Summer Kitchen—hit the "beach" on College Ave. for a hit of caraway-mustard slaw

By Christina Mueller

Summer Kitchen + Bake Shop instantly feels familiar, reminiscent of summer vacation sun-splashed beach restaurants. The menu, concocted by chef-owners Charlene Reis and Paul Arenstam, is designed for freshness and speed with a nod to seasonal and Bay Area-sourced ingredients. Pizzas, salads, and sandwiches are the go-to standards in addition to nightly specials sprinkled with American and European flavors. Food arrives quickly at this order-at-the-counter “seaside” joint, but just like a good dog day, there’s endless time to enjoy.

Whole-wheat spelt pasta, thick with kale, diced parsnips, and butternut squash, oozes cheesy charm. The crispy chicken sandwich defies the ordinary: Tender meat with crunchy rice bran coating is perched on top of Savoy cabbage slaw with caraway and mustard dressing, and sweet and snappy house-made pickles. Arctic char, bathed in a brown butter sauce, gets snappy with peas and roasted cauliflower.

the scene

Quick service means many regulars stop in for take-away on their way home from work. Those who linger are a mix of young families at the communal table looking out on College Avenue and twenty-somethings perched at the marble counter “bar” with views of the pizza oven and open kitchen.

side dish

beans to spill
Charlene, a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, makes all the desserts and her Chez P posse runs deep. Alice herself has been known to drop in to say “hello” and offer ideas.



Mon–Tue 11 AM–8 PM; Wed–Sun 10 AM–8 PM

price range

$7.50 (egg salad sandwich) to $18 (braised short rib)
$1.50 (mini cupcakes) to $4.25 (specialty tarts)