A restaurant named “Slow” in Berkeley — if it didn’t exist someone would have to invent it. And that someone is Kyle Anderson with his new “California with a European twist” place on a section of University that is emerging as a dynamic, albeit micro, gourmet ghetto.
Anderson, 28, hails from Omaha, Nebraska, and has worked as a chef in the kitchens of Daniel Boulud in New York and Charlie Trotter in Chicago — Michelin stars and Diamond ratings roll off his resume.
Slow’s counter-service menu — seasonal, often locally sourced, sustainably raised and organic, bien sur — might include braised short ribs, pulled pork sandwich, confit salmon, Caprese sandwich, berry cobbler and chocolate mousse. Everything is house made and there is a takeout option with curbside pick-up, as well as grab-and-go lunchtime selections.
Anderson says a key feature of the restaurant, which takes its name from the Slow Food movement, is its commitment to reasonable prices. The average cost of a lunch main dish is $6.00, with dinner priced at about $12.00. “The low prices are certainly an important part of what Slow has to offer. I want the quality and sophistication of what I serve to be accessible to lots of people,” he says.
Slow is a joint venture with Christopher Blue of Chocolatier Blue, which is at 1964 University. Other foodie destinations in the vicinity include eVe Restaurant, OktoberFeast Bakery and New Amsterdam Coffee House. (There’s a Trotter thread here: the Laramies who run eVe, Christopher Blue and Kyle Anderson all came through the Chicago eatery.)
The decor at Slow is “rustic country”, reclaimed wood from a 1822 railroad tunnel was used for the seating, and there are tables on an outdoor patio with a rose garden.
Berkeleyside caught up with Anderson and asked him the key questions:
The inspiration for opening Slow is the opportunity to grow fast by selling great food at reasonable prices.
I’ve worked on the East Coast and in the Midwest and nowhere have I found high quality fresh ingredients as readily available and at such reasonable prices. I also felt that Berkeley diners would be receptive to the concept of Slow — great food at reasonable prices.
Why this particular location?
I see this area as evolving into a foodie destination, plus it’s centrally located.
Does Slow fit in to Berkeley’s food culture, influenced by Alice Waters etc, or does it see itself as doing something new?
Slow definitely fits in with the local culture with respect to cooking with fresh, seasonal, often locally sourced ingredients. I do think that our approach to prices is rather unusual.