The Organic Coup, Super Duper Burgers aim to bring fast food with quality ingredients to Berkeley

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Two new restaurants that intend to deliver fast food made with quality ingredients — The Organic Coup and Super Duper Burgers — are set to join the Berkeley food scene.

As first reported by Berkeleyside, chicken restaurant The Organic Coup, the first USDA-certified organic fast food restaurant in America, is scheduled to open a store at 2309 Telegraph Ave. in late December, and Super Duper Burgers will be moving to Smart Alec’s Intelligent Food’s former location at 2355 Telegraph Ave. Additionally, an In-N-Out Burger, set to open in Emeryville, will become the chain’s closest location to campus.

“We’re very excited to be in Berkeley, because we’re very excited to be with like-minded people … who care about eating organic food, free of chemicals,” said The Organic Coup founder Erica Welton.

Welton said Berkeley’s restaurant scene aligns well with the ideals of The Organic Coup, noting that past clean-food movements have been driven by restaurants in Berkeley, such as Chez Panisse.

“I’m very excited,” said campus doctoral candidate Sami Malek, who said he prefers to buy USDA-certified food. “I still have one year (left in Berkeley), but I hope they come before that.”

Welton said she founded The Organic Coup with Costco’s Northern California regional general manager Dennis Hoover and was funded by Costco founder Jim Sinegal after she worked for 14 years as a food buyer for Costco.

The motivation behind the move, according to Welton, was her observation that customers have begun to demand more organic food. Welton added that the restaurant will pay Berkeley employees a starting salary of $15 per hour.

“We’re not only disrupting fast food on the quality of the food we serve but also with the pay of our employees,” Welton said.

According to its website, Super Duper Burgers, which also has several San Francisco locations, focuses on creating burgers with sustainable, local ingredients. In addition to classic hamburgers, it also offers veggie burgers and organic shakes. Super Duper Burgers could not be reached for comment.

Steve Sarver, owner of San Francisco Soup Company — a restaurant offering soups and salads on Bancroft Way — said he welcomes the two new eateries to the neighborhood for the “great concepts” they carry.

“Just as San Francisco Soup Company strives to be the highest quality in soups and salads using great quality ingredients, I think that’s what The Organic Coup and Super Duper Burgers do in their categories, … fried chicken and burgers,” Sarver said.

According to Sarver, the two new restaurants may pose an indirect competition to his business in that they both serve a fast lunch. He added, however, that San Francisco Soup Company differentiates itself by offering healthier food than the two new establishments.

Welton, on the other hand, said The Organic Coup stands out with its USDA certification.

“It wasn’t enough just to say organic. We want to live up to the standards of the USDA certification,” Welton said.

In addition, Emeryville assistant planner Navarre Oaks has confirmed the E’ville Eyes initial reports that an In-N-Out Burger has been proposed to operate at an existing Burger King location at 5701 Christie Ave. It will join other East Bay franchises of the chain, including ones in Alameda and Oakland.

Malek said the closer In-N-Out Burger would make him consider visiting Emeryville more frequently.

Contact Charlene Jin at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @CharleneJin0327.