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Local Café Strives to Be Just That

A Piedmonter gathers local folk and local food to create a new eatery on Piedmont Avenue.

Megan Burke wanted a place where she could have a good meal, enjoy a glass of wine, feed her kids some healthy food, and walk home with change in her pocket.

When the six-year Piedmont resident couldn’t find it, Burke did what she’s been doing since the age of four, when her father taught her to cook: she made it herself.

With the expertise of the friends, family within her local, power-packed circle, Burke will open the new Local Café at 4395 Piedmont
Ave on Aug. 23. She said the café’s debut will resemble a family reunion more than a restaurant opening.

“Everyone in here is going to know each other,” she said. “My nanny, the man who delivers the produce, people’s daughters working the counter, the six local moms who were all working at home that I hired to do publicity and other jobs—everyone is connected."

Burke has brought in everyone from the foodie experts she knows to her 10-year old daughter Natalie Nordenfelt whose large, expressive paintings grace the café walls. She even shares a babysitter with the wine supplier.

“I met her on Craigslist years ago," said Burke of Tracey Brandt, who runs the successful Donkey and Goat Winery in Berkeley with her husband Jared. "I called her and said, ‘Do you want to be a part of this?”

Chef Colin Etezadi, who used to be the chef for , was picked for his connection to local vendors. He will control the menu, train and supervise the kitchen, and shop the Montclair and Oakland farmer’s markets for fresh, organic produce.

David Crombie, an Oakland resident and Burke’s fellow proprietor, is already well-known to Piedmonters from his stint as the original general manager at , where he also showed his willingness to walk a dog, drive someone’s elderly parents to the airport, or step in as a handyman. Burke says Crombie’s upbeat attitude and management approach fit right in with her good neighbor philosophies.

“We want a place that people can walk to from their homes. The people who frequent this café are going to be kids from Piedmont High, mothers who do small things for the café, families. It’s about creating something for the community."

The Local Café will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. serving breakfast and lunch, adding Thursday through Saturday dinner hours in late September after Etezadi’s staff is “on their feet and tight,” according to Burke.

Perched above the action on a daily basis, Burke plans to continue to phone her father for advice while working hard to make the new kid on the block a Piedmont institution. You can phone the café at 510-922-8249.

Elizabeth Gaston August 17, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Great location! Is this where McMullen's used to be on upper Piedmont? Best wishes for a grand opening!!
Amy Jeffries August 17, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Yes, the café has gone in where McMullen used to be, at 4395 Piedmont Ave. The café's phone number is 510-922-8249. Those details have been added to the article.
Maureen Burke August 18, 2011 at 08:33 PM
You go Megan and David. We are really excited and can't wait to try it out. See you soon and it looks beauitful. ILY.
John December 05, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Such a cute place, such a nice food and such an unfriendly service... what a shame! Do something or you'll loose the croud.

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