New granola bowl bar Cafe Fanny Granola sets sights on University Avenue

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Debbie Yuen/Staff

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Cafe Fanny Granola and CC Made, a new granola bowl bar and bakery, will be opening at 1398 University Ave.

Cassandra Chen, the owner and CEO, is aiming for a November opening and said the granola bowl bar is something she has wanted to do since acquiring Cafe Fanny’s granola line in 2012 from Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse. CC Made was Chen’s first business, opened in 2011, which sold caramel products such as brittle and caramel corn.

Chen said her business will be more focused on granola products than the old Cafe Fanny, which was first co-opened by Waters in 1984 and closed in 2012.

With only a kitchen space located on Fifth Street, Chen originally sold her products through grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Safeway mostly in northern California. The building had an electrical fire in August that caused a “tremendous amount of damage,” Chen said, but coincided with the vacancy at University Avenue.

According to Chen, the store will be selling CC Made products such as the caramels and caramel corn in addition to granola. Chen added that she would also like to sell frozen yogurt.

Chen called her new location a “great retail place,” citing the ovens that came with the space from its previous use as a bakery. The type of customers Chen wants to aim for are people on their way to and from the campus. Her hope, Chen said, is for the business to be a good place for grab-and-go meals.

A lot of people who live around or travel through University Avenue do not have many options for quick food to-go, according to Chen. Chen called University Avenue one of the busiest corridors in Berkeley and a great place to showcase what she produces.

“It’s delicious, and it’s a good option to grabbing a pastry,” Chen said. “If I just had a place I could grab a yogurt … it would make life so much simpler.”

Nicholas Ledger, an assistant manager at Ledger’s Liquor located across the street from Cafe Fanny, said his business has been operating out of the area since 1940. The area does not receive as much foot traffic as Downtown Berkeley, and business tends to pick up only on the weekends, Ledger said.

According to Chen, the most rewarding part of running her business has been seeing others get excited about what she makes. Chen recalled a time a customer sent an email saying that her brother had just gotten surgery and could only eat soft foods and that Chen’s caramel sauce brightened his day.

“Food can bring joy to so many people,” Chen said. “We get to do that every day.”

Contact Ella Colbert at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @colbert_ella.

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