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Famous CA Restaurant Chez Panisse Reopens to Protests Over Eviction of Business Next Door

Plus skyrocketing gas prices hit delivery drivers hard and more food news

The exterior of Chez Panisse is seen along Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, Calif. Tuesday, September 17, 2019. Photo By Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

As reported by a handful of Bay Area news outlets, Alice Water’s famed Berkeley restaurant reopened for indoor dining on Tuesday after two long years of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the long-awaited return of what’s arguably one of the Bay Area’s most famous restaurants was somewhat spoiled by the presence of protesters, who showed up to demand the restaurant save César, a bar and restaurant located next door to Chez Panisse, from eviction. A San Francisco Chronicle report estimates the crowd consisted of about 35 people, who held signs reading “shame on Chez,” “community over profit” and “don’t destroy local business!”

Berkeleyside was the first to break the news about the growing drama between the neighboring businesses in January, reporting that the Chez Panisse planned to evict César, a tapas restaurant which has been open in its location at 1515 Shattuck for 24 years; Chez Panisse planned to use the space to open a new bar. But César’s fans have been pushing back on the expansion plans, even starting a petition that’s garnered some three thousand signatures to date. [Berkeleyside/Chronicle/SFGATE]

DoorDash worker says gas prices make delivery work unsustainable

A former math teacher turned gig worker tells ABC7 that skyrocketing gas prices due to the ongoing war in Ukraine are making his work as a DoorDash driver financially unfeasible. “Now with the additional high gas prices, the impacts of COVID-19 with the low amount of income that is coming in, and proposition 22, I have been hearing stories of workers looking at options,” Cherri Murphy of Gig Workers Rising told the news station. [ABC7]

Workers at Bay Area McDonald’s allege wage theft

Protesters also gathered outside a McDonald’s location in Saratoga on Tuesday to protest alleged wage theft by the burger giant. The Mercury News reports two employees, Seberiana Reymundo and Maria Garcia, filed complaints with the San Jose Labor Commission alleging they were not paid sick leave. Reymundo, who’s a breast cancer survivor and was recently diagnosed with liver cancer, also alleges she was “discriminated against and called ‘useless’ by management.” [Mercury News]

Say hello to California’s newest AVA

San Luis Obispo, or “SLO” as virtually anyone who knows where it is calls it, has officially become an official American Viticulture Area, the Chronicle reports. The designation comes down from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and means wines produced in the region can be labeled “SLO Coast” or “San Luis Obispo Coast.” [Chronicle]