DJ's Berkeley Cafe closed abruptly last December, leaving a hole in the Berkeley neighborhood's breakfast scene. Kade Gianinetti, one of the founding partners of The Way Back and American Grind, lives in the area and couldn't help but notice the vacancy at 3838 Tennyson Street — so he decided to do something about it. Along with Patrick O’Neill, co-founder of Avanti Food & Beverage, and chef Eric Lee, Gianinetti is opening Wendell's, which will serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week.
Gianinetti says that Wendell's will offer a "pretty classic take on a diner menu," with "simple things like bacon and eggs," along with more contemporary fare. So you'll be able to get chicken-fried steak and avocado toast under one roof. The restaurateur is also an owner of Method Coffee Roasters, and Wendell's will serve the company's own espresso drinks and drip coffee.
Wendell's takes its name from writer and activist Wendell Berry, whose ideas about sustainable agriculture and need for a "fifty-year farm bill" have inspired Gianinetti at his other restaurants. "We want to create a network that will pull from a more regional/local food system," he explains.
The team is expecting a quick turnaround at the address and hopes to open Wendell's on May 15. Breakfast and lunch will be served seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m.
Gianinetti and business partner Alex Rawal are also working on the first retail coffee shop for their coffee company. Method Collective will open a little later this summer on the ground floor of the Alexan LoHi apartment building, being built in the former Dickinson Plaza corner.at West 32nd Avenue and Tejon Street. In addition to coffee drinks, it will have a "bodega element" of grab-and-go items, including eggs, milk and other locally sourced groceries.
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