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California-Palestinian Mezze Brunch Lands at This Warm New Berkeley Spot

Plus, Souvla’s sandwiches and salads are taking to the skies and more intel

A mezze brunch spread from Lulu
Lulu, the first restaurant from Bay Area chef Mona Leena opens Tuesday, August 17.
Carly Hackbarth/Lulu

Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.


  • Palestinian-American chef Mona Leena will debut her first restaurant Lulu, serving self-described “Palestinian-inspired, California cuisine,” on Tuesday, August 17, as first reported by the SF Chronicle. Located at 1019 Camelia Street in Berkeley’s Gilman District, the restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch, including a menu of sweet and savory pastries and Leena’s popular mana’eesh, which fans may know from her pop-up the Mana’eesh Lady. Lunch items will range from tabbouleh ceviche made with shrimp and white fish to a sumac chicken flatbread while weekends will bring mezze-style brunches comprised of an array of spreads, dips, and other shareable items. Lulu will be open Tuesday to Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Friday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. [SF Chronicle]
  • The leader of La Cocina — San Francisco’s influential non-profit food business incubator — will step down at the end of the year. La Cocina Executive Director Caleb Zigas, who has been with the organization for 16 years, announced plans for his departure in an open letter Wednesday. “La Cocina existed before me, and as I consider my transition out of this organization at the end of this year, I know with confidence that it will similarly thrive without me here,” Zigas writes in part. The news coincides with the launch of a search for his replacement. View the listing on the Koya Partners website.
  • Happy news for those who may still be mourning the loss of the historic Cliff House restaurant: KQED reports that some memorabilia saved through the efforts of a neighborhood group this spring will be on display to the public at the Cliff House soon. Those tuned in may remember a group of “community historians, gallerists, and art conservators” raised money to purchase some 60 pieces of Cliff House ephemera at auction in March. Now they tell KQED they’ve secured a permit to open a museum to display the items — everything from Sutro Baths bathing suits to a carved wooden grizzly bear — in the former Cliff House gift shop space from about September through April 2022. [KQED]
  • Tablehopper brings word of a new bar now open in West Portal. Called the Sherwood, the dark and moody drinking establishment takes over the former Portal Tavern space with a crystal chandelier, “custom walnut cabinetry,” and “built-in leather booth seating.” [Tablehopper]
  • Souvla’s spit-roasted meat sandwiches and salads have taken to the skies thanks to a partnership with Delta Airlines. Starting this month, passengers on cross-country flights from San Francisco International Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport may be able to opt for items including a Souvla breakfast pita, baked feta pasta, or meatballs with egg-lemon sauce.
  • Impossible Burger’s meat-free pork sausage is coming soon to Sprouts and Safeway stores in the Bay Area, per the SF Chronicle. Starting in mid-August you make see two flavors of the company’s ground breakfast sausage on shelves with products to be available at other retailers like Walmart come October. [SF Chronicle]

The Sherwood

179 W Portal Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 Visit Website

Lulu Berkeley

1019 Camelia St., Berkeley, CA 94401 Visit Website

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