By Kim Fortson

Having a meal at Gather is like reconnecting with an old friend who looks even better than you remember, though their best features remain reassuringly similar. Since opening its doors in 2009 at the foot of Berkeley’s LEED-certified David Brower Center, the restaurant, led by executive chef Sean Baker, has been lauded for a menu that truly caters to both vegans and carnivores—no half-baked tofu or gristly meat here. Today Gather carries on its tradition of inclusion. Warm winter notes of quince celery root soup hold equal footing with a roasted chicken sandwich layered with crispy strips of bacon; the braised mushroom sandwich is the vegan’s answer to the melty decadence of the Wagon Wheel grilled cheese. With partner farms and a majority of the wait staff unchanged from the beginning, Gather’s community is just as notable as its fare. You’ll be pleased to reacquaint yourself with both.

the crowd

Well-dressed friends talk education and politics over shared grilled cheese and coffee.

... on the side

straight from the source
Stories of origin accompany each thoughtful serving, from the Swiss raclette dish that inspired Baker’s Wagon Wheel grilled cheese to the history of the Hillside Seven olive oil garnishing the quince celery root soup. A “source book” compiles an extensive list of Gather’s partners and suppliers in a well-worn three ring binder, available for browsing upon request.

beans to spill
Come summer, a Gather spin-off will take up residence in the city. Co-owner Eric Fenster shared that the team recently acquired the spot on Polk Street formerly home to Marbella. Though the concept is still in the works, expect an emphasis on well-crafted cocktails and the same passionate commitment to quality omnivore eats.



lunch: Mon–Fri 11:30 AM–2 PM
dinner: 5 PM–10 PM daily
brunch: Sat–Sun 10 AM–2:30 PM

price range

$6 (quince celery root soup) to $18 (pancetta pizza)