About North Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto”
The restaurants, boutiques, and galleries along Shattuck Avenue and Vine Street in North Berkeley share an emphasis on unique, artisan products and services. Sidewalk cafes, flower stands, bakeries and fine food purveyors lend the area a wonderful European ambience.
The North Shattuck area has been popularly known as the “Gourmet Ghetto” since the 1970’s because of its concentration of innovative restauranteurs including Alice Waters, whose world renowned Chez Panisse Restaurant is considered as the cradle of “California Cuisine”. Other pioneering local businesses are the original Peet’s Coffee & Tea in historic Walnut Square, the collectively owned Cheeseboard bakery and cheese shop, and the Poulet Deli, which just celebrated 34 years in business. Two Chez Panisse alums opened Cesar, a lively tapas restaurant and bar which stays open until midnight daily. Tiger Lily offers Indian fusion and creative cocktails. Down the street on Cedar, Gregoire offers fine French-inspired gourmet take-out items from a tiny shop. Across the street from A Priori, an historic former water pumping station has been transformed into Vintage Berkeley wine shop.
Longstanding neighborhood favorites include Saul’s Delicatessen and Masse’s Pastries. Epicurious Garden on Shattuck Ave. opened in 2006 and added a collection of gourmet take-out, including Kirala Sushi, Soop, Lush Gelato, and Alegio Chocolate - which can be enjoyed in their secluded courtyard - along with sit-down restaurant, Imperial Tea Shop. The Kitchen on Fire cooking school is upstairs, offering a range of culinary classes.
Shops & Galleries
The Gourmet Ghetto is known for its high quality shops, jewelers, and galleries with an emphasis on unique, artisan-produced wares.
In addition to A Priori, the Vine Street corridor is home to several boutique shops including Earthly Goods, Molly B., Bryn Walker (women's clothing) and Beauty & Attitude (lingerie). The Walk Shop is a popular shoe store carrying a wide range of high quality, globally-sourced shoes for men and women. Children’s store, Kid Dynamo features children’s clothing, gifts, and furniture. Zaver & Mor and Aura Jewelers carry high end contemporary and estate jewelry respectively. In Walnut Square (mezzanine area just above A Priori), Twig and Fig specializes in custom letterpress printing, while Love at First Bite is a cupcake lover’s delight. Local favorite, Holistic Hound, offers specialty food and natural products for dogs and cats.
Nearby on Shattuck Ave., the A.C.C.I. Gallery, represents the work of California artists and craftspeople and hosts a lively opening every month. Other unique Shattuck Avenue shops include Fox Glove and Siamese Dream, which offer colorful, stylish clothing and accessories.