Mise en Place Kitchen opens in Downtown Berkeley

Mise en Place
Maya Valluru/Staff
Mise en Place is taking a number of steps to keep customers safe, including only offering outdoor dining, with customers seated at a spacious outdoor patio with tables arranged six feet apart.

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From international twists on California cuisine to a “cake of the day” baked fresh each morning, Mise en Place Kitchen, a Berkeley cafe opened in August, offers a variety of sweet and savory fare.

Located in Downtown Berkeley on the premises of the former Maison Bleue, the cafe still sells some of its predecessor’s French standards, such as omelets fried on Maison Bleue’s professional griddles, according to a feature written by the owners for Instagram account @YelpEastBay. The menu is also flavored with Brazilian influences, in keeping with chef and co-owner Theully Calderwood’s heritage, such as the popular cheese bread waffle, inspired by the Brazilian pão de queijo. 

“I think one thing that makes us unique is that we offer elements of fine dining and ‘fancy’ food like molecular gastronomy, in a casual, affordable, neighborhood café,” co-owner Rob Calderwood said in an email.

Mise en Place is the passion project of Theully Calderwood, who switched her vocation from law to cuisine after moving to California from her native country of Brazil, according to the @YelpEastBay feature. After a nine-year catering career that spanned company events, celebrity weddings and even the Oscars, the Calderwoods began looking for spaces in 2020 to fulfill her dream of opening her own eatery.

While the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic complicated their plans, with sales starting out predictably slow, they found increased opportunities for publicity by having opened at a time when many restaurants were closing, Rob Calderwood said.

“When we visited, the space just felt right,“ Calderwood said in the email. “We had already agreed on the purchase of the business prior to a lockdown in California. Although we could have probably pulled out of the deal when Covid-19 became a pandemic, we just decided to keep moving forward with the process, hopeful that the situation would get better.”

Mise en Place is taking a number of steps to keep customers safe, including only offering outdoor dining despite Berkeley’s recent allowance of some indoor dining, with customers seated at a spacious outdoor patio with tables arranged six feet apart. Only one customer is allowed in the cafe at a time, the staff wears masks and high-contact surfaces are routinely cleaned, according to Rob Calderwood.

Mise en Place Kitchen is open every day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and also offers online ordering for contactless delivery or curbside pickup.

“I was impressed with Mise en Place’s service and decor, and how they’re handling running a restaurant during COVID times,” said Lizzie Siegle, who stopped for brunch at the restaurant while on a road trip with friends, in an email. “(We) appreciated their smiles and openness to make everyone feel safe and welcome during a time of uncertainty.”

Contact Annika Rao at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @annikyr.

Clarification(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Mise en Place Kitchen offers crepes. In fact, it no longer offers crepes on the current iteration of its menu.