Fall is the perfect season to indulge your senses in North Berkeley’s historic Shattuck & Vine neighborhood! From celebrated eateries, bakeries, and food shops with a commitment to local, sustainable production, to the finest artisan gifts and housewares, to diverse arts and cultural offerings—you can prepare for meaningful holiday gatherings, and take in a writing or cooking class, play, musical performance, or art exhibition. Explore the cafes, boutiques, and independent businesses, too. Here’s some inspiration.
Connect Through Food
Experience the iconic Alice Water’s Chez Panisse, birthplace of the farm-to-table movement (the upstairs cafe’s wider menu caters to all tastes) or plan a family gathering at Saul’s for modern Jewish soul food and holiday menus (plus a Hannakuh latke tent!). Cesar offers tapas in a buzzy atmosphere made for celebrating. Find vegetarian sushi at Cha-Ya or snag a table at Corso’s well-loved trattoria for locally sourced Tuscan comfort food. Agrodolce Osteria’s menu features Sicilian family recipes in a rustic setting perfect for larger gatherings or parties. Brunch and happy hour shine at Nico’s 1508 American bistro—the cozy booths are date night worthy, too!
Forage for Your Feasts
For over 50 years, the Cheese Board Bakery and Cheese Shop has anchored the district and is a go-to for the excellent atmosphere, quality and selection—and the area continues to draw new generations of artisan food purveyors. Masse’s Pastries makes exquisite cakes, tarts and macarons. The Local Butcher Shop offers humanely raised meats and poultry, used nose-to-tail for sausages, pates and stocks. Find that special bottle at Vintage Berkeley Wine Shop—they offer wine tasting each afternoon!
Hang-out with Take-out
Grab a bite or sweet from Soop, Kirala 2, Guacamole 61, Lush Gelato or Cheesequakes in the Epicurious Food Hall to savor in their secluded garden. Stop by Fava, Gregoire, and Saul’s Deli for inspired take-out, or get a slice from the Cheeseboard Pizzeria (with live music daily!) and mingle in the parklet.
Coffee Culture Crawl
Start at original Peet’s Coffee in Walnut Square and its history sideroom, work your way to Cafenated Coffee who roasts their own single-origin beans right here in Berkeley, and enjoy (now with Persian cuisine!) in their greenhouse patio, then to Vanne Bistro in the former French Hotel for expert pulls and the lively political chat outside. Guerilla Cafe offers organic, fair trade coffee in a tiny, art and music filled space (with their signature daily waffles).
Meet Your Local Organic Farmer
On Thursday afternoons, the North Berkeley Farmers’ Market brings all organic produce, locally caught fish and baked goods with music and kid’s activities. Visit the Ecology Center shop at the market to find market bags and goods for a sustainable lifestyle, too.
Go Behind the Scenes
A guided culinary tasting tour (great gift or gathering idea!) by Edible Excursions embarks twice per week with stops around the district for hearty samples and talks with local chefs and food purveyors about their food philosophy.
Sip & Sample for the Schools
Stroll under sparkly winter holiday lighting to taste seasonal bites with local wines and micro-brews at their restaurants and shops during the Fall Taste of North Berkeley food and wine mini-fest on December 11th. Proceeds benefit the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, awarding classroom grants to teachers since 1986.
Hone your Skills
Learn the basics or take your home cooking to the next level with a class at Kitchen on Fire Cooking School. Sign up for a meditation or teacher training workshop at Yogakula and develop your writing skills at Left Margin Lit.
Shop Local & Independent
Keep your dollars in the local economy! Find sustainable and artisan tabletop treasures at A Priori, locally designed clothing at Foxglove, and the work of 100 local artists at ACCI Gallery. Need some bling? Find conflict-free diamonds and vintage jewels at M. Lowe & Co. and the work of local designers at Zaver & Mor on Vine St. Everything for your furry friends is found at Holistic Hound, including their new line of CBD products.
Take an Art Stroll
The 60-year old cooperative ACCI Gallery presents the work of over 100 local member artists in a range of mediums and holds exhibitions with lively monthly opening receptions. Berkeley Art Center in nearby Live Oak Park hosts innovative shows, workshops and artist talks. Many businesses also host local art in a variety of mediums—check out rotating shows at Guerilla Cafe, M. Lowe & Co. Jewelers, and Vintage Berkeley. Don’t miss the murals on the street at Virginia and inside Wrecking Ball Coffee!
Dinner and a Show
A short walk from the area’s eateries is the Live Oak Theater, home to TheatreFirst, producing acclaimed provocative plays. Also nearby, Hillside Club and Jewish Community Center present a range of plays, author readings, and movies. Yogakula has monthly Indian Kirtan and other musical performances.