Elmwood Café, a casual-chic eatery and coffee shop, fits in beautifully with College Avenue’s bustling shopping strip. Nestled into the space once occupied by beloved Berkeley institution Ozzie’s Soda Fountain, the spot’s been given an airy facelift—think classic French bistro meets 1920s American soda counter.
Bay Area food-lovers fawn over the café’s locally-sourced produce and the ingredients from Straus Family Creamery and Acme Bread. All baked goods are created fresh daily and Elmwood Cafe’s menu changes just as often to keep up with seasonal trends and assure freshness. The Elmwood folks even make their own jams, chutneys, and fruit syrups. The most innovative feature of the café is its philanthropic business angle—fifty percent of the profits will be donated to local charities of the café customers’ choice!
The main attraction at Elmwood is breakfast, which offers the most selection and has something for everyone. Try the toast with honey and prosciutto if you’re craving sweet and savory. Or, for the health nut, there’s organic house-made muesli or granola, which can be served with or without Straus yogurt and fruit. Be sure to find out what the egg specials are—we can only guarantee it will be fresh and filling! The cranberry coffee cake has already developed a cult following, so be sure to order a piece (it’s huge!) for the whole family to share while waiting for your order. If you’re planning a visit for another time, the café offers yummy paninis, soups, and salads. There’s a new beer and wine menu, an awesome selection of coffees and teas, and an impressive dessert spread that includes such yumminess as truffle brownies and fleur-de-sel shortbread.
You’ll see original woodwork at Elmwood Cafe, and decorative windows that let you peep into the neighboring bookstore Mrs. Dalloway’s. The owners of the cafe tried to keep as much of the building’s original details as possible, maintaining a classic atmosphere that enhances the eating experience. They even pay tribute to the original Ozzie by offering a seasonal fruit soda made in-house, like artisanal pear. The neighborhood, café, and food are very family-friendly–highchairs are available in the dining room upon request–so load ’em up and head out for a tasty treat!
—Sarah K. Choi