Red Door Eats brings inventive sandwiches to Downtown Berkeley

Kristen Tamsil/Staff

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Red Door Eats, a new sandwich shop in Downtown Berkeley, opened its appropriately named red doors to customers Jan. 27.

Located on 2282 Fulton St., Red Door Eats sits right across the street from UC Berkeley. Owner Anthony Grimes took the opportunity to open his first restaurant here because of its close proximity to campus.

Originally from Oakland and Berkeley, Grimes prides himself on using ingredients one wouldn’t normally expect in a sandwich, including curry and raisins. The restaurant has playful names for its sandwiches, including “Steph’s Chicken,” a sandwich made with curry sauce that pays homage to Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry. The wall of the restaurant says “Unlock the Flavor,” in reference to the shop’s motto.

Grimes is no stranger to the restaurant business, having “always been around restaurants.” His parents have owned multiple restaurants, including pizzerias and ice cream parlors. He said he chose sandwiches because he is a sandwich fanatic.

“I ate nothing but sandwiches for a week, three times,” Grimes said.

Grimes, who harbors a serious passion for sandwiches, said he recommends the Urban Cowboy, a sandwich made with pulled pork, as well as the Crunchy Bird, which comes with turkey, bacon and chips in the sandwich. The best seller so far, however, has been the Cal Club sandwich, which comes with turkey, ham, bacon and avocado.

With a policy of zero waste — all packaging and utensils used by the restaurant are compostable or recyclable — Red Door Eats works to be environmentally friendly. Most of the restaurant’s meats and other ingredients are sourced locally, including its bread, some of which Grimes said he gets from local Semifreddi’s Bakery.

Grimes said that the restaurant uses all-natural meats and cookies with all-natural butter. In addition, the drinks at Red Door Eats contain only cane sugar and are packaged in either glass bottles or cardboard containers.

“It’s all-natural — we don’t cut corners,” Grimes said.

He added that his restaurant isn’t aimed at any particular demographic — rather, “it’s for anyone who likes a sandwich.”

Neighboring business Razan’s Organic Kitchen, which is just around the corner from Red Door Eats, has been in business since 1997, according to the restaurant’s website. Owner Shihadeh Kitami said he has seen restaurants open and close in the area, adding that opening a restaurant in the area is “tough.”

Suren Shrestha, owner of Organic Greens, a restaurant located right down the street from Red Door Eats, said he is optimistic about the new neighbor. Though Shrestha said he feels that people prefer to frequent streets such as Shattuck and Telegraph Avenues, he added that he wants more people to come to the area that his restaurant and Red Door Eats share.

“The more people that come, the more people will come here too,” Shrestha said.

Contact Brennan Havens and Leon Chen at [email protected].