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Chez Panisse Vegan Drama, 2pac Pop-Up Restaurant, More A.M. Intel

Six vital pieces of information

Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur

Chez Panisse gets caught up in animal rights protest drama

The same animal rights group that protested Eat Drink SF in August has now targeted Chez Panisse. On Friday night around 8:30 p.m., a handful of Direct Action Everywhere members entered Chez Panisse, handing out flowers to diners and lecturing about animal torture. In a press release, the group alleges that Chez Panisse’s manager then pinned one member to a table and “taunted him in his ear, while a store employee knocked one activist to the ground and hit one activist in the face with her camera.” Police were summoned, and according to Berkeley Police Lt. Alyson Hart, via Berkeleyside, “Chez Panisse management just wanted them removed and admonished to not return.”

Update, 2:55 p.m.: Chez Pannise returned Eater SF’s for comment, writing in an email, “For 45 years Chez Panisse has been committed to clean, fair, and just food systems. We support farmers, fisheries, and ranches that practice the humane and healthy raising of food. We also recognize that there are many ideas about food and that everyone has a right to express their opinion. The difficulty at our restaurant on Friday night arose when 10-12 individuals came into the dining room shouting and filming with their phones and antagonizing the guests and staff. For about 15 minutes the staff asked the group to take their protest outside to no avail. They eventually called the Berkeley Police to help resolve the situation because some guests had become upset as well. Chez Panisse declined to press charges.”

2pac pop-up marks 20th anniversary of his death

A Fresno restaurant is honoring the 20th anniversary of rapper Tupac Shakur’s death with a pop-up restaurant on Tuesday, September 13. Powamekka Cafe in Fulton Mall will feature items such as a mac-and-cheese burger and “Thug Passion” fruit cake pops.

Thomas Keller speaks out on Per Se review

The French Laundry chef Thomas Keller has commented on Per Se’s two-star demotion in the New York Times, telling Town & Country, “It was devastating.” Read his full thoughts on the situation here.

Two Bay Area restaurants get credited as highly influential

Chez Panisse Chez Panisse

Yale history professor Paul Freedman has written a new book called Ten Restaurants That Changed America, and our very own Chez Panisse, for spreading local, seasonal gospel across the country, and Cecilia Chang’s The Mandarin, for broadening American knowledge of Mandarin cuisine, are included, SFist noticed. The other restaurants are Sylvia’s, Mamma Leone’s, Delmonico's, Le Pavillon, Antoine’s, Howard Johnson’s, Schrafft’s, and The Four Seasons. Benu also gets special mention for its “beauty and perfection.”

Yet another wine fraudster arrested

A Mayacamas and screaming Eagle wine investor was arrested Friday for allegedly defrauding retired basketball player Tim Duncan, SF Gate reports. Charles Augustus Banks IV is accused of two counts of wire fraud over a $7.5 million investment Duncan made with a sports merchandising company, per Banks’ advice. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also sued Banks for securities fraud. Banks is out on $1 million bail.

Cha Cha Cha gets a new owner, as Melt’s founder leaves the company

Two owner shuffles in SF restaurants, SF Gate reports: Melt’s founder and CEO Jonathan Kaplan has left the company, as well as Cha Cha Cha’s owners Philip Bellber and Leon Pak. Kaplan, who created the Flip camcorder, started Melt with the help of Silicon Valley money, and he leaves it in the hands of Ralph Bower, former head of Pei Wei, P.F. Chang’s fast-casual brand. The idea is to get a more restaurant-experienced person at the helm. As for Cha Cha Cha, Irfan Yalcin — who also owns wine bar L’Emigrante — is now running the show, but doesn’t plan to change much.