Turning left from busy Telegraph Avenue onto Haste Street, a glass door opens appealingly to a brand-new restaurant in between two student residential buildings, Enclave Apartments and Maximino Martinez Commons.
“Welcome to Sourdough,” said a woman in a red shirt, greeting customers as they entered the store, surrounded by half gray plain and half dark brown wood-board wallpaper. She is Karen Kaur, the co-owner of Sourdough & Co. in Berkeley, which opened April 23.
Sourdough & Co. is a restaurant chain in California, specializing in sandwiches with house-made sourdough and fresh meat. The store in Berkeley is the 47th location of the corporation, according to Kaur.
The sourdough is made in San Francisco, where the moisture and salinity are just right for sourdough, Kaur said. She added that the meat is also cut in-house, keeping freshness.
“We spray water onto sourdough and put them into the oven for three minutes,” said Tomaso Vigo, a campus freshman and one of the three student employees among ten part-time staff at the restaurant.
The most popular dishes are the three specialty sandwiches, including fresh dip, smoked brisket and caprese, Vigo said. Pastrami and turkey and Italian sandwiches are also well-liked, he noted.
Apart from sandwiches, potato soup and clam chowder are also among the top choices, according to Kaur. Vegan sandwiches are available as well.
“We always wanted to get into the food industry and we feel right for Sourdough because of its natural ingredients,” said Kaur. “We are very excited about our first-ever restaurant.”
Kaur and her husband, Manni Singh, said their restaurant in Berkeley is the first of three. They are waiting to be assigned to two more locations, hopefully also in the Bay Area, Singh said.
Similar to other restaurants, they encountered setbacks during the pandemics, Kaur said. Due to the shortage of construction contractors, laborers and supplies, the opening of the store was delayed one and a half years and the construction ended up taking three more months than the expected three months to complete.
After six months of construction, the original plain concrete has flourished and turned into a medium-sized store with a brand new kitchen and a counter with a cashier. Photos of their signature sandwiches hang on the wall alongside the American flag.
While seats are limited, with only four wooden sets of four-person tables on the left and two sets of two-person high tables on the right, Kaur said that about 100 to 125 customers come in every day, dining in and getting take-out.
Snackpass and DoorDash would also be available this week, according to Kaur.
“This is very delicious,” two customers said to Singh as they left the store.
Some residents noted that they had not yet visited Sourdough & Co., citing the cost of the food as an issue. However, one resident, Emilia Dyrenkora said it is good to have more traffic on Haste Street.