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It all started with The Monterey Market
We who live near the Monterey Market consider ourselves extremely fortunate. This long respected produce market has become the centerpiece of a wonderful conglomeration of food shops. You can literally buy everything your culinary needs require right here. This enclave offers the best of a European neighborhood shopping experience mixed with the height of modern California food consciousness. This is the Gourmet Ghetto annex.
The three block stretch of North Shattuck Avenue between Rose and Virginia has been known as the Gourmet Ghetto ever since the Cheese Board Collective and Peet's Coffee opened in the late 60's with Alice Waters opening the Chez Panisse Restaurant a few years later. Even then the Monterey Market, only a few blocks away, at Monterey and Hopkins streets, was considered the best produce market in the East Bay. Even local restauranteurs shop at the Monterey Market.
When the Monterey Market moved across the street to a much bigger store with a parking lot, the area began to take off. A fish market and a bakery moved in. The abandoned gas station, which had sat empty for many years, became a delightful indoor-outdoor cafe. Then a poultry/butcher shop with deli arrived along with numerous other shops and restaurants.Now this one block area contains:
Monterey Market: fantastic selection of local and exotic fruits and vegetables along with a modest selection of grocery products and wine.
Espresso Roma: great coffee and simple meals; neighborhood residents bring their laptops, conduct informal business meetings, and look at all the mother's groups gathering before naptime.
Magnani Poultry and Meats: poultry, meat, sandwiches, and delicatessen.
Country Cheese and Coffee: cheese, coffee, tea, and much else.
Lily's Chinese Restaurant.
Monterey Fish Market.
Hopkins Street Bakery: breakfast pastry, wonderful breads, European cakes and tarts.
Monterey Wine and Liquor.
Berkeley Horticultural Nursery: One of the best nurseries in the East Bay.
Freshly Cut Flowers.
Berkeley Travel Company.
Besides this great shopping area, the Hopkins Street Park adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School contains a track, playground, public swimming pool and tennis courts. A well-stocked branch library housed in a lovely Julia Morgan building is just down the street. The BART is only a few blocks away and it's a short distance to Solano Avenue, North Shattuck Avenue and downtown Berkeley.