Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cheeseboard Pizza (Berkeley, CA) - 2/11

The Cheeseboard Collective is one of Berkeley's best kept secrets. Anyone who has lived in the East Bay of San Francisco can tell you what a diamond in the rough this store/restaurant is (even amongst the other gems of the North Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto). This store is more than a bakery, cheese shop, or pizza parlor... its a way of living and has a strong cult following. Even facebook has a group called "Cheeseboard. Need More Be Said?"

The Cheeseboard Collective is composed of two stores situated next to each other in the Gourmet Ghetto... a pizza shop that only makes one type of pizza day with live jazz music and the other a bakery/gourmet cheese shop. The Cheese Board collective was founded on November 6, 1967 by Elizabeth and Sahag Avedesian, and was created as a special business model where all workers own an equal part of the collective and have equal power and working for equal wages. To achieve this, upon joining each member is given ten shares worth $100/share. When a member leaves these shares are sold back to the corporation. All members are paid an equal hourly wage. Profits go to buy new equipment, raise wages, or are placed into our retirement fund. Moneys placed into this fund are distributed based on hours worked.

The cheese shop/bakery is amazing gem of its own with extremely helpful and knowledgeably staff. Its the only place you should go when you need to pick up some cheese for a dinner party, picnic in napa, or something to compliment a new favorite bottle of wine. And the scones are a personal favorite of mine (and compliment the coffee at the Peet's around the corner.)

When I first started going to the Cheeseboard in 2003, the pizza shop was a little hole in the wall with enough room to fit a counter, a long line out its door and down the street, and a small piano. If they ran out of pizza, they would just shut down early for the day. People would grab their pizza and sit on the median on Shattuck Ave. Ironically the only thing to change is that they expanded the space to fit in some picnic benches and full jazz quartet and Berkeley put a "No Trespassing on the Median Sign" up a couple years ago... which people like to lean up against while they slurp down these amazing pizzas.

Every day, the Cheeseboard release their pizza creation of the day at:

The wait in the line is not bad, despite the fact that there is ALWAYS a line. Today's pizza was roasted eggplant, onions, mozzerella, olive oil, spanish smoked paprika, Grana Padano, garlic, and parsley.... And they always give you complementary slices to go with it. The pizza is all about the bread. And it has been described by one local food critique as "It has to be a mixture of cheese, secret ingredients, and drugs??? I have no idea what they put in it but its magical..."

No comments: