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This Sunny East Bay Brunch Favorite Is Adding a California-Palestinian Dinner Menu

Lulu chef Mona Leena Michael is stepping out for maternity leave but has plans to add dinner — and move the restaurant into a larger space

A mezze platter from Lulu Berkeley with a mix of house-baked breads, dips, spreads, and shareable items including Za’atar Fried Eggs, Fried Halloumi, Labneh, Baba Ganoush, Shakshuka, Za’atar Mana’eesh, seasonal fruit, and more. Lulu Berkeley
Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

Chef Mona Leena Michael’s restaurant Lulu Berkeley opened in 2021, after making the leap from pop-up to permanent restaurant, and quickly earned a devoted following for her impressive mezze brunch and California-inspired Palestinian food. Now, the restaurant is making some big moves for 2023 as Michael prepares to go on maternity leave. In Instagram, the restaurant dropped word that, along with closing the restaurant on Tuesdays effective immediately, the restaurant will soon add on two nights of dinner service on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

A lamb soup dumpling from Laylat Lulu, Lulu Berkeley’s dinner pop-up
Shish barak soup dumpling from Laylat Lulu
Dianne de Guzman

The chef has dabbled with dinner in the past, serving dishes such as a shish barak lamb soup dumpling and arak-miso-glazed black cod. In December 2022, Michael held a dinner pop-up dubbed Laylat Lulu, or “Lulu at night,” and held another supper as recently as this past Valentine’s Day. Now the dinners will become part of Lulu’s regular service. It’s not yet clear when dinner service will start, and while a menu hasn’t been released, the team promises “a new menu that is both unique and accessible, with a focus on seasonal ingredients,” per a press release. Also in the works are expanded low-ABV offerings, as an expansion of the restaurant’s beer and wine menu.

As if the addition of dinner wasn’t already big enough news, there’s another surprise in the mix: The Lulu Berkeley team shares they are also preparing to “move to a larger nearby location by the end of the year.” While the new location is also yet to be disclosed, Michael says the new space will be able to accommodate larger parties than their current location, which has a cozy dining room space and an outdoor patio.

In the meantime, chef Peter Girgis will be taking on kitchen duties for Lulu while Michael is on maternity leave and preparing for the move. It’s a lot of changes for the nearly two-year-old restaurant (and for Michael), but necessary ones, as Lulu grows in popularity. “We know that our customers are looking for more dining options, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide that,” the press release continues. “We can’t wait to reveal our new space and dinner menu to our customers soon.”