Tag Archives: Cafe Gratitude

Take your dog to dinner: It’s now legal (within limits)

Bill and Sandra Weber, and their dog Annie, enjoy lunch on Picante's pet-friendly patio. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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California is catching up with France: dogs will be allowed on restaurant patios and in other outdoor dining areas when a new law goes into effect January 1.

The change may be unnoticeable in Berkeley, where many restaurants have allowed dogs to join diners outdoors for years. The little-known prohibition was rarely enforced.

“We don’t get a lot of complaints, maybe three to five a year, so we would respond to those to enforce the state law if it was violated,” said Manuel Ramirez, director of Berkeley’s Environmental Health Division. … Continue reading »

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Poulet: Serving the Gourmet Ghetto for 33 years

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Marilyn Rinzler is that rare bird in the Gourmet Ghetto: a food purveyor who shuns the label foodie and shies away from fancy food. She doesn’t even like to cook much.

Back in 1979, Rinzler got the idea to start a food business when she was a busy graduate student in social work and single mother of two then teenage boys. She was frustrated she couldn’t find a takeaway place in town to pick up a simple, healthy dinner — say, roast chicken and salad — on her way home.

So the unlikely edible entrepreneur set up her own shop, Poulet, on Shattuck Avenue in North Berkeley to provide just such a service. This was well before the term Gourmet Ghetto came into vogue. The deli, now in its 33rd year, is an anchor institution of that iconic food corridor, turning out made-from-scratch meals for those with who crave unfussy comfort food.

Rinzler, who lives near the Rose Garden, was so busy with her budding business that she never did practice as a social worker. But that training, as you might expect, has come in handy in dealing with both staff and customers. … Continue reading »

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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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Berkeley Bites: Lisa Rogovin, Epicurean Concierge

The CheeseBoard: a Berkeley tour stop.
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A former ad sales rep for Gourmet magazine (R.I.P.), Lisa Rogovin had what she calls her Eat, Pray, Love moment in 2005, meaning she left an unhappy marriage, sold the house, and embarked on a food-fueled journey around the world, visiting 14 countries (yes, India was in the mix) in seven months.

Before she left on her edible adventure, though, the food enthusiast sowed the seeds for her future happiness, both personally and professionally. She met the man who … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Bites: Tanya Henderson

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Tanya Henderson is a cooking instructor for the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD). During the day she cooks with teens at Willard Middle School. Once a week she whips up dishes with kids in the after-school program at Malcolm X Elementary. She also teaches evening nutrition classes to parents at several BUSD locations.

A former New Yorker who worked in television — including directing a season of MTV’s Real World – Henderson moved to Berkeley to attend Continue reading »

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