When UC Berkeley junior Sydney Kend first arrived on campus as an out-of-state freshman, she remembers her coach and teammates insisting that she try the honey wheat bread, salads and sandwiches at Mezzo.
A few years later, Kend, who had worked at Mezzo in 2019, is one of several Berkeley residents awaiting Mezzo’s reopening June 15, following its closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everybody who visits Berkeley knows that you have to go to Mezzo, no matter how long you’re in town for,” Kend said. “It’s exciting to see that get revived.”
Since its opening in the 1980s, Mezzo has remained a prominent Berkeley destination, despite closing in 2011, when a building fire caused the business to close for six years, according to a previous article from The Daily Californian. Following its return in 2017, Mezzo closed its doors yet again as the pandemic saw restaurants across Berkeley shut down.
Mezzo’s announcement of its reopening aligns with California’s economic reopening June 15, during which most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted, according to the California Governor’s Office website.
“The re-opening process has been really exciting,” said Maryam Guandalini, Mezzo general manager, in an email. “We’ve spent the past year making lots of upgrades to the interior and outdoor space.”
Guandalini added that while the classic menu remains untouched, new drinks will be coming to both Mezzo and Raleigh’s, its sister restaurant.
Mezzo’s closures have not stopped customers from returning. Megan Covey, a city resident, said she was excited about the reopening of a “staple” Berkeley cafe.
Covey, now a mother, added that she had memories of going to Mezzo as a teenager at Berkeley High School in order to buy salads and bread. At the time, Mezzo had been formerly known as Cafe Intermezzo.
Kend echoed the sentiment and said she remembered going to Mezzo with her friends during finals and paying “$12 for a sandwich the size of your face and a side salad.”
Located at 2442 Telegraph Ave., Mezzo’s hours will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, according to Guandalini. Breakfast service will finish at 11 a.m. daily.
In light of the recent announcement, Kend said she had previously worried that the cafe wasn’t going to reopen at all. She noted that it was difficult for businesses to return from the pandemic and said it was “awesome” to see Mezzo survive.
“We know that this past year has been about staying apart from others, and we want Mezzo to be the place where people can come together again,” Guandalini said in the email.