Tag Archives: Rick & Ann’s

Poulet: Serving the Gourmet Ghetto for 33 years

Poulet
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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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Jam maker turns hobby into thriving local business

Dafna Kory at Local 123 Cafe./Photo: Sarah Henry
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Dafna Kory discovered the delights of jalapeňo jam during pre-dinner nibbles at a Thanksgiving gathering. She went out to buy a jar, couldn’t find the mighty spicy condiment anywhere, so she began experimenting with making her own. It became an instant hit among her posse.

At first, the self-taught preserver thought her D.I.Y. hobby would just make nice gifts for friends and family. The she moved from San Francisco to South Berkeley, saw the abundance of plums, apples, and lemons growing in her new backyard, and a jamming business was born.

Kory foraged fruit in a hyper-local fashion. She made batches of jam in her home kitchen. She personally delivered by bike. Demand for her jams grew by word-of-mouth.

Friends who had friends who owned stores began encouraging her to branch out beyond her inner circle. So she started shopping INNA jam (the name is, indeed, a playful pun) to places like Local 123, Summer Kitchen, Rick and Ann’s Restaurant and The Gardener.

About a year ago, with orders coming in a steady stream, it became clear that Kory, now 28, needed to either gear up and focus on turning her after-hours pastime into a fully fledged business or scale back and remain a hobbyist. She decided to take the plunge.

A freelance commercial video editor, Kory hasn’t looked back. She began working in a commercial kitchen in North Berkeley, selling her pickles and preserves at events like ForageSF’s Underground Market and the Eat Real Festival, and offering workshops for other D.I.Y.ers.

The UC Berkeley graduate now spends nine months of the year working full-time on her budding food business, and supplements her income in the winter months with editing gigs.

In a year, she hopes to devote 100% of her work day to INNA jam. Kory also pickles though that product line is on hiatus while she ratchets up production to meet demand for her increasingly popular jams. She delivers locally by bike, ships interstate, and offers an annual, seasonal subscription (a 10-ounce jar retails for $12). … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Bites: Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster

ari.derfel.eric.fenster.gather
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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 »

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