Health-food eatery Tender Greens to come to Berkeley in fall

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Jennifer Tanji/Staff

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Tender Greens, a casual health-food restaurant chain known for its robust salads, is set to open its fourth Bay Area location on University Avenue this fall.

According to Tender Greens’ website, the restaurant serves fresh food with “farmer’s market sensible dishes” at an affordable price.

“Berkeley’s Chez Panisse has been a huge source of inspiration for Tender Greens from the time our founders were getting started,” said Sean Eastwood, head chef of the Walnut Creek branch, in a statement in an email from spokesperson Jessica Abercrombie. “We couldn’t be more excited to be joining a local community that’s such a perfect match for Tender Greens.”

Tender Greens will open in Berkeley at 2071 University Ave. Tender Greens hopes to offer students and local community members a great value for high-quality, sustainable cuisine that tastes great, according to Abercrombie.

John Caner, CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association, said there is currently no other restaurant in the area that focuses its menu on salads. The DBA, Caner said, welcomes more restaurants with vegetarian and vegan options.

“We want to encourage healthy living and the diversity of different types of menus in the Downtown,” Caner said.

Caner also said the opening of Tender Greens is part of a larger revitalization process underway on University Avenue. In 2009, Trader Joe’s opened at 1885 University Ave., and in March, the UC Theatre is slated to have its first show.

Billy Parlay, owner of the Sandwich Spot on Shattuck Avenue, said he expects that the new restaurant will generate more competition for business in the area.

“We’re all fighting for the same people for lunch rush,Parlay said.

Tender Greens will offer midrange-priced items including large salads, soups and primarily meat-based main dishes  ideal for students looking for quick and easy access to a healthy meal. Tender Greens already has several branches operating throughout California, including popular locations in Santa Monica and La Jolla.

According to Abercrombie, Tender Greens is set to open a branch in Palo Alto, California, later this year and is looking to expand to New York City.

Multiple students on campus said accessibility and cost are major barriers to consistent healthy eating. Maddie McKee, campus freshman and Cal Climbing and intramural soccer member, noted the need for healthier dining options near campus.

“From a freshman’s perspective, it can be difficult to be healthy — or at least more expensive,” McKee said. “There isn’t a wide variety of healthy food around campus.”

Similarly, campus freshman Ashton Fandel said that after coming to Berkeley, she was surprised by the lack of options for simple and fresh cuisine.

“I think that the option of a salad shop will make a more wholesome, plant-based diet more accessible to the community,” Fandel said.

Contact Anjali Banerjee and Anna Dell’Amico at [email protected].