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Berkeley’s Long-Running Meal Ticket Makes Way for Beloved BBQ Business

One longtime local business has sold to another

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Teresa T./Yelp

The proprietors of a Berkeley institution for homestyle breakfast and brunch, Meal Ticket, are trading in their more than 25-year-old business at 1235 San Pablo Ave (between Gilman and Harrison) for a well-earned retirement. But in closing, chef Jimmy Carter, who came from Scotland to the Bay Area to attend UC Berkeley, and partner Carolyn Del Gaudio Carter, who runs the front of house, have found a buyer for their restaurant that brings another longtime local eatery, KC’s BBQ, back to life.

Sadly for fans of its curry pork and scrambles, Meal Ticket’s last days are already behind it. The business is currently closed for a “spring cleaning” and won’t reopen, but future patrons of KC’s are encouraged to watch the incoming restaurant’s website for news.

KC’s BBQ opened for sweet, Kansas City-style barbecue and soul food in Berkeley in 1968 but was closed by fire at its 2613 San Pablo Avenue home more than a year ago. Patrick Davis, whose father founded the barbecue restaurant, has been searching for a new location ever since, and connected with the Carters as a longtime Meal Ticket patron.

At the new location of KC’s, Patrick Davis be joined by daughter Kristen Davis as a co-owner. She tells Eater SF to expect an opening sometime in May. They’ll add breakfast and “keep some of the Meal Ticket vibes on our menu.” Plus, in a first for KC’s, the business will have a beer and wine license.

A combo at KC’s
KC’s BBQ/Facebook

In their parting letter, the Carters of Meal Ticket conveyed gratitude to their loyal customers for over 25 years of business. Meal Ticket opened in 1990 in South Berkeley and moved to San Pablo Ave in 2001. The Meal Ticket proprietors also expressed their hope that, “in addition to dishing up some great old family style recipes,” KC’s BBQ would “continue to bring much needed character in our increasingly soulless world.”