Gourmet Ghetto Review
The success of Chez Panisse restaurant attracted other food-related enterprises to its stretch of Shattuck Avenue, and the area surrounding the intersection of Shattuck and Vine Street became known as the Gourmet Ghetto. Foodies will do well to spend a couple of hours here, poking around the food shops, grabbing a quick bite, or indulging in a full meal at one of the neighborhood's many excellent eateries.
The line stretches down the block in front of Cheese Board Pizza, at 1512 Shattuck, where live jazz bands sometimes serenade the diners that spill out onto the sidewalk and median. Next door is the Cheese Board Collective —worker owned since 1971—and its fabulous bakery and extensive cheese counter. Next door to Chez Panisse, César (No. 1515) wine bar and tapas house is a good place for an afternoon quaff or late-night drink.
The small food stands of Epicurious Garden, at 1509–1513 Shattuck, sell everything from sushi to gelato. Out back, you can find a small terraced garden—the best place to sit—that winds up four levels and ends at the Imperial Tea Court. Around the corner just off Vine Street is Love at First Bite, a cupcakery that sells scrumptious confections. Across Vine, the Vintage Berkeley wine shop occupies the historic former pump house at No. 2113; the offerings here are shrewdly selected and reasonably priced. Coffee lovers of the Peet's persuasion may want to pay respects at No. 2124, where the famed roaster got its start; the small café includes a display chronicling Peet's history.
South of Cedar Street in the next block of Shattuck is the art-filled Guerilla Cafe (No. 1620), a breakfast and lunch spot beloved for its waffles (the Blue Bottle Coffee doesn't hurt). Also look for the Local Butcher Shop (No. 1600), with locally sourced meat and hearty made-to-order sandwiches. A former Ritz-Carlton chef brings white-linen quality to his to-go counter, Grégoire, around the corner on Cedar Street (No. 2109). In the block north of Vine Street on Shattuck are popular Saul's deli and restaurant and beautiful Masse's Pastries. On Thursday, an organic farmers' market thrives here. We could go on, but you get the idea.