By Robyn Johnson
After months of restoration, the corner space that used to be Ozzie’s Soda Fountain has finally opened this week to reveal an upscale French-style cafe. While many may lament the closure of Berkeley’s last soda shop in favor of a yet-another coffee joint, Elmwood Cafe does offer something quite unique. According to the little paper pamphlets available on the counter, the shop will donate half of its profits to charities. I’m really excited (and curious) how this business model will work out in the long run.
I was also charmed by the bright, cheery interior—the owner decided to keep as much of the original 1920s architectural details as possible, right down to the red stools that line the counter—and, of course, the food. With quite a few Cafe Fanny veterans at the helm, the conscientious menu reflects that establishment’s renown for the healthful, hearty, and organic. So be prepared for dishes like porridge, paninis, soups, salads, and stews.
I tried the cappuccino—good but nothing totally remarkable—and the cranberry coffee cake, the customer (and barista) favorite so far. It truly was tasty, with a delicate, crunchy top speckled with powdered sugar and a rich yellow cake that enveloped gobs of tangy cranberry.
The only foreseeable issue is the relatively high price (the cappuccino and coffee cake set me back about $7), but considering half your expenditure goes to charity, it might be a worthy treat.
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