Tag Archives: Gourmet Ghetto
By Nancy Rubin
Bay Area native Willy Perez (Berkeley High, class of 1995) knows two things well: cars and food. Summoning inspiration from his love of restoring vintage cars, specifically his 1961 Chevy Impala convertible, Perez began to picture a place that expressed the loyalty of true vintage car culture mixed with the essence of his mother’s savory Mexican spices he knew growing up.
Thus was born the idea of Guacamole 61, whose name was, of course, inspired by his beloved car. The diminutive take-out restaurant opened this week at Epicurious Garden in North Berkeley. It took over the space from the short-lived Herb n’ Chicken, which itself was preceded by Source Mini. It’s not the first time the kitchen has served up Mexican dishes: Picoso Taqueria occupied the spot before Flavor Mediterranean Food, which was itself replaced by Source Mini.
It’s not the first Berkeley restaurant venture for Perez, either. He was one of the group, along with Artemio Maldonado and Dwight Ferron — all former Cheese Board alums — that opened Sliver in January 2013, the popular pizza destination on Center Street in downtown Berkeley. … Continue reading »
When news broke on Thursday that the owners of Saul’s Deli were hoping to find a buyer for the 30-year-old North Berkeley restaurant, disappointment and shock hit social media channels in equal measure.
“Nooooooooooo,” exclaimed Jayson Elliott on Berkeleyside’s Facebook post about the news, which has reached over 42,000 people.
“Ahhhh,” wrote Pam Herman Bush simply.
“Can I make an offer for just The Pastrami?” joked David Handler.
And Anne-Marie Dumaresq admitted to a significant transgression: “My husband and I have avoided going because I’m a vegetarian, but lately, I’ve sinned a little bit here and there. I keep having this craving for a pastrami on rye (I’m licking my lips while I type) with mustard and a big pickle and I’ve always said, ‘If I’m gonna have it, we have to go to Saul’s!’ How long have we got??”
But Peter Levitt, who has co-owned the deli at 1475 Shattuck Ave. with Karen Adelman since 1996, urged the Berkeley populace not to panic. While the pair are looking for someone to take over the business eventually, they are not in a rush to sell, and they are not going anywhere, he told Berkeleyside.
Berkeley’s second parklet is now open for visitors. The outdoor seating area in front of Saul’s Delicatessen in the Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood was unveiled today. It comes on the heels of the recent move of the Thursday Farmers Market to its new location in the off-road strip in front of Saul’s and neighboring businesses.
The parklet was funded in part by a successful $15,000 Indiegogo campaign earlier this year. Saul’s owner, Peter Levitt, hopes the space will be a boon to farmers market shoppers, in addition to regular day-time foot traffic.
Saul’s parklet, at 1475 Shattuck Ave., was designed by Berkeley architect David Trachtenberg, who is also responsible for the building that houses Saul’s, as well as many other buildings in Berkeley. … Continue reading »
After nearly 10 years of operation in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, Café Gratitude is closing.
The restaurant will cease operations by the end of 2015. Owners Matthew and Terces Engelhart told NOSH that they intend to focus on “farming and the six Southern California restaurants.”
“We have enjoyed serving the East Bay community,” they continued, “and thank them for their loyal patronage, and our employees for their years of service and dedication.” … Continue reading »
The first thing you notice when you enter Tigerlily on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley is the greenery: an assortment of plants hang from the ceiling while others appear to be growing on the walls. Pots filled with plants hang throughout the bar. The bar itself is covered with a canopy of what looks like grass growing upside down. A light-colored bark covers the lower part of the bar and curves around the inverted lawn above. If you feel as though you’ve wandered into an urban garden, you have. Everything you see has a garden tie-in somehow, including the occasional spot-them-if-you-can red-hatted gnomes.
Tigerlily has a small number of tables out front, allowing patrons to observe the passing parade on Shattuck — lively at any time, but especially on an evening when the street is filled with shoppers on their way to browse at the farmer’s market, or lined up across the street at the Cheese Board. … Continue reading »
LA MARCHA OPEN IN WEST BERKELEY We knew that La Marcha, the brick-and-mortar location for Ñora Spanish Cuisine at 2026 San Pablo Ave., was getting close to opening last month. Today the restaurant is open. La Marcha’s name is a reference to to the typical late-night Spanish bar crawl, where patrons stroll from place to place and enjoy small plates and drinks throughout the evening. The Spanish-inspired restaurant is serving around 25 tapas and eight to nine paella dishes, plus dessert. These paella dishes range from traditional preparations like paella Valenciana (rabbit, duck, snail, sweet peppers, rosemary, saffron and bomba rice) to California-inspired twists using seasonal ingredients. On the drinks side, La Marcha is featuring 20 different sherries, plus 30 Spanish wines by the bottle, 3 wines on tap, Spanish-style ciders and Bay Area craft beers. La Marcha is at 2026 San Pablo Ave. (near University Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter. … Continue reading »
BANNED BOOKS WEEK BIKE PARTY Join the Berkeley Public Library for the second annual Banned Books Week Bike Party on Saturday Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-12 noon. This year, the event takes place at South Branch (1901 Russell St.) for a kickoff celebration featuring bike decorating, music and more. Participants will then ride as a group over to the Central Library (2090 Kittredge) via Russell, Milvia and Kittredge streets for a reading from some of the most frequently challenged books. There will be a raffle off a prize for readers at the end. The ride is about 1 mile long and is perfect for beginning cyclists and kids. Info on the BPL’s website. … Continue reading »
With the opening seven years ago of Corso, co-owner and executive chef Wendy Brucker and co-owner Roscoe Skipper set out to recreate a trattoria with the simplicity of a Tuscan restaurant. The restaurant quickly found its regulars, partially due to the reputation of its sister restaurant Rivoli. However, chef de cuisine Scott Eastman says the restaurant is just now finding its groove.
