‘A gem’: Hidden Cafe opens in West Berkeley

Aura Barrera/Staff

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Smooth music and the sounds of a chef working in the kitchen are the first things that can be heard when entering Hidden Cafe, which recently opened on the edge of Strawberry Creek Park, as first reported by Berkeleyside.

Celebrating its official opening this week, Hidden Cafe is one of 40 small businesses housed in the Strawberry Creek Design Center, a red brick building and historic landmark built in 1912. Andy Kellogg co-owns the café with his brother Luke Flaherty and head chef James O’Brien Makowski.

“We actually want to portray ourselves (as a) community gathering space and create more of a community-focused space rather than just providing coffee and pastries,” Kellogg said. “I care about how people feel when coming into the space and how we treat them during their stay.”

As an Albany resident and co-founder of Adelines Lab in South Berkeley, Kellogg said he has “deep roots” in Berkeley and is very excited to see the space become part of the Berkeley community. He added that the café space will host local musicians during the weekends as well as serve as an open event space for the community.

Kellogg said the trio decided to open the café near Strawberry Creek Park, because he knew the owner of the space. After speaking with the owner, they decided to settle Hidden Cafe in the location. He added that he was “lucky” to have the opportunity to open the café in such a “beautiful” location.

The café menu offers a wide variety of food and drink options that are locally bought from community farmers markets, and Kellogg said the menu will change seasonally. The café’s main dish, however, is its seasonal tacos — the Original, the Caprese and the Three Sisters — which makes use of ingredients that are not typically used for tacos, such as Italian sausage, mozzarella and roasted summer squash.

Kellogg added that the café’s name came from the owners’ desire to “stick” with the theme of isolation from city life, as it is “hidden” from many of Berkeley’s busier streets.

“(It’s) a secluded and a special place — like a gem that you come across while walking through the city,” Kellogg said.

Marianne Desassise, a Berkeley resident that lives “up the street” from the café, said she comes down to Strawberry Creek Park every day and just visited Hidden Cafe for the first time.

Desassise heard about the opening through the Poet’s Corner in Berkeley and said it was “really exciting” to hear that the café will be hosting poetry readings as well as a space for other community artists.

“It’s beautiful because it’s kept the integrity of the building as well as the integrity of the people,” Desassise said. “To know there’s a café here and to sit here in nature is very special, and it enhances Strawberry Park.”

Hidden Cafe is open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact Clara Rodas at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ClaraRodas10.