Berkeley’s Gather restaurant reopens today with new COVID-era concept

Like so many fine dining restaurants, Gather, the iconic farm-to-table restaurant in Berkeley, was forced to close when the coronavirus pandemic hit. But in its 10-year run, the restaurant had a reputation as the go-to spot for celebrating birthdays or enjoying a luxurious pre-theater meal — all while appealing to omnivores and vegetarians alike.

It still will, but everything else about the new Gather, which opens today at noon, is different. Owner Eric Fenster has unveiled an evolved concept that he hopes will resonate with everyone, not just those who can afford a spendy night out.

“Our focus these past several months has been essentializing Gather,” Fenster says. “How does it go from being perceived as a special occasion restaurant to more of an everyday kind of place?”

The new Gather Kitchen, Bar & Market is a comprehensive, fine-casual eatery for our times: It offers contactless ordering, a grab-and-go market brimming with produce and prepared meals and outdoor seating for up to 75 people.

Gather Kitchen, Bar & Market reopens after six months with offerings like Charred Corn and Arugula Pizza. (Gather) 

Starting today, you can also find Gather on major delivery platforms, including Mercato, the grocery delivery site.

In addition to lower prices and a new menu focused on what Fenster calls “hyper-local, farm-focused healthy comfort food,” starting next week, look for one-for-one Gather Give Back Boxes on a sliding scale ($45-$65). They’ll be filled with things like produce, meats or prepared foods.

“We’ll donate one for every box purchased,” he says. “We want healthier food and food from regenerative farms to be more accessible to everyone.” Each box will include information on partner farms and a little culinary surprise from the kitchen.

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At the helm of the new Gather kitchen is executive chef Jessica Whiteman, who most recently worked at Bluestem Brasserie in San Francisco and Bridges Restaurant & Bar in Danville. Her revamped menu takes Gather’s most popular dishes and expands upon them.

Instead of just one burger — that epic Marin Sun Farms burger with Grazier’s sharp white cheddar — there will be three ($13-$14), including a new vegetarian Falafel Burger with sesame-vegetable slaw. Pizzas ($16-$18) will include classic and seasonal favorites and, for the first time, gluten-free crust as an option.

In its 10-year run, Berkeley’s Gather never had a veggie burger. But Gather Kitchen, Bar & Market does: The Falafel Burger with almonds and sesame-veggie slaw. (Gather) 

You can also build-your-own

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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