“It’s taken us some time and practice to really get there, but now is the time where the restaurant is really starting to reach the mind’s eye of what the owners wanted it to be,” he said.
Eastman would know. He’s been there since the restaurant opened in 2008. “I had the opportunity to see a restaurant from its beginning and I just continued to grow with this place,” he said. … Continue reading »
September, the East Bay’s other summer, is almost upon is. While al fresco dining is a year-round option in our pocket of Northern California, these warm days and golden evenings are the perfect time to take advantage of some of the area’s outdoor dining and drinking spots. And, since El Niño is supposed to give us a long, wet winter (we hope!) it may be a while before patios seem appealing again. Below are eight of our favorite places, but we’re sure we missed a few — leave us a comment if you have a much-loved patio or garden that didn’t make our list. … Continue reading »
By Shelby Pope/Bay Area Bites
There is no shortage of non-alcoholic drinks in Berkeley. The first, second and third waves of coffee are all sufficiently represented. There are many spots for tea of every variety, including bubble.There’s even more than one place to get an avocado smoothie.
But two new Berkeley cafes have found something new to offer. In the Gourmet Ghetto, the Bay Area’s first dedicated grain-free restaurant, Mission: Heirloom, serves coffee with everything from camel’s milk to butter. Down on University, MeloMelo Kava Bar is introducing customers to drinks made with kava.
The two cafés are very similar. Both are beautiful spaces, filled with little details like Mission Heirloom’s elegant Heath Ceramic dishes and MeloMelo’s lighting system, which changes colors if they’re mentioned on Twitter or Instagram. Both inspire evangelical devotion among their respective fans. And both are expensive, with drinks hovering around the $6-7 range. Your impression of them will likely depend on your tolerance for both acquired tastes and alternative health. … Continue reading »
OAKLAND RAISES MINIMUM WAGE Oakland’s minimum wage went up to $12.25 on Monday. Many local restaurants are in support of the wage hike, and have been actively informing customers that prices will rise as a result. Restaurant owners and their staff have joined in on a hashtag campaign, #oaklandlivingwage, to garner city-wide support for small businesses. Piedmont Avenue’s Homestead and Dopo, as well as Camino on Grand Avenue, have made the most drastic changes to their pay structure: all have eliminated tips and increased prices to accommodate the increased wage for employees. Aunt Mary’s Café and Toast have added 15% service charges to their bills to be divided up among the entire staff. Guests may tip in addition to the service charge. Other restaurants will simply raise prices to make up for the wage increase. Actual Café‘s Sal Bednarz has been an active supporter of the wage hike, despite the challenges he and other business owners are facing. In a press conference on Wednesday with Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, he said: “It was a difficult thing for me to do as a business owner, and I’m still unsure what the ongoing customer impact will be of having done that. We’re here today to remind all of Oakland that we’re doing this for good reasons. Spend your dollar where your vote was. Support the minimum wage increase by supporting small businesses in Oakland.” … Continue reading »
Citing safety concerns, the city of Berkeley wants to move Thursday’s North Berkeley farmers market to a location a few hundred feet south-east of its current site on the stretch of Shattuck Avenue that runs between Shattuck Place and Rose Street. The Ecology Center, which runs all of Berkeley’s farmers markets, is resisting the move, saying the proposed new site, on the service road in front of businesses such as Saul’s Deli and Masse’s bakery, presents problems of its own.
Visitors to the market in recent weeks have been asked to sign petitions to lobby to keep the local food stalls where they are.
Discussions about the location and safety of the 11-year old Gourmet Ghetto market, which attracts an average of 1,800 people a week, have been ongoing for many months, according to both the city and the Ecology Center. The talks appear to have reached something of a stalemate, however. … Continue reading »
TWO NEW EAST BAY BREWERIES Two new breweries are getting very close to up and running. In Berkeley, Fieldwork Brewing Company, which we reported on in both April and August last year, is putting the final touches on its beers. Fieldwork will be sharing some of its brews during SF Beer Week, and will hold a few private tastings in the coming weeks. Further south, Park Street’s Alameda Island Brewing Company reports on Facebook that all of its tests and inspections of its brewing facility are complete. Its tasting room looks pretty spiffy, too. We’ll keep you posted on the opening days for both of these new spots. Fieldwork Brewing Company will be at 1160 Sixth St. (at Harrison), Berkeley. Follow Fieldwork Brewing on Facebook and Twitter, and on its website. Alameda Island Brewing Company will be at 1716 Park St. (at Eagle), Alameda. Connect with Alameda Island Brewing on Facebook. … Continue reading »