A Chinese chicken salad from Tender Greens. Photo: Ellen Lu
A Chinese chicken salad from Tender Greens. Photo: Ellen Lu

Just like waiting for the proverbial bus, those who have been hungering for good salads in downtown Berkeley will be getting not one, but two healthy eateries at the same time, as we can report that Tender Greens is opening up at 2071 University Ave. (at Shattuck). This follows on the news we reported last year that Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain out of Washington, D.C., that specializes in mostly vegetarian or vegan salads, had taken over the former Oscar’s burger location. Tender Greens is expected to open in Fall 2016.

Tender Greens, a chain with several dozen restaurants in Southern California, and three in the Bay Area — two in San Francisco and one in Walnut Creek  — has applied to open in the space formerly occupied by the Chinese restaurant Taiwan, which closed last year after 42 years of operation.

Tender Greens describes itself on its website as “a fine casual eatery that combines our fine dining point of view and hospitality with a casual, quick dining atmosphere. Our restaurants serve fresh, healthy, chef-inspired, farmer’s market sensible dishes at an affordable price in a relaxed environment. By working with small local farmers, ranchers, artisans, boutique wineries, breweries and coffee roasters, we are able to provide the best quality ingredients and products for our guests.”

The interior of Tender Greens in Topanga. Photo: Ellen Lu
The interior of Tender Greens in Topanga in Los Angeles County. Photo: Ellen Lu

Its Walnut Creek menu includes Big Plates ($11.50) such as Salt and Pepper Chicken, Backyard Marinated Steak and Herb Brushed Albacore, which you can choose to have as a sandwich, as a hot plate or as a salad; and Big Salads, including Salami & Kale, Happy Vegan and Mediterranean. There are also Plant Based Sides ($5.50) and Comfort Soups ($5). Tender Greens sources its charcuterie from P. Balistreri Salumi. Pete Balistreri was the executive chef at Tender Greens Point Loma in San Diego when he taught himself how to make salumi and cure ham from scratch in 2008.

The chain also has the Sustainable Life Project initiative, a program to help former foster kids gain experience and skills in the food service industry.

Two Berkeley architecture firms — David Trachtenberg and Abueg Morris — are working on the new Berkeley restaurant. Plans include restoring brickwork and the façade’s original cornicing, and keeping three street-front windows as well as clerestory windows. Both firms worked together on the nearby Comal restaurant, Trachtenberg on the exterior and Abueg Morris on the interior. Abueg Morris also recently completed the Comal team’s second restaurant, The Advocate, and the new Flour & Co. on University Avenue. Preliminary designs show a 4,284 square foot restaurant with a mix of independent tables and banquette seating. Tender Greens is known for its outdoor patios, and there is a 1,500 square-foot courtyard behind the restaurant at 2071 University, but it’s unclear if this is part of the project. See the zoning application filed on behalf of Tender Greens by Abueg Morris.

This story was updated after publication.

Sweegreen: Salads, vegetables to downtown Berkeley (11.25.15)

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...