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Longtime Chez Panisse Employee and Former Part Owner Jerry Budrick Dies at 78

Jerry Budrick worked at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse in its infancy, before later becoming maitre d’ and opening his own restaurant

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
Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

Jerry Budrick — restaurateur, business owner, and opening waiter (and later maitre d’ and part owner) of Chez Panisse — died July 24 at age 78, after battling esophageal cancer, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Budrick was a well-known presence in the dining room of the Berkeley institution, the paper reports, with owner Alice Waters writing of the “notorious” waiter in her book “Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook.” She described him as a person who “exuded an air of sophistication, but he could also be very funny, making jokes with customers and the other waiters and the cooks.”

Budrick went on to become maitre d’, eventually becoming part owner of the restaurant when it formed a corporation, the Chronicle reports. He later left the restaurant after 16 years and opened a bottled water business in Amador County — eventually selling his shares back to Waters as the business faltered — before starting the restaurant Caffe Via D’Oro in Sutter Creek. Read his full obituary here.

The fight over Club Deluxe continues

Broke-Ass Stuart continues to track the impending closure of beloved Club Deluxe, with both owner Sarah Wilde and landlord Veritas Investments issuing conflicting statements over the news. In response to Wilde’s initial announcement of club’s closure, Veritas issued a statement to the San Francisco Standard, stating the company attempted to work with Wilde since March of 2021, offering to reduce rent by $2,000 and forgive $200,000 in back rent (the company also provided documents to the Standard, which stated it was “not able to independently determine the fairness of the offer”). The company went on to say it has “not initiated eviction” and that the new lease would have allowed the club to stay in its home through 2027. Wilde, however, rejected these claims to the Standard, calling it “a false representation of the situation on multiple levels.”

In the days since the closure announcement, the club has garnered support from many musicians and locals, including District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, who wrote in an August 4 tweet, “I’m in discussions with both the owner & the landlord to encourage lease negotiations that had broken down to resume. Hoping to find a path forward for this beloved venue.”

Klondike continues to play with everyone’s nostalgic feelings about the Choco Taco

After the Internet learned in late July that Klondike planned to discontinue childhood favorite dessert the Choco Taco, there was such an outpouring of love for the dessert that it only seemed natural the company would do an about-face of sorts on the product. CNN reports parent company Klondike said in a statement the company may “reconsider our long-term plans” about the ice cream product. “The team is working on a plan to bring it back, though it may take some time,” the company said in a statement. The company added, however, that “there are currently no definite timelines for bringing the Choco Taco back.” We’re not entirely sure what that means, so you might as well frequent Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos in Santa Clara, or any of these other ice cream taco purveyors until Klondike makes up its mind.

Oakland cider spot needs to rebuild its parklet (again)

Crooked City Cider in Oakland shared the sad news Sunday that its parklet was destroyed yet again — this time by what appears to be a car that drove into the structure. The exterior wall and a picnic bench were destroyed in the crash, with the owner calling the loss “devastating” in an Instagram post. This is the second time the business has had to rebuild its parklet; last year, the structure was vandalized and needed reconstruction. The owners have set up a GoFundMe seeking $5,000 to bring back the parklet — hopefully for the last time.