A new café called Way Station Brew opened in Downtown Berkeley on Oct.15, replacing Lindgren’s Coffee & Cafe at 2120 Dwight Way.
After four years of business, Lindgren’s Coffee & Cafe was sold to Peter Snyderman, former owner of San Francisco’s The Elite Cafe and Alta Plaza, and Warren Spicer, who previously worked at San Francisco Bay Guardian, Metro Publishing and Playbill, according to a June press release. Spicer said he and Snyderman, who attended Lowell High School in San Francisco together, wanted to create a place that they themselves would want to be in “all the time.”
Way Station Brew, Spicer said, is still in its soft-opening period because some recipes are in the process of being developed, while others have already been changed since the opening.
Spicer, who was born and raised in Berkeley, said he drew his inspiration for the café from his travels to different parts of the world, including Turkey, France and Italy, as well as from his experiences growing up in his family’s café in San Francisco.
“Two business partners and a small café — nobody is going to get rich,” Spicer said. “It’s about making a living with the thing you want to do and cultivating that experience, and finding the people that appreciate that and want the same experience in their café lifestyle.”
Although Adeliz Araiza, a graduate student at Berkeley’s Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College, was a newcomer to Way Station Brew, she was familiar with Lindgren’s. Araiza noted the similarity between the two cafes, noting that, aside from the new art and seating, the interior design was ultimately unchanged.
Araiza added that, unlike Lindgren’s, Way Station Brew is open past 4 p.m., which she said makes it easier for her to purchase a coffee or pastry after her classes end in the evening.
Berkeley resident Rob Kieffer, who also used to frequent Lindgren’s, said he finds one of the best aspects of Way Station Brew to be the inclusion of wine and beer on the menu. The location, he said, is also ideal, as it is in close proximity to his home.
Kieffer said the café’s great selection of coffee, wine and beer, as well as its smaller menu, has made him a regular customer.
“A café that has a limited variety of good quality stuff will be essential to what I think a good café entails,” Kieffer said. “They don’t try to do too much. They keep it focused.”
Nearby local businesses also seem to have no issue with the opening of another cafe.
“The more, the better. That’s how I see it,” said Mohamed Aboghanem, chef and sole owner of Saha, a Middle-Eastern fusion restaurant on Shattuck Avenue. “I wish more businesses would open here, and I’m glad they slowly are.”