Save César Berkeley
Save César Berkeley
Save César Petition Statement
César’s lease is not being renewed and as it stands now, they will be expected to leave the space they have occupied for almost 24 years as of July 31st of this year. Owners of the lease, next door neighbor Chez Panisse, have said that they prefer to use the space for their own purposes. While many are glad to see Chez Panisse expand, we urge them not to take over a space that is already a beloved institution in the community.
The transformation of the little dry cleaners at 1515 Shattuck Avenue into a modern American interpretation of a Spanish tapas bar began during the rainy, El Niño-besieged days of January 1998. The doors opened May 5th of that year, and except for the brief mandated lockdown in 2020, they have remained opened ever since, welcoming a broad, eclectic group of regular diners and drinkers, many of whom consider César their second home.
Chez’s decision comes as the restaurant industry in general has struggled through the pandemic, with many cherished Berkeley establishments forced to close permanently. César has dutifully paid rent, retained an unheard-of percentage of long tenured employees, and stayed open to the community for the majority of the lockdown. They offer benefits and profit sharing to their employees, and at a time when many restaurants are still struggling, César’s business has only grown as people have become more comfortable returning to their favorite dining spots.
If you object to the forced closure of a successful restaurant with over 23 years of serving the community, we ask that you support the renewal of César’s lease and urge Chez Panisse to reconsider their decision.
“The success of bar César has been due to the hard work and collaboration of highly skilled team of bartenders, cooks, waiters, and bussers who toil nightly to keep the chaos looking like a well-choreographed dance. To the entire staff of César, past and present, a big thank you…and a huge thanks to the people of Berkeley who have embraced César and who keep coming back, again and again and again…”
(from César: Recipes from a Tapas Bar)