The smell of fried dough graced Berkeley residents as local dessert restaurant Endless Summer Sweets opened its doors for the first time Friday.
Antoinette Sanchez, the restaurant’s owner, has been selling funnel cakes and other carnival food at various street festivals and flea markets in the Bay Area since 2009. The longtime success and popularity of her fair food has prompted a new beginning — the opening of a permanent storefront at 2370 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.
Endless Summer Sweets offers a previously unavailable option to East Bay sweet-seekers, noted Sanchez.
“We’re offering something better than what’s out there,” Sanchez said. “Customers don’t have to wait for the county fair anymore.”
Teeming with various flavored funnel cakes, corn dogs and kettle corn, Sanchez hopes her menu will play off of customers’ childhood memories of the country fair. In the coming months she plans to feature new items on the menu, including an ice cream churro sandwich.
“Whatever they’re asking for, we’re going to make,” Sanchez said. “Everything is a work in progress.”
Sanchez takes great care to use local, seasonal ingredients. She understands that Berkeley is a city that values natural and high-quality food, and makes every effort to meet the needs of her customers.
“Everyone loves that fair food, but why not step it up a notch and do it fresh?” Sanchez said.
Customers are pleased with the high quality of the food, convenient downtown location and low prices.
Amanda Banks, a customer who works nearby, has already visited the shop four times since its opening Friday. She and her co-workers have been anticipating the opening for months.
Endless Summer Sweets replaces the space’s previous occupant, Amazing Crab, a Cajun-style eatery. Sanchez modeled her new restaurant after a archetypal 1950s malt shop, featuring bright pastel colors, a fun house mirror and Chuck Berry playing in the background.
Elroy Anderson, a local resident, is hopeful that the new venture will survive, given the previously high turnover of the space.
Endless Summer Sweets was crowded during its opening weekend, with customers excited about the carnival theme and festival food cuisine, according to Sam Winfre, an employee of the shop. The restaurant also drew the attention of more than 100 job applicants prior to its opening, added Sanchez.
Simone Arpaio, the co-owner and manager of Almare Gelato on Shattuck Avenue, is glad the new restaurant opened and remains unworried about potential future competition. Arpaio explained that he is not from the United States, and is therefore unfamiliar with American festival foods.
“I’ve never had a funnel cake, and am very curious about it,” Arpaio said.
Sanchez is happy to oblige.