After over a year of waiting, vegans of Berkeley can finally rejoice. The Butcher's Son is open. Sort of.
"We're definitely not completely ready to open," said co-owner Peter Fikaris. But who needs things like menus or full deli cases? The hungry people in line so far don't seem to mind eating whatever Fikaris happens to be making.
The vegan deli, run by Fikaris and his sister, Christina Stobing, was originally supposed to open on Solano Avenue, but disagreements with the landlords put a nix on those plans. On Jan. 1, the duo got the keys to their current space, on University Avenue, in the same building as Bonita Fish Market, and set an opening date: Feb. 22. Then it was a "mad rush," said Fikaris, to be ready in time.
There isn't a menu yet, literally. When you get to the counter at the front of the line, the cashier tells you what is currently available. That doesn't take long, though, since there were only three sandwiches being made at lunchtime yesterday. Those sandwiches were also constantly changing, as they ran out of items.
The plan, said Stobing, is to have the full menu rolled out in the next three weeks, after they see how the first few days go. There will be bagels in the morning from Baron Baking, croissants from a local French pastry maker, and Monday morning there was even cheesecake from well.fed. Bakery. Midday will see at least five (and possibly ten) sandwiches on the menu, with bread from Panorama Baking and everything else made in-house. Sandwiches will all be around $10.95 and will include a build-your-own option and a burger. There will also be cannolis—a few of which made their way to eager hands on Monday morning—and some salads. And, ultimately, the deli case, which was rather sparse on opening day, will be full of meats and cheeses that can also be ordered and shipped out of town. But not yet.
It should go without saying that the "meat" and "cheese" for sale in that deli counter aren't really meat or cheese. But what has kept fans anxiously waiting for the deli's opening is that the food is fairly unique tasting in the world of vegan food.