch, the world-renowned wine dealer, has been bringing a touch of the south of France to his store on San Pablo Avenue.

Each fall, Kermit Lynch teams up with his next door neighbor, Café Fanny, to put on Provence in Berkeley, a day that celebrates everything French.

That means dozens of bottles of refreshing rose, white, and red wine, Christopher Lee’s hearty French bouillabaisse, local musicians, and more. The only thing … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley Bites: Kara Hammond, Elmwood Café

elmwood.cafe.1
Print Friendly

A decade ago, and fresh out of North Carolina, Kara Hammond landed a gig at Café Fanny, a tiny slip of a place in North Berkeley opened 25 years ago by, oh, a certain famous local chef.

Hammond, who had run a homespun bakery in Greensboro, wanted to get some kitchen experience in the Bay Area. Someone she knew knew someone who had a contact at Café Fanny; she called up and scored a job, just like that. Hammond … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley Bites: Kyle Cornforth

kyle.cornforth
Print Friendly

Each Friday in this space food writer Sarah Henry asks a well-known, up-and-coming, or under-the-radar food aficionado about their favorite tastes in town, preferred food purveyors and other local culinary gems worth sharing.

Kyle Cornforth packed up her family last summer and headed to the outskirts of Chiang Mai to spend a year as the director of The Prem Organic Cooking Academy and Farm, which teaches traditional Thai cooking and farming techniques to kids from international schools around the globe, as well as adult travelers.

She wanted to share what she learned about local, sustainable, organic cooking working as the program coordinator for the Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. (Kyle, 30, will return to that position this summer. She met her husband Jay Cohen, a teacher at the school, in the Edible garden. Cue a chorus of awws now.)

She has spent the past year documenting her cross-cultural experiences in often amusing entries that can be found on her blog Cornhens in Thailand. The family, including daughter Zorah, will return to their South Berkeley home in a few months. (Full disclosure: I met Kyle at Edible while lending a hand as a kitchen volunteer.)

1. Can you name some favorite family-friendly eateries in town?

For breakfast we regularly go to The Homemade Cafe. We have been taking Zorah there on the weekends since she was an infant. It isn’t so much that the space is set up for kids, but the staff there has always made us feel welcome and been especially warm to Zorah.

Right around the corner there is a wonderful place for dinner, Digs Bistro, that has a parents night out the first Monday of every month. They have supervised activities for kids two and over — art, dinner, ice cream and a movie — and you can sit in the next room and have a delicious meal in a romantic environment.

2. Do you have a local food hero?

Amy Murray of Venus Restaurant is doing good work with quiet passion. I worked for Amy at Venus for five years. A lot of what I know about food and cooking I learned from her. She has been deeply committed to local food for a long time. I also run into her at the farmers’ market all the time, and I think it is important to see chefs out selecting the produce and ingredients themselves.

I often crave her food; anyone who comes up with the veggie nest is a hero in my book! It’s on the breakfast/brunch menu: Two poached eggs atop a salad of arugula, frisee, wild mushrooms, goat cheese, tomato, and bacon. It’s served with tapenade toast but I always substitute the biscuit. It’s the perfect way to start a weekend day. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Does Berkeley have crummy sandwiches?

Bakesale Betty's fried chicken sandwich
Print Friendly

San Francisco Magazine, that oversized, glossy love letter to food and fashion*, recently named what it considers the best sandwiches in the Bay Area.

And, if you can believe it, not a single sandwich in Berkeley was selected.

There were sandwiches from Oakland (Bakesale Betty’s chicken and coleslaw on a French roll got a nod), sandwiches from Pt. Reyes Station (Osteria Stellina’s grilled cheese was singled out), sandwiches from San Carlos (The Refuge’s pastrami is apparently good enough to … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Berkeley Bites: Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster

ari.derfel.eric.fenster.gather
Print Friendly

Each Friday in this space food writer Sarah Henry asks a well-known, up-and-coming, or under-the-radar food aficionado about their favorite tastes in town, preferred food purveyors and other local culinary gems worth sharing.

Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster, who run the recently opened Gather restaurant, met at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Eric’s first week on campus. A road trip to the Rockies cemented the friendship. A few years later, they bumped into each other at a … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,