I swear, as soon as I saw pictures of this cute café, I was wishing I had some reason to play hooky and head over to Berkeley, stat. The ELMWOOD CAFÉ moved into old Ozzie’s on College; it’s a project from owner Michael Pearce, and both managers Kara Hammond and Rachel Ericsen are Café Fanny alums (Kara for eight years, Rachel for four)—although I know Rachel from her fabulous vintage clothes, The Bees Knees Vintage, which is on a bit of a hiatus at the moment, sniff (and you may recognize her sweet face from Camino).
Chef Donna Boechler (previously of Lola’s on Solano) has put together a “Berkeley cafe” kind of menu, with healthy breakfast options, plus two sandwiches available per day (yesterday they were chicken with mango chutney and coleslaw, and a ham and cheese panino, and there has also been a vegetarian option with roasted mushrooms, goat cheese, and spinach), soup (like butternut squash, or a recent purée of asparagus and escarole). In the evening, there is one dinner entrée served, like a braised beef stew, a winter vegetable stew, or a pulled pork dish. Pastry chef Mark Chacon (also from Café Fanny) is luring people back with his cranberry or kumquat coffee cake, and fleur-de-sel shortbread cookies. Since Ozzie’s was a soda fountain, they are making some newfangled ones with house-made syrups like pear-vanilla, kumquat, and cranberry (since people are requesting them, milkshakes will be coming later).
The vintage atmosphere is gosh-darned quaint (you can see more pictures of its cuteness here), with a marble counter, bright red stools, and there are even a few outdoor tables. And here’s the amazing part: half of all the profits will be donated to charity. I know, seriously? Wow. That’s something I am happy to help support. Hours are 7am-10pm daily. 2900 College Ave. at Russell, Berkeley, 510-843-1300.