Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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F or more than a century, Berkeley has been known as a center of intellectual and political foment. And in more recent decades, for its vibrant and innovative food scene that's on par with cities 10 times its size. In addition to being home to one of the most famous and inf lu- ential restaurants in the country, if not the world, Berkeley is ground zero for the farm-to-table movement and has been a training ground and incubator for many of the country's finest chefs, bakers, and artisan food producers. Sadly, save for the odd pilgrimage to dine at Chez Panisse, very few visitors to San Francisco venture across the bay to experience the culinary Tao of Berkeley. There are many interesting neighborhoods in Berkeley that provide amusement in the form of shopping and eating, but none is more captivating than a stretch of Shattuck Avenue and its environs known affectionately as the Gourmet Ghetto. The moniker was coined in the late 1960s, and somehow it stuck. Today, the area has outgrown its provincial roots and has become a popular destination for foodies everywhere. Local author, artist, food historian, and former cookbook publisher John Harris compares Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto to other historic neighborhoods known for food and cafe culture like San Francisco's North Beach, New York 's Greenwich Village, and Montmartre in Paris. "I predict that someday Shattuck Avenue between Rose and Virginia will be an official historic 'culinary arts' district," says Harris, "with plaques on walls of buildings identifying former shops." The Gourmet Ghetto has evolved over the years and the makeup today is a mixture of old and new. A few of the original operations are still going strong, those that helped establish the area's reputation as a specialty enclave. They include the original Peet's Coffee & Tea, the small storefront where Alfred Peet first began roasting coffee and teaching his clientele about the nuances of fine tea; The Cheeseboard Collective, a seminal cheese shop, bakery, and pizzeria that has been an anchor for the food scene here since it opened over 50 years ago (the near cult obsession surrounding the pizza—one offering each day—results in a long line down the street nightly while jazz combos play inside); Saul's Delicatessen (on what they whimsically call "the Upper North Side"), upholding the venerable tradition of the Jewish deli for over 30 years, is as close to a New York-style deli as you'll find west of the Hudson River, only they use organic, sustainably raised and grown foods and they make their own sodas. In addition to the old guard, there are newer businesses that have spun their own interpretations of what it means to be gour- met. The Local Butcher Shop has been a welcome addition to the Berkeley food scene since it opened seven years ago. Owners Aaron BERKELEY'S FOOD SCENE ACROSS THE BAY: GOURMET GHETTO 82 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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